Updated: Oct 6
This is an actual play report (submitted by Jeff) of a game I am running set in the world of Absalom and using the Basilisk Hills and Lake of Abomination hexcrawls. You can find the podcast of this session here. I think they do a decent job of illustrating high-level play in a hexcrawl/sandbox. The cast of characters are as follows (the character with a single asterisk are the main PCs; those with a double asterisk are retainers):
Evil Jeff's Characters
*Velsind Flere- Warlock 6
**Barbat Rauta - Ironskin 3
**Amagar Cacar- Scout 3
**Tofrea - Fighter 3
*Nerhgui - Fighter 6
**Kalan - Cleric 3
**Safa - Destrier 2
**Blodwyn - Bard 2
**Vygr Bloodtooth - Gnoll Sorcerer 1
*Ciaran - Magic-User 6
**Ruarc - Assassin 3
**Slainte - ''Cerves'' Brave 3
**Tacas - Fighter 3
The 26th day sees the northern group waking up and begin to gather belongings. As the mercenaries have been making it clear that they would rather not miss out on any of the festival, it is decided that the group will return to Black Pit Keep. The group makes rather good time, especially since there seems to be no one that wishes to move at a genteel pace. Upon return to the keep, they learn from Tofrea and Tocas that all patrols were free from any encounters. Speaking to the foremen of the keep's repair teams, the need for wood and stone to affect further repairs has drawn near and sources will need to be found. As there is still time left in the day, the party arranges the shifts the mercs will take to allow them to enjoy the festival and heads to Liwil.
The southern party arrives at Liwil towards the end of daylight on the 26th day, having made good speed as well. They end up joining back with the northern group as the come towards town. Approaching the town, the changes wrought by the festival become evident to the adventurers for the first time. The amount of wagons and tents around the town is impressive. Wondering where these folks have come from is answered by Kieran, who has emerged from his weeks of research a new spell. Many of these visitors are from the village of Hob, located to the southeast, possibly the town seen with Amagar flew up above the trees a few days before. The wagons are laden with many finished good that have come down river from the Scarlet Principalities. The leader of this group of traders is a man named Hawarg. While there are some mercs in the town, many of them are hanging out in the mining camp.
Seeing that there is a little time left to look at things and take care of any business, the adventurers agree to handle a few items now. They head towards the Basilisk Knights and, once there, they explain finding the group of four basilisks and the desire for either assistance in destroying the creatures or information to assist them in the task. The group is ushered to the top of the Knights keep and into their temple. Statues of previous knights are shown to them, some with features almost worn away from time and elements and the 'religion' of the knights is revealed to them. They are willing to assist but it will take some time to gather up for an expedition. The party members agree and excuse themselves.
As they depart the Knight's company, Tacas comes hurriedly up to them, fear troubling his eyes. He quickly informs them that he had seem members of the Red Foot gang south of the miner's camp near where the mercs have been staying. The leader of this group is Thasril Tim, a very large strong man with a black beard. He is in charge of the group that resides in the town of Sin, a city east of Hob. Two members of the group that are stealthy enough to avoid detection are dispatched to keep an eye on Thasril, on who he meets, and how many others are with him.
Taking a quick stop in the miner's camp, Velsind steps into the drinking tent visited by the miners. Cen Saard greets him again and they exchange some small talk. When bringing up the Red Foot gang, Cen become somewhat apprehensive. After a tidy sum of gold pieces is slid over to him, Cen readily agrees to keep an eye out for any of the gang and will send his son, Con Saard, to find a member of the party to pass along any info.
Walking to the east of town, the group realizes that they have all but ignored this rather opulent tent just to the south of the paddock. Understanding that this is the tent of Ambassador Wen'Fan, a resident of Fairy, they approach to seek an audience. Outside the tent to one side is this rather rotund satyr, tending to hunks of meat that are being cooked in some metal container. Surprisingly, they learn that the satyr is the Ambassador. He is here at the behest of the Countess of Summer's End specifically to interact with the Knights in some way. As the ambassador laments the lack of interesting people to talk with, the party mentions things from their recent travels; the fallen metal statue to the northeast, the defeated dragon, the standing stones to the north. At this, the satyr perks up and quizzes them about it. He determines that it is a portal to the winter court but leaves it at that. He asks the group to return tomorrow night for a feast and the party hands over one of the boar haunches as a gift.
Seeing that it is late, they decided to camp for the night with trips to the alchemist planned and bringing in the bullette's head for possible mounting.