Fast and Furious: Owlbear Drift!

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I'll be posting up some session notes from a two-part game that I'm in the middle of running.  I gathered up a group of friends for some fun with "Owlbear Run," a 4-6 level mini-adventure that was released in April through Dungeon Magazine.


The Cast
Thistledown - A 6th level Pixie Bard with a penchant for inserting himself into situations and conversation he most certainly doesn't belong and then trying his best to talk his way out of it.

Quajia - A 6th level Half-Orc Fighter (Slayer) with an axe to grind...up against the skulls of any fools who mess with her friends. 

Kitten - A 6th level Hengeyokai (Cat) Shaman whose pack tactics combining her Fey Panther companion and her Panther Spirit Companion are unequaled.

Parc 'Kor - A 6th level Hengeyokai (Hare) Ranger ready to hop into danger at a moment's notice.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Part 1a:  Welcome to the Party

The adventure begins with our quadrious band making their way across the winding trails of the Emerald Bluffs, flush with gold from their latest escapades in the Blood-Silk Pits of Oon Tarath.  Weighed heavy with coin and looking for a thriving town to unload it, Quajia climbs a nearby rocky outcropping and spies a group of peasant-folk gathering near a fork in the road ahead. 

As the party closes to investigate, murmurs of excitement weave through the masses.  A sign is being erected at the crossroads by an elderly man that reads:

                                                                   GRAND TOURNEY: THE OWLBEAR RUN

                                                                     DUKE HIGHTOWER SEEKS SKILLED
                                                             CONTESTANTS FOR THIS YEAR’S COMPETITION.
                                                            REWARDS OF GOLD, GLORY, AND FAME! INQUIRE
                                                             AT THE TELVORN TOWN MARKETPLACE, SOUTH.

Never one to be shy, Thistledown flits about the crowd, asking what's up.  In reply he learns that it is time for this year's grand festival event.  The Duke's retainers, the Wizard Brothers Dirk and Delzar, have readied a wondrous competition this year that's shaping up to be quite exciting.  It seems the Duke does this kind of thing every year to bring fame and fortune to his lands.  One year, the brothers even flooded out an unused valley to make way for an epic naval battle with a Kraken! 

After some more chatting, Kitty learns that there are three teams already signed up in Telvorn.  She also learns that there a handful of nobles in town that like to sponsor teams for these events and bet among each other over the outcomes.  One such nobleman, Lord Klavin, is very much unliked by the locals.  He has recently returned from exile after his father was executed for high treason against the Duke. 

Information in mind, our adventurers trek to Telvorn to see if they can sign up for this "Owlbear Run."


Part 1b:  Looking for Sponsors in all the Wrong Places


Ariving in Telvorn, the party finds themselves in a whirlwind of festivities.  The town square is abuzz with frivolity as venders hock their wares to the colorfully dressed citizenry.  The team sees what can only be the signup booth located in the market's center and decide to fan out, looking for other sundry things while working their way to the middle. 


Thistledown spies the local church, dedicated to the goddess Avandra, and heads that way, hoping to restock the party's potion sack.  Quajia and Kitty slink towards the merchant stalls, eyeing some fine silks that are currently being fondled by a pair of armored eladrin ladies.  Parc 'Kor begins asking around in the crowd, trying to get some more information before he reaches the sign-up booth.


At the church, the pixie finds that potion prices have nearly doubled recently due to high demand from the other teams that have already registered.  Aghast at this turn of events, he attempts to haggle with the priestess, discovering that she'd be willing to cut him a deal on the potions if a sizable donation were made to the church.  Of course, this donation would also garner a blessing from the goddess and Thistledown jumps at the chance to have the favor of the goddess of travel in his corner during the race.  Sure, he ends up spending more than he even wanted to on the potions in the beginning, but he's satisfied with the outcome. 


Around the silk merchant's booth, Quajia and Kitty have a mishap or two at making friends.  Already the eladrin pair aren't too keen on sharing space with Quajia's brutish frame, but when the girls mention that they too are going to be signing up for the Owlbear Races, the elfin ladies clam up in a hurry and move on.  Apparently they were part of one of the other teams.  Kitten spies them hurrying off to the tented pavilions on the outskirts of town. 


Parc 'Kor has a bit of luck moving through the crowd.  He learns that there is one eladrin team that competes in these events every year, but hasn't won a single time.  This year, however, with the challenge focusing on a beast native to the Feywild, their leader, a fey knight by the name of Liniel, hopes to use that edge to push her team to victory.  Also a rowdy group of dwarven brothers have signed up recently.  They've basically taken up refuge in the tavern all week long and have been pouring coin into the local ale economy faster than the ale could be poured into their tankards. 


Meeting up in the center of town, our brave adventurers approach the raised table manned by two portly twins who introduce themselves as Dirk and Delzar, Duke Hightower's personal wizards and officiators of this year's (and every year's) competition.  After some witty banter, Dirk magically produces a pen and asks the party for its name and specialty.  Caught a bit off-guard at the question, the players have a quick huddle to come up with a name (King's Justice!) and a specialty (animal wrangling).  There are a few incredulous questions about the name, like "Which king exactly?" and "ever wrangled any owlbears before?" both of which the party pretty much just waffles and shrugs about.


The rules of the competition are quickly laid out.  There is a 5,000 gold (non-negotiable) entry fee per team.  If a team cannot afford the entry fee, there are several of the Duke's court waiting outside the town in the fancy pavilions just ready to sponsor people.  The name of the game is to get an owlbear from Telvorn to Melvorn on the other side of the mountain, using a network of old mining roads and tunnels.  Teleporting, flying, or otherwise circumventing the mountain is right out, and will be policed heavily by the wizard brothers.  Teams are pretty much free to do whatever else they must to get their owlbear moving.  Directly killing members of other teams, however, is grounds for disqualification and subsequent arrest by the local sheriff.


Finding themselves a bit short on funds, the newly minted Kings Justice! (LTD) sets out to find some more information and a sponsor.  Thistledown and Quajia make for the tavern to size up the other teams while Kitty and Parc 'Kor head to the pavilion tents to find a sugar daddy.


 

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Reserved for Part 2

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Updated with a bit more.  We'll be having the actual race itself tomorrow night.  Any thoughts or comments so far would be nice.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Game got called last night due to scheduling conflict.  The race will resume on Monday.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.