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[meta] The Story of Orak's Bathhouse

Posted in: Girl Gamer,Meta-gaming by Ariel on September 24, 2008

So here’s the story of Orak’s Bathhouse.

It started one of the first game nights when the heroes had used a lot of their daily powers and it was only early afternoon. The Divas felt their characters needed to rest before going on in the adventure, but it was really too early to go to sleep.

What’s a role player to do?

Well a real person might take a nap and wake refreshed, but maybe not to full power. And the discussion began.

“Can I just rest for 4 hours instead of 8 and get half my spells back?”
“Is there a spell I could cast that would make my rest more restful?”
“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could rest at a spa in town and get a massage?”
“Ooh, yes, then you might even get all your spells back in just 2 hours.”
“Hey, there should be a spell called Spa that does that.”
“Yeah, maybe it needs some oil and a sprig of lavendar.”
“There could be Spa, Lesser and it would take 4 hours to get full rest, while Spa would take 2 hours. And Spa, Greater would take only 1 hour.”
“Yeah for Spa, Greater you would need oil, lavendar, and a sexy masseur.”
“What would it take for Spa, Mass?”

And the running joke began. Almost every evening there was an excuse to wish for the Spa spell. We made some serious attempts at creating it. After all, Heroes’ Feast summons a meal that takes an hour to consume and provides players with extra strength, extra defense, and resistance to poison. And if you can think of it, it probably already exists and has been posted to the internet. But it wasn’t on the internet.

A parallel phenomenon was happening as well. I was the DM for the first two chapters of The Shackled City Adventure Path. This adventure path was first published in Paizo’s Dungeon Magazine over the course of a year. I’d been working off of a CD that had PDF files of all the magazines and the extra materials posted to the website. After two chapters, I passed the DM duties to Angel. At that time, Angel had purchased the re-formated, re-bound, re-published book of The Shackled City. All the information from the magazine published in one omnibus. Angel used this to DM the 3rd chapter.

After the chapter that Angel DM’ed, she gave the book to me. I turned to Chapter 4. And found that it was the chapter we’d already done. Turns out we were on Chapter 5.

Looking through the book, I discovered that Paizo publishing had made a new chapter and inserted it between chapters 1 and 2. This new chapter, now numbered Chapter 2, featured a new adventure, with relevant plot points, interesting additions to the backstory, and several adventures.

And Orak’s Bathhouse.

Well. By this time the Divas had grown to 9 player characters, 3 animal companions, and a full year had passed since we joined the group. There were a lot of loose ends to tie up, plot to summarize for the new members, and details to introduce before the next chapter. What better way to gather all this information than have the characters spend two weeks in and around Cauldron, then meet at the Bathhouse.

Perhaps I am a victim of my own enthusiasm. Of course there needs to be bath soap props to give away. And there needs to be a reason the bathhouse wasn’t open for the first year the heroes had been in Cauldron. I mean, they’d wanted to go to the spa for a year, and they know the city pretty well. Surely, they would have gone to Orak’s by now.

The Chapter 2 adventure had wererats in it, so I decided that Orak’s Bathhouse had suffered from a “small rat problem” for the past year. But it had now been contained and Orak had re-opened for business. I blocked off a corner saying it was under construction.

The Divas loved the bathhouse. And wouldn’t leave it alone. Feeling dusty and grimy after fighting a fire? Let’s go to the bathhouse! And what is up with that corner? Oh. Wererats!

Did I expect this? No. Would I go along with it? Oh, hell yes.

The Divas made short work of the wererats. They are 8 characters leveled 6 to 8 and the Chapter 2 adventures are scaled for 4 characters at level 3. Of course after the wererats they’re going down the basement to kill off the 30 goblins that lurk down there. Of course they are going to see every secret door, every trap, hear every sound.

[sigh] Remember when goblins were scary?

So now there’s a new question. Does the DM rescale the chapter for the adventurers? Or save herself the work and let the Divas smash through the basement?

I’m ready now. What choice do you think I’ve made?


  1. I love the post! Thanks for letting us peek behind the DM screen. The bath house is fun! Indira was thinking of outsourcing the goblin problem, though. Can’t we hire Ohme and Ohboi to handle this?

    Comment by Indira — September 24, 2008 @ 11:42 am

  2. Good question. Try that tonight and see what happens…

    Comment by Springlatch Hammertacker — September 24, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

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