The Demons of Hobo Past, Present, and Future – Murder Hobos S3E01 Kicks Off

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0983

I’m GMing again! I sure missed being behind the screen. Last Friday we resumed our Murder Hobos campaign and we will be playing it monthly moving forward.

Here’s a summary of what happened in the first episode of Season III. In the future I’ll post these online and send you a link.

The Demons of Season III

I had two goals for the season starter:

  1. Shake the rust off
  2. Transition the characters from Faerun to Duskfall

Well, it turns out the GM was rusty but the players were not. The Hobos cleverly outwitted my demon villain Ollmoxath and his minions.

The session starts with the PCs fleeing their last dungeon, which was collapsing around them. Instead of emerging into the monastery basement, however, they find themselves trapped in a formless void. This gives them time to rest and collect themselves for what was to come.

Suddenly, the void ceases and the Hobos “land” hard in a cold stone room featuring a ruined henge. A welcome party of bored demons say hello and attack. An invisible quasit observes to confirm the Hobos’ identity and then sneaks out to report back to the boss.

Complicating the battle, as each demon dies a newborn dretch emerges from the corpse to attack. And as each dretch dies, a manes demon crawls out of its body to attack. Russian Demon Dolls of the Abyss.

The Lady

After dispatching the foul fiends the party hears screams for help. Dashing to the rescue, the party encounters demons circling a lady elf, in light armor with backpack and greatsword, standing over a small form.

The heroes defeat the demons and the lady escapes. The small form, sadly, turns out to be the PCs’ goblin friend Gar, a paladin tutored by the Hobos until he took upon himself a great quest to kill a villain.

Druid Vargulf tenderly slings Gar under one arm and the party begins exploring. They soon come upon the lady elf again standing in shock in front of a grisly scene. Bodies of three people caught and tortured by demons and left to rot.

The gallant heroes use this pleasant backdrop to interrogate the lady.

They are stunned to learn Lady Marith is Gar’s wife. And in the backpack she carries their baby son, Little Gar.

Once Marith learns the PCs are Gar’s old friends and mentors, she agrees to accompany them to safety.

The Summons

Alas, safety is not around the corner, for the quasit returns and says Lord Ollmoxath demands their presence in his throne room upstairs.

The Hobos attack. But they do not murder for the tricky quasit turns invisible again and escapes.

The throne room is filled with demons. A few powerful ones and dozens of dretches. Resting on his throne is the great Ollmoxath, a goristro. He begins parley with the Hobos but is greeted with petulance. So he cuts to the chase while secretly looking forward to a dinner of halfling garnished with elf.

“Where is the runestone?! Give me the runestone and I will let you leave alive!”

The Hobos lie and claim the runestone is in the hands of elemental lords. They offer magic items to buy their freedom instead. But this is just a ploy to buy time to get into position for attack.

Ollmoxath reveals that Orcus trapped the PCs in the void and sent them to this place instead of the monastery. “You cannot escape! Give me the runestone!” demands the 20? massive demon.

Meanwhile, Captain Brine the bard approaches Ollmoxath with a magic axe to negotiate his freedom. Interested, Ollmoxath reaches for the axe and Brine sings an incantation that polymorphs Ollmoxath into a rabbit!

Then the cunning brine creates a rift in reality and dimensions himself and the rabbit to the henge in the basement while the rest of the Hobos unleash their brand of murder on the leaderless demon horde.

Fireballs, arrows, and many might hews later, all the demons are dead.

We end the session with the bard holding the rabbit.

What I Learned

Here’s a brief retrospective on what went well and what didn’t.

Because It’s Magic

By keeping the transition from Forgotten Realms to my new world of Duskfall a simple event (the formless inter-dimensional void that suspended the characters for two days and spit them out) we got through that fast so gameplay could smoothly proceed.

While players had no agency in the transition — I forced it on them — it was so brief that no one seemed to mind. Goodbye Faerun, hello Duskfall. Boom.

I also used this magical dimension to explain how characters changed. The last Murder Hobos session was 18 months and several splatbooks ago! Some players wanted to adjust spells and feats based on new options.

We also decided as a group to switch to milestone XP and synch all characters, which meant an instant level-up for some PCs.

The inter-dimensional transition helped hand wave or smooth over these changes.

I Need To Learn Accents

I mentioned Ollmoxath had a guttural voice and thick Russian accent. My players wanted to hear the accent, but that’s not my strong suit. I’ll have to practice.

Track Conditions Better

Foes experienced numerous conditions such as stun, Disadvantage, saving throw buffs. There was also some initiative chicanery where PCs could not act until a foe’s next turn.

I don’t have a good way to track these effects right now. We use minis and battlemats.

Any suggestions?

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What’s Fireball Do Again?

I was rusty with the 5E rules. My plan was a couple of big combats to remember what the characters could do so I could plan better for upcoming sessions.

That worked well.

Note to self: they’ve weaponized polymorph. Also: the fighter can do over 100 points of damage in a round now. Also: my dice tower is cursed — I rolled low the whole night.

I have lots to keep in mind now for encounters in Duskfall and a dice-cleansing ritual to perform.

All in all, a good session from behind the screen. And it felt awesome gaming with the Hobos again!