This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Meet 123, Adv 7, 10/8/16

The group is deep in the goblin warrens and I have some goblin priest's scrying on the group, watching their movements and capabilities. So when the group spends 10 minutes in one place, I hit them again. Admittedly it's with diminishing returns and lesser troops, but it's another hit and they are running out of spells, shields, and healing.

I had to send two of the priests to the 2nd level to snag one of the wizards down there and a handful of bugbears to bolster this attack, but it was enough to shock the group and sent them on the retreat.

Write-up follows:

Avidius slammed his sword out at the “sniper” goblin with the Windchaser, catching the veteran greenskin deep in the back, nicking his lung. He slumped forward, hitting the wall, but didn’t fall! Meanwhile the rest of the party was gathering around Steiner, supporting the priest from the ground and switching positions to bring the battle to the few axe and spear goblins remaining.

Meanwhile from the 2nd closed door the portal opened and a some of the goblin priests within dispelled the spike growth while the other one raised the two dead goblins, animating them as zombies. And two more dead goblins came from the room and headed for the party.

The two priests then left the room, shut the door, and headed down the corridor and into the gloom of the room with the steps going further down.

Avidius then heard other goblins down the hall screaming and some greenskins charged him while another crossbow twanged. So the thief used his “darkblade” for the 3rd and final time, portaling away FURTHER into the cave, behind the crossbow guy, and into the goblin rec room. Once here he moved as quietly and quickly as he could until he was able to hide behind one of the gaming tables, arranging the table skirt just in front of his form.

With the Sniper badly hurt and the tide of battle changing, the goblins in the barracks withdrew while the undead zombie-goblins approached the party. We made way, shield bearers to the front, and made sure that Steiner was close enough to turn the two closest ones. Sent back away, we only had to worry about the two new ones and we took them undead monsters down with little difficulty but with more precious hp being whittled away.

Meanwhile Avidius saw the retreating goblins, with the wounded Sniper, who met up with MORE goblins coming in along with Sisspak! A conversation ensued and the all turned to leave, with one of the goblins making his way to a secret door which he opened and was seen faintly through the portal with a spear. Meanwhile after everyone else left Sisspak remained in one spot, looking around as if he could sense Avidius for some reason, but didn’t see or find the thief so left.

The rest of the group was dispensing some healing and cleaning up while Avidius waited a minute to verify he was lone (except for the goblin in the secret room), then snuck out, over to the door, and with the sword of quickness – STAB – one dead goblin. He took the spear and shut the door, noting where it was and how to open it and headed back to the group.

We all rejoined one another and touched base, shared what we learned, and then discussed what to do next. The priest rooms were high on our list so we listened to the doors again – hearing faint noises but little else. We suspected they might be barred from within and were discussing how to open them when from down the hall there was a cry of “In Vas Electricus Arwe!” followed by a blast of sparks – and then an 80’ stroke of lightning coursed down the hall and struck the party. Half the party was hurt, shields were splintered, the group was stunned. And then we heard voices roaring and pounding feet.

Time to go.

We ran BACK into the barracks, crossed the room and filled the hall while Flimflam sent forth another spike growth spell which filled the room and the far hall – stopping a handful of bugbears (7’ tall, 300# shaggy furred goblinoids) who were them leaping about and backing up. The decision was made – don’t stay – run for the exit.

And when we formed up and ran on, hoping they couldn’t dispel the magic again, we turned the corner to the rec room and stopped – 9 goblins and Sisspak. Slingstones shot out and slammed into Caidius, Tranis, and Steiner who filled the front ranks while spearmen stepped up to hold us at bay. And Sisspak was hissing gleefully as he slithered forward.

Tranis had been holding a magic arrow which Marcus had treated with Gorgon poison long ago, and circled the wall, firing! And missed! The damned magic arrow missed!!! We were caught between two forces that were going to bottle us up, and Marcus managed to get close enough to fire off a sleep spell.

And all 9 goblins dropped to the ground. Sisspak was all alone. We charged at him and he managed to get a bite on Caidius, poisoning our fighter who tried to get an anti-venom going. Then the damned yuan-ti filled the area with a darkness spell and we were fucked.

Using his own magic sword, Steiner concentrated on it, sending a ball of light to flow out, banishing part of the darkness, and getting the group to harry the yuan-ti some more until he turned and fled again. The bugbears and other goblins (priests? Mages?) were clamoring back behind us and we pushed forward. Running for the exit – there were 5 goblin menials – with mops and brooms, cleaning the main entrance!

As we were running and the menials were yelling, Tranis shot two of them in a fit of pique, felling the goblins with a single arrow each before following the rest of the party up the stairs, the slope, into the woods, into the valley, and up the southern hill, jogging to the safety of the trees in that valley to check behind us for any chase (there wasn’t any) and a chance to catch our breath and assess our hit points, direction, and plan.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Meet 122, Adv 7, 10/1/16

The fight through the goblin ambush was touch and go the first 2 rounds as the group had what was described as a fumble train running across the board. We couldn't hit anything, and when we did swing or try to save or do anything, it was to the clattering tunes of "1's" rolling across the table. Plus the failure to get Initiative more than 1 time the entire battle didn't help the party.

We did prevail and about halfway through - the Flaming Sphere across the battle front and getting AWAY from Sisspak were key to consolidating the fight.

They are now facing the remains of those who escaped the first fight, plus the cadre of goblin priests who have been waiting for their opportunity to shine. A shovel in the door though has slowed them down for 1 round of combat and the spike growth on the dungeon floor stopped them from being "pincered" between the goblin ranks which might be enough for the group to snatch another victory.

Write up follows:

As the group was gathering together on the SW section of the room, a plug on the floor lifted and a spindly goblin wielding a Kris bladed sickle leaned out and tried to hamstring Marcus, slicing the wizard-lord’s boots but not actually cutting the skin. Before we could react though he grabbed the plug and yanked it back down, sealing himself once more into his spider hole.

The barrier full of goblins drew closer and sling bullets started flashing into the party. From the opposite side we heard the ape roaring and the thumping of stones into flesh then the mighty summoned animal died. Marcus was aimed at and Geld took as many of the blows as possible. The goblins behind the barrier were able to stab their spears without concern, driving the party further and further south.

We tried to gather everyone down the hall while Caidius and Ben fought with the goblin axe-men, making no headway and in many instances, our struggle with the goblins on now three fronts was fraught with shifting position, poor support, and a deadly amount of fumbles. Sisspak and his crazed goblin managed to charge at the group, the manacle wearing goblin scoring a blow on Flimflam and then a second that wrapped around the gnome’s throat. Meanwhile the yuan-ti closed to striking distance and swords were slashed, the druid taking a number of shots and cuts.

Crossbow bolts flashed and we found ourselves staggering, while Brutus and Princess charged into the fight to help Flimflam and Steiner who were holding the south corridor. Geld took another round of stabs, throwing herself in front of Marcus’ body at one point as shields started to splinter and the battle was growing untamable. The wizard-lord was calling out arcanic words as he was hit again and again, keeping his concentration in place long enough to summon a 6’ ball of rolling fire.

Flimflam managed to yank enough of the chains off his neck to finish his own spell and a dire bat and a dire badger appeared, worrying the crazed goblin just as Sisspak went to bite Whosea. The druid lurched the animal down and took the bite instead, suffering from the poisonous bite that would have wounded or maybe killed his animal. He hastily drew out an anti-venom while Steiner called to Apollo and healed the gnome…seriously.

There were more twangs and Steiner was hit, knocked on his ass at the same time the Brutus and Princess were peppered…and then there was a sound like Zeus himself spat thunder, and Brutus fell over dead, killed from the darkness of the southern corridor.

The goblins pressed hard at the party while others emerged from the NE corridor, slinging bullets at the group and hitting the animals AGAIN! While 4 more goblin spear wielders tried to hit the group. Marcus snarled while pulling Geld back and with a single gesture, flipped the flaming sphere down the entire front of the goblin barrier just after oil had been rained down on them from Tranis who shattered some flasks on the ceiling – setting all 4 of the goblins on fire and killing three of them in the process. The goblin front line suddenly seemed to have disappeared.

Viridia was doing the same as Tranis, sending flasks of oil over the heads of Ben and Caidius to rain on the back of the axe-men there, dropping splash damage and burning oil on the greenskins. Marcus’ flaming sphere grew too close to the chandelier and there was an explosion of flame spreading out almost 15’ in diameter before burning oil formed a pyre in the center of the room that began to spread as the oil flowed across the floor. We had to move. Another blast shot from the dark and another shield was splintered as Steiner, Flimflam, Whosea, and Princess broke free from Sisspak and the crazed goblin and arrived at the south corridor.

Sling bullets were sent careening around the chamber but the spreading oil actually stopped some of the goblins from joining the fight, which meant we were able to force our attention to the SW corridor and goblin axe men there. The Flaming sphere roared across the room again, hitting a number of the slingers and killing some more goblins.

Caidius and Ben redoubled their efforts but took the back rank as Tranis dispatched Ringer and Waldo to the front to worry the axe men there. The guard dog and lynx hit and bit and scratched and tore but were having some difficulty opening the line. So the newest member of the party drew “Havoc” the battle hammer which attracted the attention of all the local axe men goblins who proceeded to sling axes and scream insults at the fighter/thief. He was hit and battered, but stayed upright and when the situation opened up, they managed to poke a hole in the goblin line and the party lurched further down the hall wading into the goblin line.

The slinking spider-hole dwelling goblin meanwhile popped up out of another section of the floor, this time trying to cut the tendons of Steiner, our cleric. He scraped his knife on the man’s boots but did not cut through. Acting quickly, Steiner kicked his foot out and jammed it under the lid as the goblin tried to jam the spider hole cover back down.

Avidius cut the air in front of him and portaled to the back of the battle, sliding down the corridor quietly and away from the fight; looking for some clues, or another way to join the battle on the other side of the axe man front. Meanwhile, taking advantage of the open portal, Marcus rolled the flaming sphere back across the room and dropped it down the spider hole just as Steiner dragged his foot away, setting the goblin below ablaze and ending that issue. A few of the goblins were now looking to make some escape or at least regrouping, ending the fight as they made it down other side corridors.

The front with the axe men collapsed and the last 3 tried to run, one getting torn apart and the other 2 escaping into the gloom and then seemingly turning to the right. We gathered as one and made our way away from the burning room, heading into the same hall the fleeing goblins had run to. The corridor split here, to the left it opened to a chamber with some cruddy buckets, the scent of shit, and a set of stairs going down; the right went into the gloom and there were two indistinct doors on opposite sides of the corridor.

We stationed a few guards while some fast healing was dispensed. A number of us were pretty hurt and we had lost Brutus during the fight, and almost Princess, Flimflam, Geld, and Caidius. Meanwhile, Avidius had followed the corridor quietly, discovered a lounge (empty), and a barracks (also empty) before coming back around to another corridor that headed east once more. He did hear two goblins that had knocked incessantly at a door and spoke with another inside that proceeded to let them in. Some chanting followed. He also was coming upon the party, seeing their light ahead, when he heard faint moving under the ground, and suspected another spider goblin in the area. He marked the wall and then rejoined the group.

We did not want to go down the steps yet and hearing Avidius’ discovery, wanted to go after the spider goblin first and then the door where the others had gone to. We had a quick plan where Avidius hid around the back side of the “lid” and Steiner stepped in front of the lid making lots of noise. The spider hole goblin popped up and Avidius’ sword of quickness plunged out and back, killing the goblin in a single backstabbing blow.

We looked down the hole – 7’ down, handholds to climb, a 2’ tall crawl space that went to the east and west, and enough baffles and holes to hear anyone above. We turned the lid sideways and dropped it down.

As for the chanting room we heard calls to Hades and those who can speak goblin were able to tell we were being scryed on. And then we heard goblins coming down BOTH corridors and we were trapped…again.

Flimflam called out a quick spike growth spell, covering the entire floor behind us back the way we came with invisible caltrops, and Marcus called forth another Flaming Sphere as we circled to corner heading back towards the barracks.

We could see through the flames almost a dozen goblins: spearmen, axe men, slingers, 1 crossbow, and a confident figure with a 4’ metal club-like tube. And they were situated in one place and waiting for us. We gave the battle hammer to Steiner and pushed the ball into the room a bit. Then it was sling bullets, flasks of oil, a crossbow bolt to Steiner which knocked him on his ass and some axe and spearmen came up to kill the prone priest. Bullets were flying and a the goblin with the “Windchaser” fired. Fucking frightening! Splintering shields and the “priests” in the closed room scrying on us tried to come out and flank us – but we had jammed a shovel in the handle of the door and it barred them from getting it open!

Then the other goblins hit the spike growth area and slowed to a stop as two of them were shredded from the magical spikes dying with pitiful screams and the other two stopped but were terrified on which way to go next.

The combat was still going on as we tried to support Steiner from the ground and just as it was about the end, Avidius used his portaling broadsword again – this time appearing on the back of the battle right next to the “Windchaser” sniping goblin!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Behind the Screen - Initiative


Lots of games over the last 35 years or so and none of them have a perfect initiative system. However, it’s the most important role when it comes time for turn based combat – unless you take the stance of all damage is done simultaneous.

I was introduced to the game a long time ago and we played it as best we could, reading the books and adhering to the written word specifically until one day I was lucky enough to have my older cousin come by and during one moment when my buddies were bickering over a rule he took the DMG, flipped it to a particular page, feigned reading it, and then flipped it behind him on the floor and said, “It’s a guide. The DM makes the rules.” It was such a profound thing for our 13 year old minds that it began my love of tinkering, crunch, and fiddley bits in my games.

Fast forward some time my game is a Frankenstein of 3.5, B/X, and 1st edition but we’ve also trimmed off the parts that don’t work and streamlined it down. One of the things that never goes fast enough for me is combat. I love the idea of weapon speed – but it drags down combat. I love tactics, but it slows the game. I want some semblance of reality, but I also want the game to flow.

I have used and tweaked and discarded and adopted so many initiative options during the years. Primarily, I want the damned game to flow fast. Combat – fast. No waiting 20 damned minutes for your turn to come back around again. After many ins and outs and tweaks, our current initiative ruling is as follows:

Each side roles d6 – ties get rerolled – highest number gets FIRST resolution in each step. Then loser gets LAST resolution in each step. You CAN hold your action from step 2 or 3 if need be in order to wait for the enemy to get into a better layout or your own group to spread out and get out of the way.
Step 0: We have the party leader map out over 1-2 minutes (we use a stopwatch to mark time so there isn’t any lolli-gagging) what the party wants to do and whiteboards it.
Step 1: Declare a flee. Whichever side won initiative who has someone declaring a flee can flee off the battlefield. You cannot “flee” into another enemy occupied area unless/except if you are surrounded and trying to force your way out.
Step 2: Missile weapons. Bow and Xbow can move 5’ and shoot, hurled weapons (spears, axes, etc) can move and hurl. Again, the side that won shoots first, then the other side can shoot.
Step 3: Long range/2nd rank melee weapons. Speaks, pikes, quarter staves. Typically they would get into position and then strike. Anything that can be poked or prodded from back rank strikes first next. Again, winning initiative hits first, then losing initiative.
Finally Step 4: All other melee weapons and spells (limited to 5’ step) would move into position and then strike. Winners first then losers.

It gives some tactics, works well, simple, and everyone is on board and can track how combat goes.

However, after the last meeting, we had some strange situations and people wanting to move, can you flee towards an enemy, gaming the system by throwing a spear just to move early. I wanted to land on it early so we actually stopped the game and I spelled out what was going on in more detail than I normally would so the group wouldn’t get worked up and upset.

Rule # 1: Always Have Fun.

We settled on what was going on, discarded the “gaming” and “min-maxing” and then rolled on to the end of the round and ended the game.

After that we then talked about where we were and what was going on. I reminded the group that a combat round is not an actual representation of what occurs. Obviously the archers aren’t shooting and everyone is just standing around. The guy with the spear isn’t running across the room while everyone is watching him. It’s supposed to provide a simulation of the combat. We could always change it to be more realistic and have done so in the past, but the combat then slows to a crawl and that’s pretty much all that happens that night. Not a solution.

We also said making it super easy: d6, winner goes first and does everything then loser goes. Very Warhammer-esque but hinges the entire battle on a single d6 roll. Not acceptable.

So we discussed (4 of us) a small adjustment to the Initiative system as we have it:

Step 0: Map out what’s going on.
Step 1: Declare a flee. Winners then losers.
Step 2: FIXED missile weapons (bows, xbows, ballistae, etc.). 5’ steps allowed. Winners then losers.
Step 3: Movement. Everyone moves their allotted space AND hurled missile weapons (spears, axes, darts, atlatls, daggers) go. Winners first, then losers.
Step 4: 2nd rank weapons. Winners/losers.
Step 5: All other melee/spells. Winners/losers.

It made some sense, everyone felt comfortable with it, and we’ve all had a week to digest it. Now, we are NOT going to implement it this Saturday since we are in media res at start of evening and you cannot make a change to the game while combat is going on. However, at some point in the next few weeks we’ll try it out and see how it plays.

Some small notes/caveats.

Improved initiative allows you to act 1 step higher. Broad sword? Attack with the 2nd rank weapons. Hurled spear? Attack when bows do. Firing a bow? Hell, you attack when people are trying to flee!

Spring attack still works, if you have movement left over after your attack, you CAN move again. This means if you have won initiative, you can conceivable attack and then get far enough away the enemy can’t hit you again.

I also killed most “attacks of opportunity” – the system is too weighty and collapses in real world. Instead, regardless of how many people are around you, you try to move into/through an area – you get effectively 1 attack against you for every 3 people you “pass through”. Exception is of course if you are flanked on 2 sides – then the 1 in 3 doesn’t apply. This limits the number of people beating at you to a max of 3 under optimal circumstances. However, if you ARE hit, your move stops as you are engaged in combat and the other person is keeping you from moving on.

Is it perfect? No, no combat system is. That’s why all the books are guides and tinkering is not only acceptable but should be encouraged.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Meet 121, Adv 7, 9/24/16

This goblin cave is not quite as straight up as the party had been in before. This isn't a "home" base to the greenskins, they are doing something specific here until a certain time and then moving on. Having Sisspak with them for the last 2 months has been a boon for the goblins.

So when I planned this out, I thought, "Say? Why not have a dungeon where one of the main goals is right there at the entrance?" Hence, Sisspak showing up for the main assault at room encounter marked #2 on my map (#1 was the entrance of the cave and the stack of travois poles).

The other 30 odd greenskins only make the fight a bit more "one sided" for the goblins. It is their lair, damned if they aren't going to limit themselves to 1 10'x10' room armed with a sword and guarding a chest.

Write up follows:

The group hit the trail out of Shakun one more time after getting a stipend of coins from Farthing Leatherworkers, heading north once more into the Grassy Hills to find the trail of Whelan, the goblin who took him out, and eventually Sisspak. The dwindling trail was melting away in the warmer weather but signs of our passage were easy enough to spot. By 10:30 we were in the vicinity of where we had the warg attack, and could see carrion birds wheeling in the sky. We decided NOT to visit the area and moved around the valley to the tune of an eighth a mile at least.

It was about 1 PM and we were some 4 hours north of Shakun when it was decided that we should break for lunch. A fast meal of cold trail rations was all we could do for now and it was shortly after that that we were once again trucking our way through the barely seen trail. Tranis kept us heading along, weaving our way about as we searched for a decent place to make camp.

Finally about 4:30 or so, perhaps 6 miles from Shakun, we settled on a section of hill with some tree cover. A large hole was dug for a fire pit, branches were gathered, camp was established, and we settled down for the night. Marcus attempted to write a copy of the Summon Monster 3 spell but failed. It was 7 or so, after sundown, when we settled in for the night and posted watch to keep guard.

Outside of a distant pack of wolves out hunting but gave us a wide berth during the night thanks to a banked fire, the night was uneventful.

Restmonth the 28th dawned cold, the temperature had dropped to the mid-teens during the night and the low clouds in the sky did not bode well for the temperature to rise far beyond the mid or late 20’s. After breaking our fast, praying, and breaking camp we were walking once again by 6:30, the terrain becoming difficult to walk on due to the refreezing thin layer of snow that had become ice.

It was around 9 AM that we arrived at what we assumed was the area known as Shadowfeet Crossing. There was an oily scent to the air and upon climbing one of the hills we looked into the next valley. A section of the hillside on the east had sloughed away, running down to the valley and revealed a blackish gravel to the elements. Also, what trees and grasses were here were not growing in gentle mixed natural patterns but showed clear lines where the oily ground ran beneath the surface.

It was thought that this was oil shale and that would explain why the goblins would be in the area. We had seen before how the Du’uk Sarathians would collect or mine for the black petroleum so its presence here was not too surprising. But as of now, no goblin or yuan-ti sign. Flimflam spoke to the 2 birds (owl and raven), informed them to go up and search for ½ mile or so NE and NW and then return and let us know what they discovered.

The rest of us got a closer look of the gravel. It was slick feeling and left a residue on our fingers but did fade after a few moments of touching. Also, the residue seemed to be flammable as Link tested out for us, but it was short lived and left behind only a charred scent.

The birds returned and Flimflam conferred with them. There were 3 other hills showing this sort of oil shale gravel about, but one of them had some sticks with cloth tied to it. Most likely a goblin fetish marking. We gathered the direction to travel and set off.

It was 15 minutes of hard walking over icy grasses and gentle slopes before we came to the crest of a hill and looked down. The valley was densely packed with trees that ran up part of one slope where a goblin fetish marker had been erected out of bones, metal plates, and lengths of wood; dangling from two skeletal trees lashed together. There were 4 wooden poles set in the ground and lengths of red cloth fluttered from it. We let Avidius sneak down to investigate the fetish; it was 4’ around and hung a few feet from the ground. It clattered slightly in the breeze and some searching showed a pit trap situated beneath it. Sharpened stakes 15’ down and the scent of goblin feces made the trap a potentially nasty one. Once the rest of the group came down the hill Flimflam was able to let the party know that the fetish had the feel of “Hades” upon it.

Since this was not a residential fetish, we knew the goblins were not going to stay in the area. But we still wanted to find them out, take care of Sisspak, and maybe see what happened to the other 3 hunters. We fanned out and searched the area, Tranis discovering travois or cart tracks running out of the woods. We back tracked the tracks into the trees and discovered a natural opening in the earth, 7’ wide by 6’, sloping down in the oily scented gloom.

We queued up for exploration purposes, Avidius in the front to check the area for traps, and proceeded down. The slope ran for almost a dozen paces and then the ground became chipped crude steps that ran a bit longer, ending at a landing. A half dozen travois poles were stacked here and some lengths of leather as well. But we did note the steady yellow glow of an oil lamp coming from the somewhere below as the steps kept going. We had our own lantern out (thanks Link) and Ben had a lodestone with a continual light spell attached to the front of his shield.

We went down slow and took a look at the base of the stairs. The chamber was sizeable, 9’ ceilings, 30’x50’ with 5 other exits out of here (NE, SE, S, SW, and NW). There was an iron chandelier looking like 2 squares suspended off the ground, the guide rope ran to the east and was tied off on a cleat. Otherwise, nothing. The room was clean, unmarked, not even grit or dust seemed to mar the place.

Avidius gave the room a 10 minute search, heard some faint echoes from elsewhere in the place and the thin moaning sound of distant breezes, but found no traps and the party came in. We then lowered the chandelier until it was about 4’ off the ground, retying the rope in place. The group spread out sort of listening around in order to hear anyone coming.

As we were trying to take the oil lamps off the chandelier and put them out someone heard a faint single wooden squeak coming down the NW corridor, and then what sounded like something spinning coming from the south. Already on edge and expecting something, the group was not surprised by the goblin attack but it was obvious the greenskins had waited for the entire party to enter before springing their trap.

From the south darkness 4 ceramic oil flasks shot across the chamber from spinning slings, three of them hitting the steps and ceiling by the entrance, a 4th unlucky one shattering on Link’s shoulder and coating the torchbearer in oil. Then 2 flaming crossbow bolts shot from the darkness and set the entrance on fire. The resulting wall of 4’ fire forced those party members still by the steps to stumble away or risk getting burned. We then heard roars and goblin forces started charging down the OTHER FOUR corridors! Fuck fuck fuck.

Caidius slid to the SW corridor and took to the closest corner, blackened blade in his hand. Ben ran to help out, shield up and ready. A few of us tried to grab a couple oil lamps from the chandelier and Flimflam was roaring for the group to huddle together now. Geld and Steiner who were situated the furthest from the room heard Sisspak’s sibilant hissing coming from the SE corridor and ran as fast as they could, warning the party of the yuan-ti’s approach. And coming down the two northern corridors were goblins pushing a wooden platform and rack with spears sticking out of it, while other slingers and spearmen were safely behind. Even more goblins could be seen behind and they were clamoring for a fight.

Flimflam and Marcus were calling out spells while the group made their way to the SW corridor where Ben and Caidius had set themselves up…to see over a half dozen shield and axe wielding greenskins yelling their heads off as they made their way to hit the party. Marcus’ spell went off…summoning a ghoul! Which he sent towards’ Sisspak and the goblin running before the yuan-ti who had 5’ lengths of chains and manacles on his wrists. It bit, scratched, and clawed at the goblin who dodged most of the ghouls’ assault, then wrapped it’s chain around the undead’s throat and beat the hell out of the ghoul with the other. And then Flimflam’s spell went off and he summoned a 400 lb. gorilla who charged down the NE corridor as Sisspak came alongside the ghoul and two sweeps of his sword ended the ghoul threat with a simplistic ease.

The gorilla struck the goblin wooden barricade and tore it to pieces as he was then struck and stabbed by the goblin spearmen and battle line there. The gorilla was a pale furred figure in the dark but we did hear the bloodcurdling roar it gave a its wounds drove it to blood-searching frenzy.

We were gathering along the SW section of the chamber but weren’t together yet, goblins were filling the room with furious speed and well-practiced efficiency. Link was covered in oil, and there were 7 goblin axe men holding the front of the battle line with only Caidius and Ben there to rail against them.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Meet 120, Adv 7, 9/17/16

It was another sort of slow night as we are ramping back into playing. I don't mind since I am sleep deprived with a 3 month old son in the house who is still not on a full night sleep schedule (at all!).

However, we had a good night playing and even though the adventure is "short", "One location", and "ship in a bottle" as far as destination is concerned - the time in characters spent getting there and taking care of Sisspak is open and fluid.

So when the wandering monster hit and the random roll came up wargs, I was like. fuck. I don't remember them in detail so had to look. Yeah, they're a bitch. And then the random amount came up 10 and I was seriously thinking, will this be a TPK from some wandering attack?

I forgot briefly how effective old school playing is. Rangers, druids, animal companions, use of terrain, and a plan turned a straight up their side vs our side combat where the group is outclassed into a decisive battle where tactics and well placed spells and support funneled the encounter and allowed the group to prevail.

From my side of the screen? It was very cool.

Write up follows:

We discussed our leaving and through our conversation, came to the conclusion that we’d like to have another person at our back and side. There are a few hirelings we’ve used before who make their home in Shakun but one of the first and still most capable ones was Ben Eiver. Ben normally works as a horse trader for Higrane but when the opportunity calls for it, he does have military background and hires himself out as a Shield bearer. He was happy to be approached and was glad to sign on. His skills have increased since we first did work with him a year ago so he earns 5 crowns/day and a ¼ share.

We also hunted down the 15 year old Etterig who we’ve dubbed “Link” long ago to once again perform as our linkboy, and also on Avidius’ request, hired a porter – falling back on the middle aged Urthar to do the job for us.

With hirelings in place and taking the time to reorganize our packs on last time, we were out the gate by 1 PM and heading north to the Grassy Hills knowing that we would have to camp out in the field overnight. It would mean though that we’d hit Shadowfeet Crossing by noon the next day – hopefully at a time when goblin activity would be at a minimum.

We traveled first to where Whelan had been slain, seeing the spray of blood in the snow from the impact and then the roll down the side of the hill to the bloody snow where he ended up at last. Nothing new came to us here so we followed Whelan’s tracks backward.

At the apex of the next hill we saw another paid of poorly booted tracks had been staying in the doomed hunter’s, stood here for some time, and then turned back and headed back the way he too came from, going to the distant north. By our guess it’s been 6 hours and even with 5 miles visibility, we didn’t see anything or anyone at this time. We did look though and noted it was 350 or so feet from this hill to the one where Whelan died.

Flimflam reiterated his belief that Whelan had been taken out not by a bolt from Zeus, but from a goblin made Luciferian weapon. We had run into them earlier and Fergus had been the victim of one, called an “Elf Rage”, but that was more of a spray and shorter ranged weapon. This one had to be more accurate and defined. Avidius equated it to a heavy crossbow both in stopping power and seemingly potential firing distance.

It was about 2ish or later when we hit Bogun’s Rise, a plateau-like area a mile north of Shakun. The trail(s) had continued on from here with the only exception being the booted figure that had most likely taken Whelan out was moving at a ground consuming loping stride and heading back north with a comfortable haste. We were not going to catch up to him until we arrived at Shadowfeet Crossing.

It was about 3:30 when we heard an ululating wolf cry from behind us. And then a few moments later, another one from somewhere else behind us. The cries were deeper than we expected them to be, and there was an odd trilling to them as well. That’s when our ranger and druid informed us that it was not wolves behind us…but worgs.

And there were no caves or structures in the nearby area.

The best we had was a copse of trees in the next valley, 50 or so twisted elms and scrub pines. The winter grasses were 4’ tall and we had to run now before we were caught in the open. The party pounded down the hill, our line stretching out as we made our headway. The dogs and animals went to the far side of the copse, and those that could climb should get their asses in a tree now while they can.

Tranis stayed down, Ben as well, Steiner also. Flimflam made his way to a tree and stayed behind it and Geld was unable to scramble up as the branches were snapping beneath her.

Two packs of 5 worgs, 500 lb. plus slavering dire wolves, came at us, one from around the side of the nearest hill and the other pack with an alpha male present from on top of it. Tranis tried shooting one but the arrow missed, and Flimflam was calling to Demeter to plant growth the area. The grasses writhed and sprouted seeds, thickening and binding around, even the closest trees bloomed with sudden leaves in the snowy landscape. The 5 wolves hit the mass of now dense grasses and their headlong charge slowed. Then the 2nd group started to move, making a run for the party but they were further and wouldn’t get here this round.

The first two worgs hit the group and Caidius stepped from around the closest tree, backstabbing the first one with an arrow. Tranis swapped to his sword and his lynx jumped on the worg’s back, biting and snarling. Steiner called to Apollo and a bless ran through the party while Ben stood side by side with Tranis and protected the ranger from the sudden lupine assault.

A fifth worg had pulled away and was heading to attack Geld who laid her spear in front of her and set it to receive the worg’s charge. Avidius struck it with an arrow but we noted real fast that arrows were not very effective against the worgs – this was going to require wet work and sword play.

The battle line was spread out and Flimflam then called to Demeter to entangle the now thickened grasses, catching 4 of the potential 6 worgs in the flailing vegetation. Caidius managed to get a solid blow on the closest worg and it fell over dead while Geld’s enchanted boar spear tore through the one distant one. The alpha male and 2 others were forced to run further afield to avoid the entangled grasses which meant only one of them actually made the combat this round.

The worg’s blows were strong and hit points were whittling away with each slavering bite and tearing rend. But we dropped a 3rd one about the same time that one of the worg’s entangled managed to rip its way free. Avidius climbed down from his perch and was going to sneak around to help the fight while Marcus from his tree perch 15’ off the ground called out some arcanic words and summoned a monster – not just any monster, but an 900# almost 8 ½’ tall ogress!. After making short work of the worg Geld was fighting, the ogre and Geld set off to help Ben, Caidius, Steiner, Tranis, and Flimflam who were engaged in the main fight.

The ogre hit the alpha worg and the two of them bashed at each other terribly while Tranis managed to get a lucky blow, scalping on the local worgs so badly that both of its ears and the entire shelf of flesh on top of its head was ripped free, flapping about like a loose hood. The worg was screaming in piteous pain and was out of the fight for now.

We took some more blows but remained standing. The battle was swaying in our direction. Steiner let us know that the blessing from Apollo was going to fade shortly and we should press on hard. Flimflam had transformed himself to a bird and from the sky called out to Demeter and summoned a nature’s ally to help us.

And a 15’ crocodile appeared right behind the alpha worg and attacked. It managed to get a grip on the beast’s underside, tear his guts open, and roll into them spilling his intestines around. We called the rest of our animals in to join the fight and two of the worgs that had been entangled were let free where they ran off into the hills just after the last of the battle was over.

Healing was dispensed and we talked about what was next. There were 8 worgs here, and the skins would be worth over 30 nobles back at town. Do we take the time to skin them and return to Shakun or press on? Well, the party opted to spend many hours hanging the worgs and stripping the skin from them. We managed to get 7 worg pelts and Marcus was able to study Fireball (which we all agreed would have been real fucking handy during the worg fight!).

It was 8 pm when we turned back and headed the long trip back to Shakun. The guards at Northgate were surprised to see us and let us in, towing 240# of wolf pelts. We went back to our Hall (and Tower), gathered ourselves for sleep, and crashed.

The next morning had us at Farthing Leatherworks where we quickly sold the hides and garnered over 240 nobles for our efforts. It was 8:10 AM on Restmonth the 27th and we were going to try and get back out there ASAP. The weather was cloudy today and warmer (high 30’s, low 40’s) so the snow melt and tracks would be fading quickly as the day was going to go on.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Meet 119, Adv 7, 9/10/16

After a 14 week hiatus we've returned to the table. There have been a few shifts in the makeup of players at this time. I suspect that the game with run a bit more serious based upon the changes. There is no right or wrong way to play or DM D&D, it's personal to everyone who sits around the table.

At my age and with the free time I have available to me, I find myself drawn to immersive crunchy games. I prefer campaigns that move along where you aren't a badass out of the box and have to earn it. I like lower magic. I like the threat of death. I like to know my players are having a good time and are getting something out of their time at the table as well as adding their own indelible mark to my world and table.

I don't have the time for lighter, airier games. One shots grate one me. Hobby shop pick up groups feel jarring. Slaughtering the Monsters-Of-The-Day in alphabetical order from the Monster Manual isn't my cup of tea. I also hate joining a game only to have the DM flake out 6 months to a year later and drop it in order to try something else.

Again, that's me. Not you or anyone else. And my likes have been forged and molded after 34-35 years of D&D. All I care about is the people at the table have a good time and if not, let me know and we'll see what we can do to fix that; and if not, not a problem and just a parting of ways. Life is too damned short for regrets or for not doing what you want to do.

Ask yourself this though, if you are going to carve out time from the rest of your life and family, wife/husband, kids, job and whatnot to play - don't you want to at least sit down with friends and people you can relate to if there wasn't a game going on? You should try to have more than just D&D in common with the people you play with.

As for this adventure, we are finally going to take out the Yuan-ti. Sisspak has been a thorn in the party's side since Candlewick Keep and with new magic weapons on our belts and backs, we're going to track him to his new and final lair and finish him off.

Write up follows:

After 6 weeks plus of travelling and training, the party had the opportunity to reconnect at the Hall of Heroes on Restmonth the 25th where Avidius’ wife Senna has put together a meal and feast sufficient for everyone to have a great time. A few bottles of our wine, some aged ale from the Pixie Down Inn, braised goat flank steak, winter tubers, a thick stew and spiced porridge.

Sir Flimflam our gnomish leader, his manservant the youthful Taulib, Tranis Fistlorn Ranger and Kingsman of the 2nd order, his henchwoman and lockpicker Viridia, Erdan the elven fighter, his maid and open admirer the buxom Julain Sheepsheerer, Wizard-Lord Marcus, his bodyguard and henchwoman Geld, Brother Steiner of the Apollonian Temple, Caius Avidius and his wife Senna and his two daughters Ria and Gem, our Castellan Fermius, and all the associated animals we’ve collected over the months and then some (Whosea, Princess, Brutus, Hugin, Archimedes, “Squirrel”, Ringer, and a big assed Lynx). The dining room was full, the tables groaning under the weight of the food and drink, and the walls were singing with stories, talk, tales, and laughter.

The weather was still decidedly winter but there had been a warming trend and we’ve had more warmer days than not, bringing most of the snow covering down to 3” or less in many places. In a few weeks it will be the muddy season as the ground thaws and becomes super saturated but that also means the caravans will then start to come with greater frequency and that will be a good thing for Shakun.

Your town has weathered the winter well with a steady trickle of people emigrating to its walls. The new tannery, headed by Joaquim Farthing, hit the ground running after refitting its racks, by declaring a need for any and all skins and was willing to offer 5 commons over market price for hides brought in, was willing to do the initial dressing and butchering, and was willing to deal with the butcher directly getting most hunters a 5-10% better price on the meat brought in.

This has been a good thing since the timber and stone stores around Shakun have not been replenished. In fact after the Hall or Heroes refit and the Tannery rebuild, there have been no real supplies brought in (most stone and timber have been shipped south at a premium to Brewer’s Bridge and other thorps along the Black Water River to help the rebuild after the flooding and Kraken attack). So between the normal compliment of 40-50 hunters, there have been 20 or so other hunters and gamesmen who have made the trip to Shakun in an effort to make a living for themselves, and now you have the 50+ masons, limners, caulkers, builders, and carpenters who were expecting to have gainful employment during the winter months take to hunting to stretch their winter coin and bring some game in – getting a better part of the coin that the Fathering Leatherworks is offering.

This means that for the last 2-3 months there have been 3 times the normal number of hunters out hunting. Game local to Shakun has become difficult to come across so many of the hunters and hunting teams have been forced to venture further and further afield, making their trips take longer than a day to return.

In addition, the party learned that while they were south in Varohelm, Sisspak assaulted a homestead and bit one of the women there, poisoning her but she survived (although weakened). Marshal Westwinter and his people could not find the yuan-ti so sent off to Timberton and Sanric and Company to have them come to town and try to remove and/or kill the snake-man. The bounty was for 15 crowns and it took two days but they managed to find and wound the monster, chasing it north of the city until it was lost in the darkness of the Grassy Hills. Since then, the yuan-ti has not been seen and there have been no further instances.

We did learn through Fermius and some of the others who’ve been in Shakun during the training and travelling weeks (Fermius, Avidius, and Erdan) that about 2 weeks ago some of the hunters hadn’t been returning so Marshal Westwinter put a moratorium on further trips out maybe 7-8 days ago. This has pissed many of them off who have come to rely on their trade and need to keep out there (even though they have had to range much further afield). Three days a group of four left through Southgate as if they were going to visit a Homestead but instead had snuck out bows, nets, spears, and travois during the prior day, collected their hidden supplies, trekked far enough east that anyone on the wall would be unable to stop them, and headed north into the Grassy Hills to do some hunting. This has angered Marshal Westwinter who looks upon it as an affront to his authority and even Captain Thragriel is pissed since it made his men and militia look incapable and easily fooled.

While we’ve been chatting about the local news the party had noted the Erdan has been more quiet than usual, rubbing his missing finger, and Julain has been hanging even more on her employer and not-so-secret crush. A bit after 8 PM there is a knock at the door and Steiner being closest went to answer it. There is a young man there, 6’ tall, healthy, has a militaristic bent to him, asking to speak with Sir Flimflam. Identifies himself as Caidius.

Once he is in, Erd seems happy to see the guy. He arrived in town 2 weeks ago, went looking for the adventuring group in order to try and talk and join, and spent the last 2 weeks drinking and befriending Erd, Avidius, and Fermius while waiting to Marcus and Flimflam to return. We talk for a bit and learn that he is the 2nd son of General Pelinor who was intrinsic in keeping the Du’uk Tsarith from mowing over Ferron and Elven Keep by bottling up the northern front. However, as we learn Caidius was too young to do anything more than join the war effort while it was winding down and has not had the opportunity to make a name for himself.

When the stories that have been coming east about the Peacemakers and their plight against banditry and disorder arrived at Ferron and beyond, Caidius gathered up his belongings and came west in order to offer his sword and service. And that’s when it was dropped that Erdan was going to temporarily take some time off from adventuring. With his missing finger and the fact that he has seen a Kraken he has had an opportunity to reflect. At over 350 years of age, the elven fighter knows that it was luck at best that has kept him alive and he wants to reflect upon it for now. So when Caidius offered to try and join, Erdan felt it was perfect – he’s taking a break and Caidius can fill in for him.

We talked and learned what we could, deciding that we can try Caidius out for now. He was offered some time at the table and was given a plate and some ale. The night passed well and we were all happy and well fed.

The next day, Restmonth the 26th, we awoke and after breaking our fast and discussing going to the Magistrate and getting Caidius added to the charter. There was little on our plate and we were debating on what to do when a knock sounded. One of Father Gavilerin’s assistants was here and needed the party to join the Father at the Hospice since there was a dead body there and Marshal Westwinter wanted the group to see it as well and firsthand.

We gathered our gear and set off across Town Square, through the shrines and altars and into the Hospice. Right inside we were guided to a sick room where Father Gavilerin, two of his aides, Marshall Westwinter, Deputy Caladis, and what looked like one of Captain Thragriel’s men as evidence by his tunic and tabard met and greeted us.

The last figure was a male, human, lying on his side and pretty travel worn and scratched up. There were 3 goblin darts sticking out of his back and he appeared to be scratched and bruised a bit. There was a ragged hole in the front of his face, blowing off most of his nose, and part of his upper lip and in the back of his head was a much smaller hole.

The story given was that this was one of the four hunters that snuck out 4 days ago, named Whealan. The guards at Northgate heard someone calling for help and saw this guy running south from the Grassy Hills towards Shakun, staggering and weaving over the hills and rises. Three of them got permission to leave their post and crossed the main road going north in an effort to make it to the running figure when there was a valley separating them and the guard describes a sound like “Zeus himself was clearing his throat” echoes across the land and Whealan pitched forward dead and rolled down the hill. After the Kraken attack everyone has been on edge with the King of the Gods so the guards waited to see if another thunderbolt was going to fly and when it didn’t, went to the body, claimed it, and brought it as is back here where the Marshal had them come to the Hospice and then the party was brought in.

We examined Whealan some more. His backpack had been cut free, leaving only the straps in place. He still had a well-worn belt knife but no other weapon on him. We turned him to the side and that’s when we saw it. His left arm was swollen up, two large fang punctures in his forearm, and greenish tinges running up his bicep to his shoulder. We’ve seen enough of it before – yuan-ti bite.

It seems Sisspak was still alive and hiding north of here wherever Whealan and his group stumbled upon him. We didn’t know where, only his boots had some clue with a black oily gravel in the cuffs of his boots. Marshal Westwinter wanted this matter with Sisspak brought to an end once and for all. He offered the party 30 crowns for Sisspak’s death (and proof this time) and an additional 20 crowns if we could bring back news of Whealan’s companions and their fates (or themselves if possible). 10% of anything found would be the crowns but the rest is for the party to take. We agreed and immediately got on the case.

We learned that Whealan lived at the south end of town with a Morena and Carnish Cicero so we thought of going there; we also talked about going to Farthing Leatherworkers to see if there were any records of Whealan and his hunts – maybe someone knew where they had gone? Also, we could try the Ogre Door Inn if we were desperate; since there was no hunting contracts being awarded right now, most of the gamesmen were whiling away their time at the tavern and drinking.

Farthing was first. Tanner’s Way was still a mess of missing cobbles and filthy streets, deplorable buildings and homeless wandering about; but there was also improvement. There were far fewer hobo’s in the streets, and the Apollonian Poorhouse that was situated at the western beginning of the Way was open and there were men, women, and children availing themselves there of a place to stay and some shelter.

Joaquim Farthing met us at the Tannery and we were escorted to this office on the 2nd floor. He was earnest and apologetic that his company had anything to do with the hunters that have not returned yet. We assured him that was ok and the conversation turned to Whealan. Records were reviewed. He and his crew had come back 32 times to date. The beginning their efforts were small (fox, rabbit, etc) but as time went on their game grew in size and their payment for the skins, meat and the like grew as well.

Their best to date was a 700# elk brought in 2 hunts ago. It had netted the four men the most money they had seen and for a short time were the envy of other hunters and groups. Their last trip was a few turkeys and some deer but Joaquim remembers the four men talked long about going after another elk, and then the halt was called off on all hunts.

We asked a few questions but the only thing we learned that was of interest was that the elk had heavily black sooty stained hind quarters and feet. The meat was fine and the hide cleaned up eventually after some liberal lye was applied to the leather.

We left and then went off to the Cicero’s. Morena answered the door, expecting someone else (Whealan it seemed) and we then saw a young boy aged 4 than Thanuel (Whealan’s son) who was coaxed to go upstairs. We were invited in and met with Carnish who was a Centurion at one point some time ago and was now retired from military service and spent his time as a hawker and trainer of hawks (which is what he thought we were there for to request his next captured and trained animal).

We told the Cicero’s the bad news about Whealan (making sure Thanuel was not nearby), learned how the bricklayer cum hunter had come to live and rent a portion of the Cicero’s home (his wife had died in childbirth and Morena’s birth had been stillborn – since she and Whealan’s wife had been friends before it seemed natural to invite the bereaved father to stay with them and he’s been here the 4 years since). We asked to look around Whealan’s portion of the home and were led upstairs.

The place was neat, small but neat. His bricklaying gear was prominent near the front door and ready when the building season would restart. There were signs his wife had once lived here (pearl handled comb, hand fasting ribbon, etc...) but it was in the bedroom that we saw a piece of tear off that had come from the job board at town square. It detailed the same deal that Farthing was offering to any and all hunters but it was on the back that we saw something else written.

There were 9 locations listed with strange names (Bogun’s Rise, Thrusher’s Ridge …) that had numbers written next to them and tally marks on the other side. The numbers ranged in no order other than a floating rise from 1 to 8 (Shadowfeet Crossing) and the tally marks were heavier towards the top than the bottom. We thanked the Cicero’s and left, discussing the paper and what it meant.

Bogun’s Rise was a landmark about a mile north of Shakun which we knew about. There were also two other places that had the name Digmund and Malius next to it. Digmund according to Tranis was a local long time hunter. Since that locale had fewer tally marks we deduced that Whealan, not being a hunter himself, might have been accidentally poaching on Digmund’s area and was warned off. The same with Malius.

We went off to the Ogre Door Inn where some money was spent on decent ale and we made our way to a group of hunters who looked on Tranis with some scorn (he is a ranger after all) but the ale loosened lips and we were able to get more information. The numbers were most likely miles from Shakun and the further places would mean any hunter who trekked out that far would not return for a day or two later at best.

As for the places, Shadowfeet Crossing was thought to be too far from Shakun and most likely in Du’uk Tsarithian territory. No hunter would risk going that far for game.

We left and talked about where to go next. We went back to the Hospice where we stitched Whealan’s lip back in place with a brief bit of Marcus’ magic and then had some incense lit. Brother Steiner called to Apollo and he brought life back to Whealan enough for us to Speak With Dead. Limited to two questions tops and a total of 1 minute to answer, we learned that Whealan had been hunting with his friends at Shadowfeet Crossing, the grasses were very high, he was bit by a snake man and managed to twist away and beat it off, his companions were felled by goblin darts, he cut his own backpack away and was running even with a few darts in his back, he had toughed his way through the pain, the poison, and the blood loss and it sounded like he ran through the night, 8 miles back to Shakun before he was suddenly killed. Fucking bad-assed tough bastard. The spell ended and we never got the rest of the story.

With a destination in mind we went off to Marig’s General store and purchased a few quick supplies and a pile of iron rations to help us last the 4 days we expected to be out. Anticipation is we’d leave Shakun today around noon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Interim Email Meet 118, Adv 6, July/August 2016

During the interim months before we come back to the table September 10th, we've been handling the training and town adventuring via email. Normally I despise playing this way since I know that not everyone is actually reading the emails, and even if they are, sometimes something will get lost in the shuffle.

However, there has been over 90 emails back and forth during this time and the party has taken care of much of the training issues they would normally spend around the table doing.

Email Write Ups follow:

Marcus - After reviewing his skills and taking care of a few things, Marcus has achieved enough XP to go up to 5th level Wizard (5th level Fighter is capped). He will be spend a day or two making sure the Tower is in fine shape and then entrust it's care to Geld (who will going up to 4th Warrior/2nd Fighter and training locally) and Fermius (who even with 1 arm shy, will act as Steward and still go up in level to 4th Warrior/1st Expert).

Costs (248 crowns) were already deducted from his coffers to maintain the tower in his absence and cover his training fees. Training time will be 21 Days and he is going to Woodhelven to train. The trip to Woodhelven will be 7 days there and 7 days back - making his entire stretch of time 35 days. However, he will travel with Steiner, Tranis, and Viridia as they continue on their way to Argosility and will wait the 3 days for them to come back to travel home with them. Bringing the entire stretch to 38 days.

Avidius - Avidius has enough XP to go up to 5th level thief and will be training locally. He will help to watch over the Hall of Heroes while here and continue in his duties to the Baron as Seneschal. Fermius will alter his duties from warrior to Steward of the Hall as well as Marcus' Tower and will devote his time to learning what skills he needs.

Costs (178 crowns) were already deducted to cover training fees. Training time will be 14 days and it is assumed that he will spend the down time assisting Fermius is maintaining the Hall and catch up with his wife, Senna and their two children Ria and Gem. There will be additional living costs for the difference in time (24 days)  between his training and the 38 days until the party reconvenes.

Steiner - Father Steiner does not have enough to go up but will be making the trip to Argosility in the company of Tranis to meet with his order as well as take care of the fencing of the treasures we wanted to sell (including the shield). He has some of his own needs while there and will take care of them accordingly.

The trip to Argosility is 9 days each direction. To ease the trip, Steiner, Marcus, Tranis, and Viridia will all travel together. There will be some living costs for travel and time in Argosility.

Tranis - Kingsman Tranis has enough XP to go up to 5th level Ranger and will be travelling to Argosility to take care of his training. Viridia also has enough to go up to 4th level Expert and will be joining Tranis on his trip to Argosility for company and superior facilities to advance her skills.

Costs (240 crowns) were already deducted to cover training fees. Training time will be 20 days and the trip is 9 days in each direction. Tranis and Viridia will travel with Steiner and Marcus back and forth from Argosility. Due to the amount of time Tranis will spend, he only needs to cover living and travel costs for the travel time and nothing else.

Erd - After reviewing his skills and taking care of a few things, Erd has enough XP to go up to 5th level Fighter. Since does not have to travel he can train and live locally.

Total time to train is 17 days and costs (216 crowns) have already been deducted to cover it. The additional living expenses will cover the 21 days before the party reconvenes.

Flimflam - After taking care of a few things, Flimflam will be going up to 6th level Druid. He will be making the trip to the grove of Kaer Konig at the Endless Forest. His animals companions and Taulib will be joining him on this trip, his Valet will be able to advance his skills to 3rd level Commoner while on the journey and at the grove.

Costs (199 crowns) were already deducted to cover training fees. Training time is 16 days and the trip to the grove will be 4 days in each direction. After his return to Shakun, Flimflam will have 14 days remaining to cover living costs between the 24 total days he will be out and the 38 days before the party reconvenes.

Before you leave for Woodhelven, you spend the time with Geld and Fermius going over the needs of the Tower and what is required to keep it in good repair in your absence. It is decided that the 38 days (6 weeks or so) you will be absent will require 42 crowns to maintain and continue the cleaning. You have done what you can to instruct the unseen servants to continue to clean the tower but raw supplies is still needed and required. Fermius is given approval to enter and leave the tower and Geld will be guarding it during the evenings and nights as she will be inhabiting it during her training (Fermius will be staying at the Hall of Heroes).

You did work with Sutor's Forge and Geld and Brother Steiner to remove the Ring of Power. Using the Beholder as an anti-magic cone you kept it over the ring, deadening it. Then having a crucible already in place after commissioning it from the forgemaster, removed the ring safely and had it suspended in the center of the mold as molten lead was poured over and into the crucible, keeping it encased within the leaden cylinder until it cooled. Then it was brought to the tower where it was placed on Workshop level with the beholder's central eye fixed firmly on the lead piece - for now neutralizing the ring until you could find a more permanent solution.

The trip to Woodhelven is cold but without issue as you, Tranis, Steiner, and Viridia share the road with at first a hayswain heading towards Timberton (you have your own wagon and oxen, merely sharing the road with the haymaker and his 2 sons for safety purposes) and then you joined a larger merchants caravan heading back to Argosility. You bid your companions farewell at Woodhelven and make your way to the Tower of the Moon.

The Council of 4 was pleased to have you back for training and you spent the next 3 plus weeks undergoing some of the most grueling efforts they could force you to take. During your time at Woodhelven, you transcribed most of the spells the Feks Eyber's book into your rune protected spellbook - taking careful note that the Fireball spell was flawlessly moved and inked.

1) The Council of 4 wants you to bring an apprentice back. you can choose: 1) High Elven female 146 y/o (roughly 18) - family is on the Council of 13 (she is aloof and cold, and from your observation has some magical skill already), 2) Grey Elven male 205 y/o (roughly 20) - no indication of his family or upbringing (bichromatic eyes and metallic cast to his hair color, seems too eager to learn and shows surprising aptitude) or 3) High Elven male 115 y/o (roughly 14) - family is on the Council of 13 and the Council of 4 (he is always writing in his journal, takes copious notes, is gregarious and anxious). Or you can opt to not take one at this time. You suspect that you can continue to NOT take a apprentice for a bit longer before the Council of 4 starts to take offense - it's up to you.

2) Will you be looking to buy more inks? You have 20 L1, 10 L2, and 38 L3 back at the Tower.

3) Do you want to get the Vibrodagger +1 repaired here? It is in Poor condition. Inquiries show that there are enough skilled artisans that can work on the ensorcelled metal. To get it to Fair would cost 40 crowns. To get it to Good would cost an additional 80 crowns. Let me know.

Marcus, look this over and answer the questions at the bottom. Also, if there is ANYTHING you want to buy, commission, or get in your time out - now is the time to think about it. You have 338 Crowns remaining on you AFTER all training costs and travel costs have been accounted for. In addition, you have 730 Crowns still at the Tower PLUS a single Garnet worth 100 crowns

The night before leaving for Argosility, there was some discussion on the sale of the "object treasures" we had gathered and the decision was left to your and Tranis' best opinions on the pricing we could get. So besides your normal equipment and belongings you are also bringing the 24 remaining greater size and quality figurines, the 13 lesser size and quality figurines, the case with the 35 bottles of Varohelmian vintage wine, and Horace's +2 shield. Some will be sold, others will be traded.

You spoke with Father Gavilarin for a bit before leaving and also bespoke about clothing and giving the poor of Tanner's Way some work.

The trip to Argosility is cold but without issue as you, Marcus, Steiner, and Viridia share the road with at first a hayswain heading towards Timberton (you have your own wagon and oxen, merely sharing the road with the haymaker and his 2 sons for safety purposes) and then you joined a larger merchants caravan heading back to Argosility. You bid Marcus farewell at Woodhelven and then finished your journey two days later at the glimmering walls of Argosility.

The city is teeming with life, the streets overflowing with people and refugees. Beggary and disease is more prevalent than you remember it being before and the wagon is brought right to Temple Grounds as all three stableries were full and the mock ones that had sprung up outside the walls did not appear to be safe or trustworthy. Many of the King's Dragoons were seen patrolling and there were stocks and chaingangs down Broad Street and Victory Circle.

The Temple was thrilled to have you and you made yourself welcome. A cell was made available and you took it since the city had little rooms for rent and the prices were much higher than you remember. The fallout from the flood and the Kraken was still being felt. River's Edge was a mess and over 4,000 citizens had made their way here for succor and support. The Temples of Zeus had been sent reeling with all 17 of the touched priests unable to muster anything more than the most minor of their god's miracles. But the worst of it was the entire stock of healing potions from the apothecary all the way to the temples seems to have been made inert. ONLY those crafted by the House of Black (Hades) and the Chapel of the Crescent Moon (Hecate) still have any potency - but that represent the barest fraction of the total available.

So obviously, prices are soaring. The House and Chapel at this time are NOT upping any production of elixirs or potions for two reasons (as explained publicly): 1) they do not have the facilities to do so, and 2) they do not have the time to do so. According to the chatter about the Temple of Apollo though, the thought is that Hades and his daughter Hecate have let their priests know to not do this and are looking for the power of Zeus to possibly fade in the minds and eyes of the populace - making it more likely that both these other deities will have the opportunity to garner more worshippers and control.

This does not fit with the cosmology as is and the Temple feels that supporting Zeus and the status quo is the best bet. The Oracle has been consulted many times and the feeling is that the Kraken needs to be captured once again - once that occurs Zeus will be able to devote his attention back to the world at hand. Right now it is taking most of Zeus and Poseidon's time and attention and anything else is just a distraction.

During your time in Argosility you arranged to purchase as many rags, blanket,s shoes, and other clothing that you cold from various poor houses and charities in order to bring back to the downtrodden that inhabit Tanner's Way. It came to 15 crowns and the Temple matched your investment. At this time you have 3 large crates of donations to return with you to Shakun.

You also told them about the Sky Chariot and this garnered LOTS of interest from the Temple. Under the right guidance of any priest or holy knight to Apollo or Poseidon, they can not only fly and soar great distances, but also can be used to visit Olympus if one knows the way. All the old scrolls and texts dictate that you would be best served with 2 fast horses.

As for the figurines - the Temple and it's various fences inform you that they can help you sell them now as they are but you MIGHT get a better price if you sell them at an auction. You need to decide. Right now the sell price is roughly 115 crowns for the better figurines and 30 crowns for the lesser. But YOU need to decide, sell or Auction - and you can't reverse it after a decision is made.

Gems will currently get you: 60 for the Aquamarines (you have 10), 25 for the Citrines (you have 14) and 85 crowns for the garnets (you have 11).

The Shield is shown to a number of possible interested parties and the best trades are as follows: Enchanted Breastplate +1, Battle Axe +1, Ring of Feather Falling, Boots of Dancing. OR, there is at least one family willing to pay 2,250 crowns. You decide.

1) Do you shop HERE for Two fast horses for the Chariot or do you want to want and purchase them at Heatherfield?

2) Sell the figurines one at a time or Auction?

3) What is the final choice on the Shield?

4) Are you going to sell the gems?

The afternoon before leaving for Argosility you and Viridia joined Flimflam for a tour of the Dryad groves and to specifically see the one that he had dedicated to you. The three of you were surprised at the number of trees that had already sprung up around each of the nexus points, to the tune of 40 or so. Also, there were saplings that were situated in such a way that they were at an axis in parallel with the next closest dryad nexus loci. The thought is that if left alone and given enough time, there might very well be a ring of trees encircling Shakun.

The Dryad herself was shy and difficult to coax out, emerging just long enough to give you a glance and stir your loins before she giggled and danced away.

Viridia was far from amused. A green haired lithesome 17 year old looking forest sprite is enough of a threat to anyone.

You then spent some time at the Marshall's office and shared a pint or two with Westwinter and his adjunct Caladis, discussing various crimes and theft that have occurred during the winter, the state of the populace, and his hopes for what the next year will bring. Enough gentle questions and a steady flow of ale had him open up enough that you learned a few things: 1) He felt that he was given this post because he earned it after the horrors of the Goblin War that he faced and his bravery shown during the battles. 2) He has little respect for Captain Thragrial and refers to his militia as "thugs with tabards" - evidenced that the Marshal would not even be needed out here if the Captain was capable of doing his job, 3) and finally he believes that his presence out here is a sign that the Council of Lords is finally going to take seriously the needs of the western frontier and establish more trade routes, guild halls, libraries, and ranging stations. It is part of the reason why the Marshall is keen to learn how your time in Argosility goes during your training as you will most likely learn more about this possibility while there.

The trip to Argosility is cold but without issue as you, Marcus, Steiner, and Viridia share the road with at first a hayswain heading towards Timberton (you have your own wagon and oxen, merely sharing the road with the haymaker and his 2 sons for safety purposes) and then you joined a larger merchants caravan heading back to Argosility. You bid Marcus farewell at Woodhelven and then finished your journey two days later at the glimmering walls of Argosility.

The city is teeming with life, the streets overflowing with people and refugees. Beggary and disease is more prevalent than you remember it being before and the wagon is brought right to Temple Grounds as all three stableries were full and the mock ones that had sprung up outside the walls did not appear to be safe or trustworthy. Many of the King's Dragoons were seen patrolling and there were stocks and chaingangs down Broad Street and Victory Circle.

You bid Steiner farewell while you and Virida went to the Ranging Hall to check in and get your berth for your time to come here. Viridia was allowed to share a room with you as she is ostensibly your henchman and she was heading off to the Street of Silver to find a locksmith and/or keymaker she could spend the 3+ weeks working with.

Your training was long and went well, both you and Ringer were put through many grueling paces but the process has toughened you both and sharpened your skills. The conversation did turn to hunting cats and their abilities as well as feasibility in the wild and possibly dungeon environments. A few were tossed out as possible prospects but eventually most of the great cats were discarded as useful choices due to their size, temperament, need for outdoor. However, the best choice provided was that of the Lynx and it was possible to purchase a partially trained one at an Estate outside of town. It's up to you if you wanted to do it. Word is that the breeder/trapper would be willing to let one go for 75+ crowns.

Being 5th level you are now classified as a Master Scout and your quality of badge is upgraded from and Iron Encircled Star to a Brass one. A reminder of the code of the Kingsmen is given that you represent the will of the sovereign lords of the lands in the spaces between the towns, and you have a charge to keep the king's peace at all times should you ever see injustice, tyranny, or criminality on the roads or in the wild. Your purview, a reminder, does NOT stretch into the established Demesnes of any city, thorp, town, or village - that is the business of the local Reeve, Sheriff, Constable, or Marshall.

As for Marshal Ippsilas Westwinter's thoughts on the Council of Lords and expanding possible ranging stations West of Ferron - the Ranging Hall and Knights there do not commit to it. The current issue with the recent flooding of the Black Water River, the Kraken assault, and the interruption of shipping up and down the coast line coupled with the blow of ineffectiveness the Church of Zeus has been dealt has placed most of these sorts of plans on temporary hold for now and will be revisited possibly in the year 184.

1) Finding/trapping a cat on the road did not pan out, but there is a possibility to garner a Lynx in town. Do you want to pursue this or not? You have over 400 crowns on you now.

2) You need to choose another class of weapons. You have Slashing Swords, Standard Bows, Hammers, and Throwing Spears.

3) Hit Points need to be rolled when I see you next.

4) You need to choose a 2nd favored enemy - you have Goblinoids right now. Can pick: Animals, Golems, Dragons, Elementals, Giants, Orcs, Monstrous Humanoids, Undead, or Vermin

5) You have 8 skill points to apply - let me know what and where.

Keeping with your duties as the Baron's Seneschal as well as wanting to spend some time with your wife and children, you were pleased to be able to perform your duties and training here at Shakun - spending some of your time with Zarik Ikarsbane and the rest of it honing your skills with Pelis the Rug Merchant. Most of the training was fairly simple and you found it easy to share stories and jibes with just about everyone, your easy going nature making the men and women you work with comfortable and easy to trust you.

You have grown close with Fermius, Erd, and Geld in these last weeks - many a night was spent around the hearth at the Hall keeping warm, telling tales, entertaining your children and Erd's live-in maid Jilain. A few visitors have come, some on behalf of the Baron Taugis, some on the interest of the new patrons of the soon to be opened Shakun Tannery, but most have just been friends.

Fermius has taken to his duties as Castellan for both the Tower and the Hall, and even though his left arm never healed correctly, he still holds himself with a warrior's bearing and stoic expression to the pain his twisted bones surely cause him.

As for Senna, she has heard your stories and knows that you have downplayed the danger you had faced. She keeps her council for now but at night there is sometimes a desperation to the way she holds you while sleeping.

It is the sheer amount of treasure you brought back, even after paying for all the training you had and have to go through, you still have well over 400 crowns and the same amount of silver. This brings you to 16+ pounds of coin and treasure. AND - you know that Brother Steiner and three other members of the group were headed to farflung Argosility to sell more of the treasure the party returned with and that will net you more of a share.

So you have all these riches, and besides the Hall that the family lives in, there is a Homestead in the name of the Adventuring Group that can be worked and lived on.

You know your wife wants you to be home, but the winter will end and the snows will melt, and that call in your blood will ring out and you are sure the road will beckon again. But for now, you hold her and your children at night and laugh merrily with those who come to visit.

Until Adventure calls you again.

You went back to you "studio" expecting either it to be filled with god knows what, burned down, or no idea. What you found was Jilain Sheepsheerer hard at work in one of the downstairs rooms on the loom where a new/used spinning wheel was now located, and a number of racks set up. She had a variety of simple garments in various states of repair and you noticed that there was now also an ironing board and a hot iron here along with a copper brazier and a 20# bucket of coals.

She's been busy. Through conversation you gathered that she borrowed another 7 crowns from the "safe" under the stairs and has been doing repairs, laundering, ironing, and other clothier duties to help supplement the income and to make herself useful to and for you. She shows you the iron box filled with copper and silver (167 and 34 respectively) and assures you that she has been working hard to make you proud.

For now, you have decided to let her continue her impromptu clothing service and assured her that she was not in trouble. Her heavy-breasted hugs once again made you uncomfortable but you did your best to placate and congratulate her on her duties.

As for your training, it's gone easy and well. Zarik was more than capable to further your skills and you shared the training with Geld which earned you a few harder than normal throws in the practice ring and at one point, a full on wooden sparring sword contact with your right hand after a purely accidental brushing of her back side.

What has been the best of your time though has been the quiet nights with your friends still here, sitting around the Hearth at the Hall of Heroes and sharing an ale with those there as well as the many visitors who have made their visits an almost regular thing. The winter months continue to plod on, and in time it'll be back out there to better the world and search for treasure. Until then, the ale is cold and the company is just fine.


1) You have 2 points to devote to Skills and crafts.

2) I am assuming you are continuing to keep Jilain at bay. If you feel otherwise, let me know and the 15 year old impressionable young woman will bee-line to your bed in a hot second.

You and Taulib spent the next day gathering all the material you might possibly need for your overland trip to find Kaer Konig, borrowing Sassypants from the stabler for your manservant to ride upon. The weather held for the most part, a slight warming trend made your travel through the grasslands a muddy experience but not unduly difficult. After four hard days of travel seeing many signs of game but little sign of anything else (even the goblins seemed to be hunkering down under the 18" of snow) the heavy green line of the Endless Forest filled the horizon and you found yourselves camped @ it's borders that night.

The next day the two of you were met by a rabbit the size of Whoza who led you through the briars and deadfalls to Kaer Konig's groves. The elder druid seemed grimfaced and disturbed. He had been contact by the Greater Circle and Druidic Leader two weeks earlier about the problem with the natural balance thrown out of whack by the release of the Kraken. The followers of Gaia, Demeter, and Artemis have all agreed to band their efforts together and support their King (Zeus) in the recapture and whatever resources are needed to ensnare the Kraken once more.

The long and short of it, Kaer Konig informs you from the powers that be that Hades is planning on using this shakeup here to snag some more powers since Zeus and Poseidon (to a lesser extent) are sidetracked at this time. And since they are sidetracked, the suspicion is that other monsters from the titans will somehow find their way here up from Hades or down from Olympus at the Lord of Dead and Riches behest. So all druids have been charged to keep their eyes peeled for any monstrous beings who are seeking to expand their environs or seem to be maraudering around - and either capture, neutralize, or banish them.

Your training has been intense and rewarding, and you've come to respect the master of the 8th circle in his dealings. During your training you learned how to better control your shifting to animal form, allowing you to cast spells in that shape as long as a holy symbol is present. There is thought to possibly getting a tattoo permanently affixed of Demeter so that even if you shift form, a symbol would be available. However, it would diminish your ability to blend in as a normal animal since you would have a symbol emblazoned on you in animal form. Something to think about. Plus it would mark you as a follower of the religion and those who are against Demeter would target you because of it.

Taulib and you have also come to the realization that you are pretty weighed down. Even after allowing for training, you are sporting over 100 lbs of gear and personal belongings - it might be time to trim your personal stash and maybe see the moneylender and get your coin changed over to a higher denomination.

You Hammer of Malacite has been behaving strangely during your training and Kaer informs you that the longer you have it, the greater it's magic will grow for you. It is true that you lost a permanent plus from the spellwraith assault, but there are ways to repower it back up. A ceremony spell at the right time after using the weapon to help defeat a magical monstrous being and then bathe the hammer in the fallen's blood can reenchant the weapon - at a permanent loss to yourself. The essence that makes you up would be weakened but it is a way to restore your weapon to full power if you wish. (Charisma -1 permanent)

As it is now, at the completion of your training, your Cudgel has increased it's power up one full level (now +1, would have been +2) and now has it's first purpose revealed - the wielder is tasked as Animal Warden - meaning the owner will feel a want to protect animals more but will also get a +2 to their Empathy with said animals. According to Kaer, there is probably another increase to the cudgel in the future after you've amassed some more power, but he doesn't know what it might be.

At the end of your training you bid Kaer a fond farewell and return back to Shakun with Taulib and your companions who also (except for Hugan) seem a bit more impressive and larger. Upon returning to Shakun you will still have 14 days to yourself so if there is something else you want to do, now is the time to tell me.

FLIMFLAM needs to decide:
1) Tattoo or not? Kaer can do it - the choice is yours. No cost.

2) Anything in particular you want to buy or do while waiting for the rest of the group to reconvene?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Meet 117, Adv 6, 6/4/16

This was our last meeting for a number of reasons, the main one being that my wife gave birth shortly after this. We would be on hiatus from now until maybe the 1st or 2nd week of August. During this time the group would be emailing me back and forth on training and whatever other activities they wanted their character to accomplish over the month or so of time.

Write up follows:

We arrived at Marbledale at the end of the day before the town closed the gates, but opted to camp outside the walls in order to keep a weather eye on our wagons and their cargo. A few of us went into the town and came out with some warm food which we proceeded to share and then rested for the night.

The next morning was warmer and with the added melt the road was still snow covered but we wanted to get closer to home before too much melt turned it into a muddy bath. We drove the oxen and donkeys on with unrelenting pressure until just about 4:30 had us at the borders of Heatherfield. We established rooms for the night and then went to the Common Room where we parsed out more payment to Liscinia and Vestanus for their efforts. We then went to Liscinia’s family jeweler shop and sold some more of our gems there for ready cash, knowing we were going to get a good price. As for Vestanus, he was going to gather his family after collecting his payment and emigrate to Shakun as well.

We spent the rest of the 11th and the 12th reloading our supplies and then set out for Dairymeade on the 13th. The trip to the small Thorpe was without issue but a cold snap hit and we opted to spend the night as the freezing rain turned to snow on us. On the morning of the 15th we left Dairymeade and moved on, arriving at Timberton shortly after dusk. We grabbed a quick room and then were out after a short breakfast.

The roads were sparsely travelled at best as we made our way west, only a few lone souls trudging along. We arrived at the Roaring Treant where we were able to get our animals rested and a roof over our head, heading out on the morning of the 17th for the final 14 mile trek to home and Shakun.

We drove through Northgate and made our way to the Hall of Heroes after a month and half of being gone. Avidius’ family was thrilled to see us and we were immediately treated to a hot meal and dry clothes to change in to. Those who had made the trip with us were invited as well and we spent the night catching everyone up before heading off to sleep at long last.

On the 18th we split the last of the treasures up amongst everyone, parking a full share away for the party fund in case something was to occur in the future. But we did have many trade goods to possibly sell and there was the case of Horace’s shield to possibly sell or trade for something else. We went to the Baron where we filled the nobleman in on everything (sanitized of course) that had occurred and he verified that we had a homestead of 72 acres at our disposal should we want it.

By the end of the night a number of us were going to go off and possibly train, some of us having to leave Shakun and travel elsewhere. Steiner was definitely going to head to Argosility to make his training there and offered to take many of the statues and magic items along to get better deals for them at a more metropolitan locale.

As for the rest of us, it was midwinter and training, relaxing, and reequipping was on our mind so we were going to lay out what our plans were and then take care of them, reporting back in to the Hall if at all possible weekly (or at least by aviary) to keep the group up to date.