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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Meet 90, Adv 5, 8/1/15

The set piece for Redbrick Tower aka Cornelius' Tower was set up actually a very long time ago, prior to this group. It was sitting there and was supposed to be a launching point for the expansion of the mage's guild this far west in the duchy (kingdom now). However, the 2 adventuring parties (going back a bit) that were here - the first never stayed long enough to set up roots in Shakun, and the second lost their mage before the possibility of taking over the tower ever came into place.

So Cornelius' Tower has been percolating for some time...until now. If it works out well, the party will have the possibility of using the mage's tower as a focal point and base (for the party's magic user). It will need to be re-equipped and restocked in some places, but it's a big coup if they can pull it off.

I had a good time writing this last part of the adventure and look forward to the party plumbing the secrets and heights of the tower.

Write up follows:

The group was pretty keyed up from our trip to the goblins and Berrycleft Hill, but we expected to go and visit Cornelius’ Tower tomorrow (21st) or the day after (22nd) so we sort of kept ourselves closer to the Hall of Heroes and raided the closets for replacement clothing as well as have a decent meal and shoot the shit with Avidius’ wife and kids. The group that had gone out after the goblins to raid them (Marshall Westwinter, his deputies, Kalt and the First Sons of Shakun, and a host of mustered militia men and Homesteaders totaling perhaps 60) was supposed to come back this evening and Steiner was going to keep a weather ear out for their return and maybe get some information.

Erd though went to the Militia and spent another large swath of time with Scarene. They shared stories, jokes, and even the desire to continue communication after she is let go (her hopes – maybe not reality). Eventually Erd did go back to his home where a number of squatters were still living until the all clear was to be given tomorrow to allow people to return to their Homesteads. During his conversation with the tenants, a family referred to as “Sheepshearers”, he lamented the fact that he needed a maid to help to keep up the place and to take care of some day to day issues.

One thing led to another and when it was all finished, Erd hired Julaine Sheepshearer, a 15 y/o daughter who was 5’10”, 165 lbs, and big and anxious to work. Not quite sure how it works, Erd actually paid the apprentice fee to the girl’s father (instead of collecting it) and then spent some time filling her in on what her duties would be over the next 6 months.

Steiner was at the Hospice where he did learn that the posse did return but it did not go well. 15 of the riders had been wounded and 7 had been slain. Three were pretty bad off and seemed to have been hit by a series of goblin slingers at terrible close range. The sling bullets were small and yet penetrated deeply in the flesh of the men. One was shot in the shoulder, another in the guts, and the last in the leg over the knee.

Father Gavilerin and Steiner did what they could to work on the men but admitted that even their skill was not enough. So a runner was sent to the Hall to request Flimflam to come and help out. Flimflam though was having a nesting moment and was cleaning out the last room where he had been growing hallucinogenic mushrooms. The beds were pretty full and he had a crop there, but the squirrel that lived there for the last few months and had developed a taste for the mushrooms stayed local – eventually the two of them befriended one another (thanks to a charm animal spell) – but unlike the relationship with his dogs, the squirrel was fiercely independent and made its will known to the gnomish druid.

Flimflam did go to the Hospice where the three men worked hard for almost 2 hours saving the lives of the 3 wounded men. Their injuries were systemic of some of the goblin strange weaponry and refused to heal with divine aid while any source of the goblinoid crud was present.

We awoke the next day and after breaking our fast had some errands to run before we were going to get together for lunch and then go to Cornelius’ Tower. There were some trips to Pelis the rug merchant to talk about the town and some of the people in it, as well as a need to buy a rug (that was waved over and the priest in question was told to wait until and if he eventually opened a covered shrine or small temple to Apollo). The militia was visited and thanked for their efforts in watching the tower, and Captain Thragriel let it be known that Erd had been to visit Scarene a few days in a row now.

At Marig’s Trading post a loom was purchased but would need some work as well as some other supplies. Julaine was become besotted with Erd and the fighter showed the impressionable young woman where his secret stash of coins was hidden, giving her the right to go and take “if needed.” A visit to the fletcher had us with no stonebiters to purchase. A visit to the Baron had us talking about Tanner’s Way and the need to improve the block. 100 crowns was tossed about in the possibility to set up a soup kitchen and smaller hospice there. Casel’s Carpentry was visited for an armor stand. And lastly we went to the Town Hall and formally filed a charter under the name of the Peacemakers with Cornelius’ Tower as an adventurer party location.

We then met back at the Hall where Senna had a big lunch for everyone and we all geared up for our trip into the tower. We had learned that there were some soft attempts to get into the Tower, and suspected that Kalt and the First Sons of Shakun would be trying again in greater numbers today. More of a reason for us to get their first.

Once prepared we went across Town Square to the Cornelius’ Tower where we addressed the two guards there and admitted we were going to enter. It was 1:30 @ this time and we peered within. The door was open, propped in place by a cobble as we had left it. And from our place we could see the floor was somewhat screwed up and littered, and in the back a looming set of stairs hugged the far wall winding up into the ceiling.

A light spell was cast upon the lantern and we entered with care, giving the cobble a firm “step over”. There was a closet along the far wall, the door of which seemed to be smashed and lying partially inside. Broken shelves littered the place, whatever was on them have been destroyed some time ago. The place was cold – maybe a few degrees below freezing. We were all wearing cold weather gear and cloaks, so for now felt ok. The stairs went up to the next floor and there were the odd stains upon them. The closet seemed to have clothing in them.

We pulled the clothing out of the closet with a sweeping of poles and spears, everyone looking around with care for anything of interest. When we had a chance we switched over to infravision (those who have it) and saw the air was filled with odd eddies and whorls of cooler air. Steiner did a detect undead spell and although he saw no undead – he DID see spectral signs that there WERE undead here not too long ago – or maybe just one.

Eventually we sorted out the clothing – most of it vests, shirts, breeches – but there were 2 warm weather linen cloaks, each lightly colored and having a stylized hand reaching up on the back design rimmed in flames.  The back of the closet was searched and we found signs of a secret door that led down to the basement. Even opening the door let up some very cold air.

We sampled the cloaks and by putting them on and pulling them tight around the front with both hands, the flaming hands on the back lit up and the wearer felt like it was 50 degrees instead of mid 20’s. However only 2 of them, and to work properly, the wearer had to use both hands to hold it closed. We took them and turned back to the basement.

The air was even colder down here, the temperature dropping to teens and then single digits. The basement held a large furnace along the south wall, a wood and coal bin were situated near the metal structure. The center of the floor was dominated by a 15’ diameter circle along with a pentagram within – both of them made of paint as well as chalk line. A 6 ½’ tall brown bear in a seated position was in the corner. There were also a number of pipes sticking out of the ceiling and walls in strange places. Lastly the west wall was dominated by 12 wooden crates – each one roughly 4’x4’x 4 ½’ tall. With the last of his detect undead spell still working, Steiner was able to let us know that the undead presence had also been down here – but again – not here now.

We looked for traps for a bit until we were convinced there were none. A detect magic spell let us know the box’s contents might be magical. By now it was after 2 and the decision was made to open the boxes and see what the held. With crowbar in hand we pried off the wooden struts and then the top and revealed…Bark. Chunks and sheaves and layers of bark – assumingly in the entire box. It was easily 80-90% filled – but it was a bark. Magical?

We opened the next box and it was filled with…Leaves. Oak, elm, poplar, birch, all sorts of leaves. Some green, some yellowing, some crinkly red. But leaves. This was getting a bit odd. The third box held a…font. A water font – and from the markings on it, came from a temple of Artemis at one point. The group remembered that Shakun once had a Temple of Artemis on site (in fact, the Hospice and Temple Grounds are where it used to be) but they left Shakun perhaps 40-50 years ago.

The 4th box had part of a bench within, and a cylinder with two wheels each just barely large enough to fit within. Obviously it had to be built or reassembled, but for now we didn’t know what it was.

The cold was getting to most of us so we went back up the stairs to warm up where we noted…the cobble from the front door was no longer blocking the door, instead dumped maybe 5’ further into the room. And the front door was closed.


We were talking about lighting the fire in the furnace somehow to warm the place and maybe opening other boxes. Our light spell was about done and we might be trapped inside the tower – but we would have to go to the door and try it out to make sure.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meet 89, Adv 5, 7/25/15

The original write-up of the cave had militaristic goblins and a shaman or two ready to combat the party, coupled with a blind hit from the left where a team of goblin dogs and their trainers would hit, as well as two pit traps and the potential to circle around and hit the party from behind. It was supposed to be a VERY tough slog through their home with no possibility of retreat until sunset as the goblins were going to set the grasses on fire and the smoke and flames would force the party into the cave where they'd have to suffer waves of prepared goblins chanting as well as withering arrow fire.

None of that happened.

Instead we have the party going to the cave to encounter about HALF the original number of goblins, of which 11 are veteran status but older - and the rest are women and children.

The traps are still there but aren't manned to the same degree and the assault on the party is much more fragmented and less focused. So much so that the party kicked some serious goblin ass.

The worst of it for the party was the nauseous effect from the pails of shit and piss from the midden hurled at the group. Ie the stinking cloud, nauseous people can't attack, cast spells, or use skills. AC is -4  penalty and it's 1d6+2 rounds.

It was devastating to the party as in the first round of the last combat I took out the two heavy armored tanks meaning our main force of front line fighters was a dog, a spear using warrior henchman, and our ranger. But the entire cave encounter was like a train and the party kept it moving forward - and like any train - anything in the tracks ahead was going to get crushed.

Write up follows:

After a quick scouring of fallen arrows, we decided it was best to press on and keep the momentum going against the goblin forces. The passage out of this chamber ran straight ahead and into the gloom beyond our light source. We cast a light spell on Geld’s spear to help us on our way and then took to the hall, Steiner and Erd leading the way (by dint of their superior armor, doughty shields, and the Detect Trap spell that was still going on).

The passage ran onward for almost 25 long paces until it came to a crossing passage (right and left) and then kept going. According to Steiner, his divine inspired vision informed him that a section of the ground on the left side of the intersection was a weakened floor and should be avoided.

So we moved onward, coming up to the crossing and deciding on going onward or turning left or right when the arrows began firing.

Lots of them.

Steiner held his large shield aloft and moved forward, the goblin shafts driving furrows into his shield, gouging his armor, getting caught in his tabard and padding – but not doing much more than that. He motioned the group to follow and stepped down the hall, Erd right behind him. And then we were assaulted from the right as well with another fusillade of arrows. The party returned fire down the straight corridor, picking off the front spear users while trying to hit the goblins with the bows in back.

Tranis meanwhile along with Ringer ran to the right, bringing the fight to the smaller group over there and closing to front ranks where the two of them hit the foes hard. Swords and spears were thrust and slung and the group on the right broke first, retreating but holding their ranks as they faded around the corner.

The main group held out longer until the last of the spearmen fell. At this point the single older (veteran?) goblin male leading the teens and youths against the party was wounded and peeled back, taking only a single goblin with him in his dash to retreat, the party littering the hall with the dead and dying.

Our shields and armor were showing some wear and our stores of arrows were slipping, but we drew up lines once more and readied ourselves for continuing onward. The decision was made to go to the right since it seemed to open up to a large chamber of some sort. So we picked our way along, seeing a burn barrel in the corner lighting the place, the brazier smoking hot, some sort of “meat on a stick” had been eaten by the goblins in their desire to retreat.

There were signs that the goblins had left in haste and we could hear voices and noises down the hall from here, running at a faint slope and out of the room to the north. The smell of goblin feces was strong and we were talking about what to do (the slope down seemed to be covered with goblin scat!) when it was presented that if we screw around here, what’s to stop the goblins from trying to get out back the main way and signal the returning troops that we were here and they should return quickly?

It made sense so we just turned around and raced back the way we came, Marcus now leading the way – and sure enough, his elven hearing did pick up the sounds of frantic and running goblins coming closer down the original corridor. They had to be stopped. So it was Marcus around the corner followed by Geld who began stabbing and shooting the approaching 8 – 2 with spears, 2 with horns, 2 with drums, and 2 with flaming arrows – already nocked and ready.

We hit them hard and they made some effort to try and get past but Tranis was holding the ground along with Flimflam, plus a total of four of their dogs. Geld actually power slammed one of the running goblins up and over, flinging the 13 year old drummer down into the pit where he dropped 20’ and was impaled on spikes below.

None of them made more than a few feet down towards the exit; all of them eventually slain for their efforts. Erd and Steiner though, out of this fight, went back to the side room with the burning brazier and tossed the brazier down the sloping hall to illuminate the area. It did, but we also got a four count of arrows shot back at us for the effort. So the fighter and priest pulled back and away, rejoining the rest of the party that had finally finished the fight with the goblin foes.

We debated our options and decided that we were going to go back down the main hall towards the now distant and much fainter sounds coming from the cave. We drew up once more in marching order and marched on, eventually coming to a large chamber. The far side led towards the exit (faint light was streaming down), but it was blocked off by dumped over tables, beds, chairs, benches, and all manner of bric-a-brac. There was another corridor to the left also blocked by chairs, stools, boxes, and barrels. From behind both we could hear goblin voices.

We discussed our plans and then decided that once more Erd and Steiner would lead the way – heading towards the larger barricade and attempt to tear it down. However as we raced across the room and approached the barrier, from outside the side corridor and behind that barricade came arcing honey buckets. Honey buckets … filled with 2+ gallons of goblin shit and piss.

And it rained down on both men from head to foot.

They both stopped charging, hacking and coughing as they tried to clear their eyes and mouths. The nauseating goblin feces was oozing under their armor and soaking their skin and clothes. The reek was in their mouth and face and hair. And it made them heave and retch as they staggered about.

Erd moved backwards and Steiner stumbled to the smaller barricade – where spears from the other side thrust out and stabbed into the cleric who was having a hard time staying upright. The rest of the party charged forward to help, Geld dodging a bucket tossed at her and hitting the smaller barricade with her own spear leading the way. The barricade had to come down if they were going to hit the goblins on the other side so Tranis and Geld started ripping into it.

Flimflam went to come forward to help but from the corridor behind us goblin arrows shot out, hitting the druid and then slamming into Whosea three times, bringing his war dog dangerously close to death. Tranis reversed his movement and Marcus helped, the two of them shooting the goblin in the dark while Flimflam healed Whosea from the worst of the injuries. More honey buckets came sailing over and more nausea was tossed on Steiner who not a mouthful as well as the bucket upending into his backpack. He was twisting and screaming, revolted and furious, tossing chairs and benches aside with blind fury.

Whose, healed, raced into the dark corridor and finished off the goblin there while Marcus ran through the fight and hit the far barricade with his crowbar, dodging spear thrusts and trying to get to the goblins behind. To distract them Flimflam summoned a swarm of rats that bit, scratched, and distracted half of the goblins on the other side of the big barrier.

The smaller barricade was almost down when Tranis and Geld were hit with their own buckets, the two of them disgusted but doing their best to keep the fight going on. Erd dared to cross to the larger barrier and was assaulting it with Marcus while the goblins were distracted.

As the last of the chairs and stools were pulled aside and spears were thrust at them, Geld slammed her spear out at the goblin line and skewered one of the teen aged female goblins in the chest. A clear line of sight had Flimflam call out to Demeter and a large wolverine appeared in the narrow corridor, stopping the flow of honey buckets and causing a ruckus amidst the tightly backed goblins.

From the larger barrier the goblins had managed to light a blanket on fire which they hurled on the swarm of rats just about the same time the Marcus and Erd pulled the last larger piece of table aside and opened the line up to fight the 8 goblin spearmen gathered there. Flimflam and Whosea raced to join the fight as Geld, Tranis and Steiner (all covered and nauseous) kept the smaller corridor plugged up and tore through the goblin youths there.

It was narrow fighting and the goblins fell one after another. Our wounds were adding up but we pressed on until the last goblin tried to run down the hall, stopped at the midden and was speared by Geld with a well-placed throw where the 12 year old goblin youth was pitched back into the muck and sunk out of sight with a drowning glub of rising bubbles.

We were done. The fight had taken the rest out of us and we wanted to leave now. It was already after 2 and we knew that we had little time to get back to town and avoid the goblin horde as it approached. We counted coup and cut off 35 pairs of goblin ears to bring back to Shakun for bounty. With most of us beyond skuzzy from shit and piss as well as a smattering of wounds and hurts, we left the goblin cave on Berrycleft Hill and began the three and a half hour walk back to Shakun.

Once there we stripped in town and went right to the bathhouse, throwing out our soft soiled clothes and undergarments, (even a backpack and torches!) and scrubbed ourselves clean. Steiner refused to pay the 5 common price and instead tossed a common to Higraine at Northern Stables to use the larger trough to get himself clean.

So here we are , Earthmonth the 20th, almost 6 PM, and we were gathering back at the Hall of Heroes for a dinner, to catch Avidius up with what happened (as well as Flimflam curing the scout’s sickness with a well-placed healing spell), and to make sure that Kilven was doing ok.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Meet 88, Adv 5, 7/18/15

At this point I had the adventure sort of going to and ending up in Cornelius' Tower - based upon how written. Focal point in town, 15 years untouched, suddenly open and promise of something good/cool in there - leading to the end of the adventure name, "The Gathering Dark".

The party instead went a different direction and wanted to go back to the original Goblin cave on Berrycleft Hill and kick some ass, raiding THEM in response for them raiding us. If we pressed on and ran, we could beat them there before they came back that evening and ninja our way back to town.

So we geared up and ran to the hill, and as you can see - a room filled with goblin kids and teens doesn't mean that the Murder-Hobos needed to slow down over the speed bump that was their corpses and bodies.

Write up follows:

In the aftermath of the raid we heard goblin horns calling retreat as the greenskin forces were frightened off after the light column roaring show that Mahr’s minion produced. It would be some time until we could verify the damage done to the Homesteads but for now we hoped it was little. Our forces were putting out the last of the fires along Northgate and the party itself was looking over the battlefield (as it was) for clues.

As for Mary – she was reduced to some dusty crystalline powder that rapidly dispersed in the breeze. While walking around and taking note of things, we noticed that Cornelius’ Tower, formerly known as Redbrick Tower, sealed during the goblin occupation and unable to be opened for the last 15 years…the front and only door was open!

While the town watch was coming back, we dared to look at the tower, noting it was dark inside, and the door was ajar – but the feeling of ill will was still there – just lesser. We picked up a loose cobble from the battle and propped open the door, just in case the magic came back on and the door closed.

From here we brought Kilven back to the Hall of Heroes and laid him out, the ensorcelled sleep he was suffering under holding him fast. The group spoke at length about our ordeal and there was talk about going into the tower tomorrow…But instead a counter plan was brought up and the group as one agreed with it.

Beat the goblin force that was heading back to the caves loaded down with booty and plunder and loot their caves! We all agreed and decided we would leave tomorrow after checking in with the Captain and the Baron. Healing was passed out and the group went to sleep.

Most of them.

Erd went off to the Militia where we spoke with the guards there and was allowed to talk with Scarene. He spent some time with her, talking charmingly and with light bantering wit, trying to set her at ease as well as foist the feeling of interest on the elven (half goblin???) woman. It seemed to have an effect after many hours. Eventually he went back to his home where he picked his way through the Homestead squatters he had put up for the night and got to bed.

We awoke the next day where the party raided the equipment piles for torches, shirts, arrows, and rope – everything we might possibly need. We had also paid to have breakfast delivered to the militia’s office and Captain Thragrial for the next few days. We had learned that a group of 60 men and women were going to ride out and harry the retreating goblin forces and make their return to their caves difficult at best. The Marshall Westwinter was spearheading this and it was known that Kalt and the First Son’s of Shakun were anxious to be a part of that group.

Kilven was still unconscious and Avidius was ill, after hiding in the mud puddle we had come down with a pretty nasty cold so his wife Senna had wanted him to stay in bed – and the group agreed. So down two members, we set off: Flimflam, Tranis, Steiner, Erd, Geld, Marcus and our 4 animals: Ringer, Princess, Brutus, and Whosea. Small group, fast moving. 8:30 we were gone and kept up as much of a run as we could, jogging when we grew winded.

By almost 12 we had arrive at the cave in question and spent some time observing it and the hills surrounding it. There were no watches we could see, but there was a faint haze from cooking fires in the cave along the far end of the hill and after some time, a smaller, thinner goblin (teen?) came out of the cave, looked around, and snuck back inside.

We crept in the grasses to the hill and then discussed the merits of setting the grasses on fire and escaping vs. NOT doing that. An inordinate amount of time was spent on this before it was shelved for now and for many of the group – a very last last last possibility. For others – no way at all.

Without Avidius we had no way to check for traps so Steiner called to Apollo to help him see any – and then he crept up to the entrance and peered in. The corridor went in and sloped down for 20-30’ but there was definitely a deadfall trap set up in there. A rope led from the center beam down to the room below. Way to go Steiner.

We needed to cut that rope but didn’t want to risk getting in the cave to do it. That’s when Flimflam stripped down and shape changed into a mouse. He crawled into the cave, made his way to the rope, and started to chew through it. He had to stop when some cat got close to the slope and was looking up there but eventually was able to finish the job and then return to the party.

So we all drew weapons, lined up, and took a deep breath before racing into the goblin cave and entered the first sizable chamber. 6’ ceilings, 60 odd feet deep, maybe 30’, a few fires and candles. And over a dozen younger goblins in here along with 2 older females. No weapons to be seen. A couple of goblin rat dogs and a feral cat playing with the children.

And we slaughtered them. Taking advantage of their surprise, we charged across the chamber with spears and swords flailing. Maces crushed windpipes, arms were lopped off, spears punctured throats and legs. Our dogs only added to the carnage by savaging the yelling goblins with a wild ferocity. From the moment we raced into the room until the last goblin was silence by a deadly cut across their chest, the entire combat took about the same length of time it took to read this paragraph.

Our presence was now known and surprise was lost – but that would be for the future as we had Marcus place an Alarm spell on the cave entrance and Tranis was debating setting up the deadfall again – using the intestines of the fallen goblin children as tripwire rope.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Meet 87, Adv 5, 7/11/15

I got into Warhammer miniature battles a bit later than the Golden age, more like the Silver - just when the prices were going through the roof but hadn't gotten there yet. Bretonians were my army of choice and I had many wonderful months/years painting my knights and archers as well as having them stand their ground and fight the forces of Chaos.

Long over now, I still remember the enjoyment of big armies clashing and set pieces - coupled with the sheer number of dice rolled. So I brought a bit of that back for this meeting but cut down on the dice. I gave the group the chance to set up a defense behind a wall - outfit it however they can with only their ingenuity to fuel it, and had them with 30 L1 commoners, 20 L2 commoners, and 10 L1 warriors at their fingertips to hold the gate. For multiple shots I rolled either 3 or 4 "attacks" into a single dice, but the party had a chance to do a clash of armies - even if it was only 60 vs 75.

From the sounds of it all, the party had a great time.

Write up follows:

We looked at our location that we had to defend – an opening 40’ wide flanked by two sets of two towers 30’ tall, and then a stone wall and parapet running in both directions. There is a smaller road that runs from the gates to the main road, 160’ away. The grasses are short (less than an inch) from constant cropping; the walls are 25’ tall. There is no actual gate. We are told that after 7 PM, we should get a number of wagons and carts after the Homesteads are cleared.

As for people, we had 10 actual militia men, 20 mustered militia men, and about 30 common volunteers. Bows we were not too great on, so we plundered the weapon stores at the Hall of Heroes and outfitted another 10 or so men with short bows and a small smattering of arrows. We also handed out whatever padded armors we had and then split the forces, setting half of them up on the left, and half on the right. We also positioned Tranis and Marcus on the forward towers with 5 of the best militia archers for just in case.

We then sent out word to the denizens of Tanner’s Way – for every armful of big rocks they bring, we are willing to pay a copper piece. Over 80 of them responded.

With rocks, foundation stones, and countless cobble stones from the road beds of Tanner’s Way, we bucket brigaded the stones to the parapet and got them ready. Barrels and buckets were filled with water and positioned all about the town.

Citizens from the Homesteads were filling in the town square and the place was filling up. Erd picked two families and sent them to his home/studio to stay in during the combat.

We then prepared two large bonfires and laced the spacing between them with bundled hay and thatch, using a few flasks of oil to stretch it out. The wagons came, along with a number of carts and 25 bales of hay. So we made three barriers before the gate after the fire line of spilled carts/wagons and hay – and then had a few members at the base with spears in case the goblins got that far.

Finally Avidius and some of the guys dug a few holes outside the wall and filled them with water – where the fighter would hide in them and wait for possible shaman or leader types to pass so he could take them quickly and from behind.

Just after night fall, Flimflam turned into an owl and winged north, looking for the goblin group. They were closing – and what was scary was a there was a floating gas bag with a platform below – and a shaman was riding on top (along with other bowmen). Flimflam suspected he was being noticed so he did a wingover and made some distance, swung around, spotted the rest of the goblins and their closing to the Homesteads, and then returned to the town.

He changed back and told us what he saw. The decision was that Tranis would be concentrating his fire at the floating gas bag (just aim above the line of fire in the sky) and do the best to take it down.

Finally it was after 9 and we heard the assault start on the Homestead as goblin voices were chanting. At our end, we watched the growing glows and glints as goblin forces gathered on the other side of the road. And then a 5 count of goblins came riding out, strafing the wall, mounted on huge goblin hyena-like dogs. Our guys were ready though and arrows flew from all directions, picking those off near the front, and then tossed rocks and cobbles rained down, hurting more, until only a three count of dogs managed to escape and only one lone goblin rider – just about all of them were wounded.

The goblins riled themselves up and then the floating gas bag made it appearance, carried towards the wall with an unnatural sustained gust of wind. Our guys in the tower shot at the balloon as it grew closer, Tranis leading the fusillade. We threw a torch to the oil soaked lines and lit the bon fires, igniting the last barrier. As the goblins grew closer we began shooting.

Three sets of 4 or 5 goblins each with a scaling ladder approached the walls and our guys there were ready. Arrows flew and tore through the goblins, and when they got close enough to set ladders, tossed stones and cobbles followed. A single archer was pegged by the goblin return fire and he fell off the wall to his death.

The scaling party was broken, one of them tried to run away but was slaughtered and then only goblins managed to escape the terrible defenders fire. The rest of the group could not mass strike the wall, hampered by the fires and the dumped over carts, hemmed in and then fired upon even more.

But the gas bag was growing closer and all our shots were hitting it, but not stopping it. Tranis pulled out a precious drilling stone biter arrow, nocked it in place, and let fly – tearing through the gas bag – and then passing though to rip out the other side! The bag shuddered and began to list, but it was still approaching the wall too fast. Flimflam called out to Demeter and summoned a giant eagle! 20’+ wing span and it struck the gas bag, ripping the hole larger. Goblins were falling off and the platform was tilting. So Tranis shot his last stone biter arrow – and again tore two massive (entrance and exit!)holes in the dirigible.

Now it was falling. The platform with the fire put tilted over and spread fire up the side of the dirigible as it was angling down to the wall. We had our troops run for their lives, racing across the parapet to get out of the path and to safety. Meanwhile, the falling gas bag demoralized the goblins outside the walls and they broke, pulling back to run away.

The gas bag smashed into the wall, sending fire everywhere and setting the roof of the stables ablaze. The shaman survived the fall and was ignoring the fire (protection? Resistance?) and we were going to draw him into combat when there was an outrushing of air from the center of town and a blast of screaming energy tore straight up, 1,000 feet into the sky to piece the clouds – a column of yellow swirling white fiery light.

And every active spell in visible range ended, turning to smoke and swirling towards town square. The shaman, no longer immune was burned alive and other spells, (blesses, charms, buffs, detections, everything) ended. We ordered the militia and musterable men here to hold the wall and bucket brigade water to put out the fire – telling them to stay back as we dropped to the ground and drew up to run to town square. Avidius who was outside the wall climbed out of his mud hole and ran to the wall to climb up and rejoin the party – but he would be a few minutes behind.

As for the group, we arrived at town square and stopped – the column of fire was fading away and we saw it end with a guttering light – leaving Mary – the blond woman with grey eyes standing there. She had the entirety of town square knocked out around here – over 200 citizens. She gave a look around and started to walk to West Gate.

We closed to 40 feet and called to her to stop. She ignored us at first and then stopped to look back. She was disturbing and unbothered by us, ignoring our calls to stop – she approached us with hands out and reaching. As the distance closed to 20 feet, we attacked. Arrows and weapons shot, spells followed.

But the spells (including a turning from Steiner but she broke it and crushed his holy symbol in return) were absorbed by her, and then hurled back at us. And anything magical that hit her was rendered inert – including Flimflam’s two dogs (their contact to him broken).

And after a solid minute of taking shots and blows and hits, fire raced from her feet up through her head – and removed every sign of damage she had taken. Fuck.

So we plowed though her again, and this time she enervated some spell power from Steiner, refashioned it into a swirling axe spell, and hurled it at Kilvin – hitting him and knocking the barbarian unconscious.

And then she healed her damage again.

We redoubled our efforts, hitting shooting, striking. Avidius finally arrived and added his own bow shots from a distance, hitting her again. Poison was tried this time as well, and she was hurt and hurting.

But she healed her damage full again!

From here Steiner decided that fire and oil would work next. So after dousing her with a flask of oil, our priest of Apollo took a lit torch and at a distance of 8’ away, hurled the torch at Mary. Critically striking her in the face. He flattened her nose, dislocated her jaw, knocked out a few teeth, and fire raced across her face and hair, running down the oil soaked runnels across her body. Screaming and yelling, we struck hard and fast – and this time did enough damage that Mary fell to the ground where she broke into a million pieces of sand and glass.

And in the distance to the southwest, a blast of fire shot and raced from cloud to ground. And we assumed it was Mahr. We guessed that he knew of the passing of his minion but we were just happy to have the battle over.

So here it was, after 10 PM, the goblin attack broken and the raids on the Homesteads in retreat, 200+ people knocked out and Mary dispatched. But the walls of Shakun held and held well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Meet 86, Adv 5, 6/27/15

The group is split between the desire to improve their home/Shakun as the thing to do vs. acting like mercenaries and adventuring for more phat lewt. So this meeting was...difficult for half the table - at least that's how it looked from my side of the screen (YMMV).

The idea of "end game" and town politics typically doesn't take place until 9+ level and not all groups go there. But unless you send a swarm of Bulette's to attack your power group when they are meteor swarming a horde of giant spiders riding black dragons - at some point the idea of maintenance and roots and politics does take place.

I am testing the waters here with the middle part of this adventure (called the Gathering Dark) and the goblin raid. It's not the end all be all - 250 odd goblins against a town of 1,900 - and there is a 25' tall wall they can all hide behind. What it is though that SOME of the Homesteads will be pillaged (how many? we'll see!) and there is a floating surprise to hit the group.

We'll see how they perform during the raid and their subsequent views on town politics and building to help me guide adventure 6.

Write up follows:

We spent a minute taking stock of the situation and then had our cleric stabilize Scarene. Curufin was beyond our help. And now it was time to discuss what happened and how it would play out. Scarene was to be taken to the militia where who would be imprisoned and then questioned. We would send word via aviary to Curufin’s last recipient to let them know of the elf’s passing.

But most of all, we had to get the Baron and the council in on this and then send some riders north into the Shakunian Hills and get some eyes on the goblin forces. We estimated between 40 and 80 – but we wanted to know for sure.

We returned to the Hall of Heroes where we came upon a Pervian nomad by the name of Kilvin looking for us. From the same area of Perv that Flimflam and Ironboard were from, the human barbarian was following dreams, stories, and portents to come here at long last and meet up with Flimflam to help out.

We gave Senna and Avidius’ daughters what money was needed to support the home, made sure they knew where shields and spears were (should they be needed), and then filled all the jars and barrels in the house because we assumed there would be some goblin raid this night.

We returned to Town Hall just after 11 and shared our findings with the Baron and his council members (Zarik, Thragrial, Westwinter, Rhianent) and discuss plans to defend the town and the Homesteads. Most everyone assumed the Homestead defense was not going to happen – and we would have to ask the people there to come behind the walls and leave them to either be plundered or burned. Better to lose material than to lose people.

However, the Baron understood where the people were going to come from – and that was all their hard work was going to risk being destroyed in one fell goblinoid attack. Captain Thragrial and Marshall Westwynter were going to arrange to get the Homesteads evacuated and the goal was to have everyone ready to come in before the night runs out.

But we need for sure more information. So we Kilvin, Tranis, and Avidius were going to get horses from the Stablemaster with the Baron’s approval to ride north and check the goblins out. The rest of us were going to go to the prison and question Scarene in depth as for what’s going on.

By 12 we had our jobs and separated.

Through LOTs of questioning, investigation, riding, talking, scouting, and everything else – we learned the following information which we all shared by 3:30 that afternoon when we all reconvened together.

As per Scarene and a variety of questioning/spells/tactics:

  • She is a half goblin/half elf and granddaughter of a Goblin Warchief named Balistock the Crazed.
  • Balistock works with the “Blue One” (dragon) and uses his lair (for now) as a base of operations
  • Scarene has been coming in to town for weeks and introducing rats, fleas, and fungus to the granary.
  • The granary is over 40 tons full right now but from what we just learned, is most likely tainted and will sicken most of the people of Shakun over the winter.
  • Even if we trash all the grain in there and load up with whatever we can harvest in the last few weeks, we’ll only have maybe a 15 tons – not enough to support the town. Which means either import or hungry times for Shakun.
  • Long term goal is to weaken Shakun so Balistock the Crazed can launch a spring offensive and try to retake Shakun for at least a week.
  • If he does, the Lords of Duuk Tsarath will allow him the opportunity to use a Dwarven Sphere against the elves of Woodhelven.
  • Dwarven Spheres are a combination of older dwarven weaponry from the Kinslayer Wars and newer tech the gobbo’s got from “elsewhere” and lots of Hadesnium to make a big assed bomb.
  • Balistock the Crazed has only the most terrible and xenophobic prejudiced hatred for elves and all things elvish.

From our scouts we learned instead:

  • There weren’t 40 goblins. Or 80. But in excess of 200 of them.
  • There were also goblin dogs with them, at least 30.
  • There were travois and baggage – indicating they are expecting to take back LOTS of plunder or they are bringing something terrible to Shakun.
  • Fetish markings and standards are revealed perhaps 4 shaman with the goblins.
  • Based upon the distance and they fact they were resting in the day – we estimated they would be at the town by 9ish or later tonight.

Long and short of it, we felt outclassed. They were coming and nothing we could do would deter that.

We called the Baron and his people back together, shared all the news with them, and then let them do what they are doing best. The Homesteads would be cleared and everyone in behind the walls by 7PM – no exceptions. We would barricade all three gateways with fallen wagons, broken houses from Tanner’s Way, and other wreckage the town would scrounge up. All musterable men were to be called up and at conscripts were to report by 5:30 PM

As for defense, Sir Flimflam Waywocket and the Peacemakers were asked to stand and marshall the defenses at Northgate and we agreed.

We had a bad feeling  - what if the magic “weakening effect” was in place right now? The best way to test it was to have the group go to Cornelius’ Tower and see if the pain/fear affect was still on the door. Kilvin tested it – And sure as shit – it still was.

So here it was 4 PM on Earthmonth the 19th and there are a horde of goblins coming to loot the place and burn it down.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Meet 85, Adv 5, 6/20/15


The party was associated with the death of what to all intents and purposes appears to be a elven woman in town AND the death of another elven companion - with ties to one of the 13 ruling families of Woodhelven. Elves have a longer worldview on things so they are not going to run people out to to Bumfuck Podunk Shakun and rough up the party for getting their scion kilt...but this is going to shake things up "next year" in game time/terms and I will enjoy doing it.

There are also 3 "threads" for endgame floating around this campaign - I am officially dropping one of them as unnecessary and superfluous - too many spices in the soup so to speak.

Write up follows:

Avidius and Erd ran ahead of the rest of the group to get to the gates before the rest of the party. The idea was one of them would take over Westgate and the other would go to Southgate, inform the guards of Scarene’s presence and description, and help out by staying there until we could guarantee she was in the town and not going to make her way out the doors.

The rest of the party was 20 minutes or so behind and Steiner did his duty by watching Northgate. Geld took Marcus to the Hospice for rest and recuperation. This left Curufin to go to Pelis, Flimflam to go to Baron Taugis, and Tranis to go and report to Captain Thragriel as well as Marshall Westwinter.

Pelis was informed and at Curufin’s prompting, sent out his birds to gather information on Scarene and where she might be. They played chess in the meantime. Flimflam gave the copper common piece story to the Baron as well as reporting about the goblin drums and the possibility of Goblinwater. The Baron reminded Flimflam about “we’ll get to it” problems and how they can snowball – ie: what the Duuk Tsarith problem eventually turned into.

Captain Thragriel and his people were instructed and happy to get the information. There is a system now (there have 8 or 9 “goblin” blamed thefts so far this month) where distant Homesteads use bells to report a goblin attack – 2 long rings, 2 short rings. As for Marshall Westwinter, Tranis spoke to Caladis (his assistant) and was then shunted to one of other deputies, Belamy, where the info was reported and thanked for.

As for Avidius’ gate (Southgate), no issue, no problem. Steiner was also no issue. Erd had a different series of interesting facts. The blond woman with the grey eyes was last seen going into the Helax home, next to the Brandone’s. Master Helax’ wife had passed away a month ago. Guards thought it was a hoot and that she must be a gold digger since Helax was over 60. When we all got back together, we noted the situation but did not want to go there now in our scattered and weakened state.

Lastly, Scarene, information was that she had been staying near the granary on the south side of town (near the millhouse and Southgate). We had the guards there on extra duty and then the group went to sleep.

We went first to Master Helax’ home and he was happy to see us. Remembering us an our efforts 7 months with the strange sleeping hex as well the moving of his couch downstairs that his wife wanted he was easy to talk to. His health has been declining and her elder manservant, Bradwell, did his best to keep us from knocking over the hoarder mess the house had turned into as well as to keep us from fucking the place up.

He did mention the girl and that she was happy to come to his house and sleep with him last night. She was gone when he woke up. The upstairs grandfather clock had stopped working so Avidius and Curufin volunteered to go up there and check it out. There were some strange crystals inside the clock, like quartz, but they weren’t doing anything. Suspicion was that the clock was drained of magic.

We eventually left Helax and made our way towards the granary – where the guards at Southgate had already been detaining Scarene and looking for us. What we were doing wasn’t illegal, but it was pretty close to it. So we got Captain Thragriel involved and he brought two of his deputies. So then it was, where do we do this? Goin to cells wasn’t going to happen and we couldn’t lure her someplace like that – but what we could do is take her to the Town Hall – which had only 3 ways out, and two of them would be locked – the guards watching the front door.

Questioning did not reveal anything at first and she was firm in her story and tale. It was only after Marcus was gotten and a charm spell was cast that we got more information – primarily that she knew WAY too much about drum patterns and communication over distances. The cover was blown.

We lunged for her and she managed to draw two arrows (makeshift daggers? Maybe) and was in combat with Curufin  - but before it could go any further Tranis took aim and fired – and she whirled Curufin in line with the arrows – hitting him in the chest and killing the elven thief! A hold person spell followed and then it was knife across the throat.

So, we are in the Town Hall, Captain Thragriel and two of his men are there, Scarene has been killed (murdered after being ensorcelled into submission), Curufin has been killed in the crossfire, and Marcus is still woozy and pretty bad off.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Meet 84, Adv 5, 6/06/15

The battle took too long.

I like to tweak, change, alter, and add - it's part of the hobby roots for me and I've never forgotten it. One of the most poignant memories I had from the early early days of me playing (30+ years ago) was sitting down after we had first learned how to play and the DM did something that wasn't canon in the book. So I called him on it, he nodded his head, flipped through the DMG, and then tossed it behind him and said, "It's a guide. Read it. Don't live it."

I never forgot it and have let that incident shape the way I play and DM ever since.

But, I have 7 around the table (soon to be 6 - sniff sniff) plus myself and the battle was big and long and I didn't like it.

Initiative was the culprit, followed by the general chitchat that we do.

Roll D6 - the round is split into 4 sections: Flee, Missile, Back Rank weapons, Melee/Spells. Improved initiative moves you up a rank. Dex has no impact.

I think I will try for a going forward on being more mindful of the time constraints - when I started it - it was 1 minute to get your shit together and then battle commences. I'm going to add that back. Gonna pick up a big assed digital stopwatch thing and hang it from the DM screen - see how that works.

Write up follows:

The party discussed the matter for some time and eventually decided they were going to try and get out of the cave and run back to town. We didn’t know how many were out there, if any of the invisible ones were nearby, and what our chances were. We were going to need some information.

We moved the bound up goblins we had captured further back into the cave and went over plans. Curufin was pretty sure there was a goblin up the slope and listening, hidden in the shadows or possibly invisible. How to verify? We decided to use Marcus and his ESP spell. The elven wizard and the two thieves went up the slope, talking the entire time about the goblins and how many and what not while Marcus had his ESP spell pushed ahead – and then he encountered goblin thoughts but there was no one there visibly. He gleaned all the surface thoughts and we then went back to the cave where he let us know maybe 6 or 7 goblins invisibly were here, there were over 20 other goblins in the area, and more were coming. At sunset they were going to storm the cave and capture us/kill us.

So, we had a plan – it was going to be bust out and run for Shakun as soon as the way was clear. Short, sweet, easy. Also, keep the fire to a minimum.

So we slit the throats of the 5 worker goblins, left the goblinwater fucked up druggy one alone, and cut the bonds on the one who had helped us. Then at 4:30 PM we lined up and stormed our way out – Erd and Tranis taking the lead, shields lowered and the rest of the party racing with them. The invisible goblin got tangled up and was expelled from the cave and the group immediately started fanning out.

There was a 5 or six count right near the entrance, with another 20, two sets of 10, bow users further down the hill in the grasses. We hit the local spear and axe guys full on, and the group did their damndest to take the combat to them.

Arrows fell about the party and even though many of us were armored up, the tall grasses gave us further cover. Our side had a bless spell go off, followed by a fairy fire spell to illuminate the closest goblins.

More withering archer fire fell about the group but an entangle spell neutralized about half the archers. The enemy had a spell caster as well and tried to take it against us but Steiner used his staff of fear and the shaman turned and ran.

Invisible goblins kept appearing, back stabbing the party all over the place. Marcus was getting pretty hurt and the group then tried to clear the goblins up over the cave entrance (3 or 4 count there). The combat was fast and furious but we eventually broke the goblins assault and sent many of the bow users to run. However, we were in no position for a protracted battle, goblin drums were in the distance and closing, Marcus was down and was going to need Hospice care to be of any use, and our stores of arrows and spells was depleted. We needed to leave and leave now.

The trip back to Shakun took over 4 hours, with the party switching off on toting Marcus along as well as keeping a weather eye on the land before us. The goblin drums stayed with us for hours until we left them further behind (but never quiet). And it was almost 8:30 when we saw the lights of Shakun growing closer and we knew we had a half hour or so to go before making it home.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Meet 83, Adv 5, 5/16/15

Off the beaten path.

I've mentioned before that I write the adventures usually some time in advance and let the characters do what they want @ game time - trying to keep the game as written without getting petulant and upping the danger, or dropping it - depending on how the group is doing.

But here, I had written it that the group would be led to the goblin cave, chance their way in, and the gobbos would be fighting a retreating conflict since the group could not escape back the way they came - and eventually some sort of straight up fight with the gobbo BBG Shank.

Instead, the group circumvented this and went after the smaller cave to the west, not knowing that they were noted and tracked by goblin scouts. The group then assaulted a smaller cave for all good reasons.

Problem was I did not have the other cave planned out - I knew there were gobbos there, a small amount and what they were doing - but the cave? Exact inside? Nothing. So it was off the cuff for me, including using some of my new Dwarven Forge cave stuff. And it went well.

Now they have a different situation and the longer it goes on, the more the gobbos in the area are going to mass up and take this group out! Or so they think.

Write up follows

On the morning of Earthmonth the 18th, the party spent some time going through the piles of stores we had in the Hall of Heroes and loaded up where needed. Then after grabbing some food and getting our waterskins in place, it was 7:30 when we met with Scarene Windacre and set off towards the last goblin sighted enclave, a place referred to as Berrycleft Hill.

Scarene was a wood elf, a bit over 5’, tanned skin, brown hair, lithe and yet solid. She had a number of goblin fetishes about her person and was armed with a functional short sword and a similar bow. During the walk, there was some attempt at conversation but Scarene took her job as ranger seriously and often would remind the party to quiet down when we got too noisy.

After about 3 hours hard walk through the mid fall grasses (some almost 4’ tall – and leaving a large noticeable path behind us), we came up the area in question. She led us to the east a bit and then had us climb a hill to see the location in detail. Some 300’ away, 2 hills (the land here was a layer of good soil over limestone, with numerous crags and hills ranging up to 150’ in total height) from where we were, was a crack in the lee side of the hill’s top and a 9’ tall wooden goblin marking up top. 3 skulls dangling from the crossbeam and the black and red lightning design let us know that this was a Duuk Tsarithian group and had maybe 45 goblins within at least.

Scarene let us know that she had done her job and wished us well, backing down the hill and heading back the way we came. Not entirely trusting her, Curufin made it his business to watch her go and after some time was assured she had left as expected.

As for the direct approach the cave – no one wanted to risk it. So Flimflam used his ability to transform into an animal (this time a raven) and took Hugin with him to scout the area. They took their time and then returned where he spent a little time telling the party what they had learned. In the nearest 7 surrounding hills, there were areas near the top where the soil had been peeled away and a barricade/berm of limestone was visible. Each of these “cleared” areas FACED the goblin warren on Berrycleft Hill, and for all their surrounding ones, only the hill we were on did not have this feature. Curious.

Also, from the air, our trip through the badlands was very obvious with 10 people tramping the grasses flat and terminating at this hill. It would take a moron to fail to track us here. As for tracks other than ours – Flimflam saw three – one going west about a quarter mile or so to another hill with a goblin fetishes, one going to the north east and the direction of the Endless Forest, and the last one meandering south a bit before getting lost on its way towards Shakun.

This led us to another discussion – and we did not want to go in there. As Avidius said, you never go into a goblin lair if you don’t have to. So this made us rethink our situation, Scarene’s trustworthiness, and other options – eventually settling on going to the other hill to the west to gobbos had visited and it’s much smaller fetish totems.

We ate lunch as we walked, travelling far out of the way to avoid our own trail and Flimflam had cast pass without a trace on a five count of us – making the signs of our passage that much less. Eventually we came to the hill that Flimflam had seen from the air and we crouched low in the grass, watching the site. A thin line of smoke, like cooking smoke, came from the cavern entrance – otherwise it was quiet. Very quiet. Like no animals anywhere quiet.

Avidius and Curufin volunteered to investigate. They crept up through the grass, the slope of the hill hitting 45 degrees in some places. The entrance was maybe 4’ tall, and 5’ wide, and the smell coming from there was foul and pungent. Knowing what they did, they suspected their might be a 2nd entrance (or exit) and looked about, coming upon a section of the ground where similar smoke was coming up though the dirt. They could hear banging below and goblin voices. And some prying at the earth let them believe that the grasses might be able to be lifted from below and offer escape.

Coming back to the party, the group had the thought to prevent the “escape” from the back door first. So Flim went with them and they came back the grassy area where Flimflam called upon Demeter and caused all the plants in the area to grow – effectively thickening the grasses and reknitting all the roots – making any “easy” escape from this area that much harder.

Then they went back to the party and the decision was that Avidius and Curufin would go up first, have the group follow at a distance (50’?) and then wait for their signal while they went in to the cave and checked it out. Agreeing, the plan went off as expected with the two thieves getting to the cave entrance and heading in with care. It was 30 degree slope down, 5’ tall, 5’ wide. There were a scattering of stones maybe 10’ past the entrance that we circumvented with Curufin’s bedroll. At the bottom of the slope the corridor opened to a rough cave with five goblins within.
Avidius & Curufin scouting the first chamber

One was near a back corridor, looking further into the complex. One was near a pool hacked into the floor and surrounded with burning logs and rushes, stirring it with a long pole, one was near a section of wall where water was collecting from a trickle in the ceiling, and two others were around the pool, occasionally tossing what seemed to be rotting potatoes into the grey glop cooking (and smoking) in the pool.

The greenskins were thin and happy, content with their chores and chitchatting. They talked about taking a break and getting paid in two days. They did not appear to be warrior types but there were still 5 of them – and Avidius and Curufin wanted to back away for now and get the rest of the party involved. Curufin his halfway back up the sloping entrance while Avidius went to the party and waved them up quietly. Informing them of what they had learned, the group went through plans real fast and settled on Marcus hitting the goblins with a sleep spell. The two of them crawled quietly up to the entrance, made their way to Curufin, and then Marcus did his best to cast quietly before tossing a handful of rose petals ahead and finishing his spell.
Filthy goblins rendering vinegar for Goblinwater

Five muffled thuds followed and they peered in.

Five goblins sleeping.

The call went out (quietly) to the rest of the group who came up and with swift motions, tied up the goblins and carried them OUT of the cave to the grasses. Erd positioned himself near the passage further into the cave, Marcus supported Erd across the room with his bow, a quick look at the barrels showed potatoes and corn meal (vinegar? Was Flimflam’s guess), Avidius and Curufin went down the 40’ hall to the next open area and looked, while the rest of us were outside on the top of the hill with our captured goblins.

The next chamber was irregularly shaped and was lit by a fire under a cauldron – a larger goblin was on top of it, directing a small smattering of other goblins on what to do, how to load it, what to add, stoke the fire, etc… There was a goblin on the other side of the wall, some sort of guard type, another one was near the fire – armed and armored. In the dull glow and gleam, we could see another passage beyond this one but it was low and in order to get there, would require some crawling to achieve.

More discussions followed and it was once more decided to use Marcus’ sleep spell. There were more goblins here so we had to be ready to attack and attack fast if it didn’t cover everyone. The words were said and then WHAM – another pile of sleeping goblins. In fact, the one over the cauldron fell into the mess. Avidius had his swiftsword out and stabbed the closest goblin guard here while sling stones chased the other goblin who had escaped the radius of the sleep spell, knocking him out and down. The group plied knife and sword to the sleeping goblins, keeping only the armed and armored one alive, binding him tight. Beyond the cramped passage which was some sort of the timber reinforced section, we could hear more goblin voices taunting us to come in. We instead let the support fall and the area over there caved in, blocking off the last goblins there.

A few of the party members followed Avidius back outside to where the other exit was that Flim had hit with the plant growth spell, swords and spears out and ready to hit the goblins who were trying to chop their way free. The rest of the party brought the tied up goblins back into the main room (the five that had been there and the armored one) while they were going through the items found in the alcove. And according to Flimflam, most of it was material used to make goblinwater – only a few small changes.

When the exit was finally hacked open, the party dispatched one of the goblins and threatened the other who kept saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” We tied him up and there was some checking below – but in doing so, Erd felt himself grow tired and the goblin down there seemed to heal and get up again. Goblinwater. We took the bound up one with us (gagged) and headed back to the cave where we talked about what we had all learned and what was to happen next for questioning.

The party got into a moralistic discussion when it came time for possible torture (setting one of the goblin’s feet on fire) and then there was some conversation with the goblin that had been stirring the glop in the first room. His job was to stir. Another’s job was to add vegetable material. Another was to add water when needed. They were to make some PART of the goblin water and then it was taken to the next room where others knew THEIR part – but no one seemed to know the entire thing – except for the leader – who had fallen into the cauldron from the sleep spell and boiled/drowned to death.

We then talked to the warrior goblin who said he was here because he had pissed off his warleader – a tough brute named Shank. Shank was in the other cave and he had been sent here as a demotion. We also learned some of the back story. The goblins were wrapping up what they needed to here before the snows fell, one of their shamans had gotten portent that they had to leave the area before the rise of the full moon (end of month) because Hades wanted it to be so. But there was also something about the group – and if possible, lead them to the area and trap/kill them.

Scarene was a half-goblin/half elf, and there were 4 or so others in the area – scouting for the party and was to make it possible for them to come to the other hill and enticed to attack. There are supposedly invisible goblins in the area watching and would have set the grasses on fire at the base of the hill, forcing the party up where the goblins up there (with Shank) would have cut the group down.

Because we didn’t go there and came here, we were most likely followed and the goblins were probably outside THIS cave and ready for us to show ourselves. The longer we stayed here, the more it would impossible for us to escape.

We looked at each other and had a sinking feeling in our guts that it has been almost 3 hours – the goblins were very ready and aware of us – and it was going to go poorly for the party very soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Meet 82, Adv 5, 5/9/15

The group has gotten sort of a heads up of three threads in this adventure - the possible yuan-ti in the area (has been hinted at for months in game play so far), the blond woman and her wandering town possible magic draining that might have something to do with Mahr the Illusionist, and lastly the goblin presence and their pre-snow raids.

As usual with town adventures, there isn't a single thread and always something to do and going on - even if they don't plan for it.

Write up follows:

Curufin, Steiner, and Flimflam all went to Pelis the Rug merchant’s to sit and talk with the information broker about Curufin being in town, some of the things that have been going on, the Fist’al situation, and Pelis’ broken ankle from falling down the stairs.

Which is the strangest of them all because Pelis has a number of luck fetishes he’s collected over the decades – and typically they protect him from things like this. He’s disturbed about it and knows that Enthir is looking into it for now.

The conversation then turned to the purpose for Pelis calling for a visit. He knows the group is “thief” light with Fist’al no longer being with the group and Pelis has a member of his guild that is looking for steady work. We met Avidius, a family man and father of two, who has been suffering for consistent work but is more than capable. A militaristic bent of a man, he was a scout and partisan for Shakun during the occupation – more than knowing his way around goblins and how to take care of them.

We spoke with the man at length, liked his spiel, and offered him a probationary position with the group for now. An unforeseen advantage was that he had his wife and 2 daughters with him – and they would help us maintain the Hall of Heroes during the times we were gone, as well as general upkeep and laundering duties while we were there.

While THIS was going on, Tranis took a trip out to the Dorminger Homestead at the far south western portion of Shakun’s boundaries. He met with Master Orim Dorminger and spoke about the attack on his mule (Gladys). The “whatever” had crashed in through the thatch roof and attacked the mule. Two pinky length stab wounds were next to each other in the mule’s flank/hind quarters and she was very weak and listless. The ranger went up to the thatch (which had been repaired), sifted around there for some time, and then went down to the muddy floor and look around there for any clues. Finding a translucent bit of some sort of this chitin (maybe) looking material. He promised Dorminger that the Peacemaker’s would be on it and get back to him.

Lastly, being it was marketday, there were some purchases made all over town with Erd deciding that he wanted a piece of property. He spoke with the Magistrate about possibilities and locations – eventually taking rented possession for 1 year of a nice 2 story home in Elven Quarter near the Temple Grounds. He prepaid rent for the place and then decided that it was going to be a Dance Studio – and he would be giving lessons. Or at least hire someone to teach. And to take care of the place.

We all came back to the Hall of Heroes and talked about all we had learned, meeting Avidius and his wife and kids (Senna and 2 girls age 12 and 10). A house fund was established and Senna started out with getting the kitchen squared up as well as starting some sort of dinner with the numerous vegetables still in the cellar (most were useable) and some of the salted pork we had there. A fast couple of purify water spells were cast on the cistern on the roof and we had at least 10 gallons of available water before needing to go to the well.

There were two things we could be taking care of – the Dorminger issue which Tranis said would require Flimflam to resolve, and maybe haunting the Ogre Door Inn and seeing if we could find any sign of the blond attractive woman with the grey eyes. After dinner we split up with Steiner, Erd, Curufin, and Avidius going to the Tavern and Flimflam, Tranis, Marcus, and Geld going to the Dorminger Homestead.

The time at the Ogre Door Inn was fruitful – more than anyone could have expected. Erd was holding court near the bar, talking up a storm with all comers, trying to keep a weather eye out on everything going on. Avidius and Curufin took up a table near the minstrel, nursing some ale and watching as well. Steiner stayed near the wall by the steps, the cleric scanning the crowd with care. So when someone placed her hand on his shoulders and asked to speak with him, he was a bit surprised at the contact.

She was blond, and yes her eyes, were grey, and sure she was beautiful But other things about her were difficult to identify. Her weight and height seems to fluctuate, as did her skin tone and body morphics. In fact Steiner had to close his eyes and steady his thoughts in order to get a better bead on her and continue his conversation. She was about 5’ 6”, maybe 120 or so, buxom but not too top heavy, nicely shaped, and said her name was Mary.

As for the other 3 members of the party, only Avidius actually noticed her and when he tried to focus too much on her, he found his thoughts cascading elsewhere along with his attention. Curufin? Didn’t even notice.

When she asked Steiner to take a walk with her to the Temple Grounds, his hackles rose and he backed away gracefully, knowing that some strange dweomer was at work here. So he wished him well, went to leave and when she fell behind a crowd of people, she seemed to change her appearance to that of one of the other tavern patrons and then leave the building.

20 paces behind here, Steiner followed and Avidius and Curufin followed. Only Avidius admitted to actually seeing her and they were outside now, Erd catching up and getting filled in. Steiner called out to Apollo and swept the area with his gaze, trying to find any telltale signs of magic. And maybe, there might have been a ghost of it heading into the Street of Craftsmen and then the Elven Quarter?

We went that way. Avidius and Curufin ran ahead to the Temple Ground and hid behind some of the outer shrines, hoping to see someone coming this way while Steiner and Erd stayed together and walked the streets. And at an alley near the end of the Elven Quarter, the espied movement down and alley and the elf’s infravision let us believe someone had been there just. We followed, walking through the tight confines, filth, and muck – eventually coming back to the street and walking north back to the Ogre Door Inn – our possible quarry gone. The two thieves caught up with us after some time and we went back to the Hall of Heroes, knowing that we would not find her again this night. Steiner was convinced since he did not fall for her “siren’s” call, that she would give him a wide berth for some time. Maybe.

As for Tranis and his portion of the party, it went differently. The Dorminger’s were happy to see Flimflam again and were very respectful and courteous. They went to the barn and saw the mule, the damage, and the situation. Flimflam cast Speak with Animals and learned from Gladys, the cow, and even the fat pig there a clearer picture of what happened. The figure fell through the thatch, had two arms, two legs, startled Gladys who kicked it twice before it got angry and seemed to bite her before scrambling up and out of the thatch roof again.

Based upon wheat we had known and the situation now, Flimflam assumed it might be a yuan-ti from Candlewick Keep that may have followed us here. Which really freaked out Geld because she/he had lived there for some time and knew about the dangerous yuan-ti Sisspak and it’s almost stranglehold on the entire Keep. The druid did draw the poison out of Gladys the dying mule which even though we didn’t solve the problem yet, the Dormingers were willing to pay us the 24+ nobles for our efforts in saving their animal.

The party went back to the Hall of Heroes where we all spoke together of what had happened, what we had learned, and what our actions would be in the coming days. Tomorrow though, we had to meet with Scarene Windacre who would guide us north of Shakun where we would hopefully spy the goblins and track them down.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Meet 81, Adv 5, 5/2/15

Sometimes a character is fun to play and just doesn't fit in the group. And rule number 1, is always have fun. But what happens when your fun is at the expense of the other 4, 5, or 6 people at the table's fun? Does that mean yours doesn't count? Does theirs? Who decides where the "fun" line is and when it is ok to cross it or not?

We had a returning player who hasn't been in 1 of my games for 13 years roll up a character and flesh it out, introduce it to the group, and then after a week - realize that although it is a fun character - it's not fun for the group.

So he did the very adult thing, after thinking about it all week, he wrote his new character out and immediate rolled up a different one.

And that's why I like playing with established groups and with mature people. It was better that everyone have a good time that just the shock value of himself.

Write up follows:

Our return to Shakun was a tremendous success and it took us almost no time to glad hand with the welcoming crew, as well as the Baron and his men. We were invited to the Baron’s that evening for dinner which we gladly accepted. Getting paid from the caravan master we headed to the Hall of Heroes and looked to relax for a few hours.

In our time gone (as well as the hot summer), the Hall has been slowly falling apart. There are chinks in the mortar, the shutters sag slightly, the place is musty and smells – the entire place needs a good cleaning. Bullbowl felt very ill at ease – the 9’ plus tall half-ogre did not fit through the front door, and he was unable to stand up inside the place (8’ ceilings). He went outside and leaned against the building instead, cleaning hit feet and toes. Steiner didn’t see the allure and left, heading to the Ogre Door Inn to get a bath. Curufin went to the General Store and Trading Post to purchase a broom. Flimflam went upstairs to look at the “mushroom” room – and it had gotten a bit fecund over the last month or so. Plus, a squirrel or two have clawed their way in through a broken bit of eaves.

Bullbowl was sitting out there, kilt riding up and high, when either one of the Marshall’s men came by or someone had called for the Marshall’s man – wither was in was Zenfirus, the Marshall’s Interrogator, who was questioning Bullbowl as to who he was, what was he doing here, and why was he here. He lured Bullbowl to come with him, leading him to the Marshall’s Office, before trying to get him to get into a cell at the end – promising him a puppy (too eat? Um…sure! If you want).

The barbarian did not fall for it though and instead looked at Zenfirus with quiet malice and said simply, “I rage.” The barbarian then tried to tear the wiry man’s arm off. With a twist and scream, the deputy raced away from the Half-ogre and hid in one of the cells.

Flimflam arrived around the same time now, just as the furious barbarian was exiting the Marshall’s office, with the Marshall right behind him. He seemed to sag and Flimflam sent him back to the Hall to relax. Meanwhile, Bullbowl was getting it in his head that he should kill Zenfirus and maybe the Marshall.

The party spent an inordinate amount of time convincing Bullbowl that it would be VERY bad if he did that and maybe the best that be gotten was some sort of honor duel – but only IF Zenfirus started it. We got ready for dinner and then went to the Town Hall for a delicious meal with almost 40 of the leaders in the town. Already a dozen of the horses have been purchased and the feeling was that the rest of the stock would be sold in the next couple of days.

But what we concerned about did happen as Bullbowl forced a bowl of soup to be dumped on Zenfirus during the meal, which had him stand up and NOT get upset. Until Curufin stood near the deputy and threw his voice to make it sound like the deputy challenged Bullbowl. There was much discussion and denial, but the half-ogre had accepted and it was witnessed and seconded. But Baron Taugis wanted this to end for now and to enjoy dinner. Zenfirus left, followed by the Marshall.

The next morning we ate breakfast and then went to town square to see the duel. The Marshall was very against it, and for those looking, we could tell that this was going to go poorly at some level for the group – especially since Zenfirus kept saying he didn’t want to do this. But before it actually started, he whipped a handful of pepper and glass shards into Bullbowl’s eyes, making the half Ogre stagger around blinded.

Then a poisoned knife followed and a deep cut ended up on the half-ogre’s leg. The fight was on – Zenfirus dodging and ducking, trying to hamstring the half-ogre, and Bullbowl windmilling his arms in an effort to grab the elusive deputy.

And in a blind accident, he managed to snag Zenfirus’ shoulder. His free hand grabbed the deputy’s knife hand and crushed the bones there, causing the knife to fall. The fighting was milling all over and then Bullbowl roared out and slammed his ham-like hand into Zenfirus’ groin, grabbed hard and caused the deputy to scream in a high-pitched whine and start to PULL. The crowd roared in anger and Marcus who had been ready for something hurled rose petals at the combatants and cast a sleep spell – dropping Bullbowl who fell with the deputy who was bleeding from his crotch.

In the aftermath of the combat, Zenfirus had lost a testicle and his manhood was ripped but not torn from his body. He would require almost a week of bed rest. Steiner cast cure moderate wounds on the deputy, his efforts allowing the man to heal rapidly and at least keep his…parts – most of them.

This was not going to work out. Flimflam had a heart to heart talk with the half-ogre who also realized that life up here in the civilized lands just was not for him. They parted as friends and Bullbowl left town for the long walk back to the Beastly Hills.

Many hours later the party had joined the town elders and other merchant families and heads at the town hall to discuss the sales as they have gone on – but more importantly, to talk about the number of goblins that have been found in the area as of late. With the upcoming winter, their presence has been on the rise and the group had been tasked with two things – removal of bandits in the environs to allow trade roads to open and to keep the goblin presences down to a minimum.

At this point a tall black haired fighter looking guy stepped up, called himself Kalt and that he was a member of what he called the First Sons of Shakun. Wanted a chance to be an alternative adventuring group in town, our charter was over (6 months), and other items. We held him off and had a copy of a new charter in hand, signing it at the hall and promising to submit it in the next few days. As for a guide to the goblin caves, there would someone called Scarene, a hunter of sorts, who would meet with us to lead up to where we needed to go.

Marcus answered an invitation that Enthir had sent him to come and join him and a few of the other elves for drink and some news. So he joined the elder grey elf at Nadeer Strongriver’s home in Elven quarter – an archer of some renown who had settled here after the war, and Halden Singeflower, a warrior/wizard of low skill who also had left the politics of Woodhelven behind.

The stories shared during the drinking and bantering were disturbing to Marcus. First, Pelis the Rugmerchant had a period of bad luck (something that doesn’t happen to the information broker ever thanks to his numerous luck fetishes) where he broke his ankle yesterday on an unlucky trip down the steps. This had Enthir mention it to some of the other friends in the neighborhood and got them to talking.

Nadeer has a music crystal he’s owned for years, a gift from a relative back in Woodhelven. It plays some elvish music when he is feeling homesick, but something odd is happening to it lately as it has been behaving poorly. Sometimes not starting, other times playing slowly. Almost as if it’s magic was failing but that makes no sense.

Halden, who is a local lothario with the human women in town, did admit to picking up a striking blond woman with grey eyes recently and bringing her back to his place. But in the morning he felt exhausted, drained, and his mind was blank of spells as if he had cast them – but there was no sign that he ever actually did. It was many hours later before he felt well enough to get out of bed.

The conversation then turned to magic and what’s going on. Obviously failing, but that makes no sense. Magic permeates the world in a net called the Weave, and is powered strongest along leylines. The spaces between these leylines normally are filled with magic, but something seems to be draining them here in Shakun’s area, and it seems to be affecting everything.

There are ways to “fill” the boxes back up – usually a birth of something Fey does it (dragons, unicorns, dryads, etc…) – but the feeling is that maybe something is moving the leylines. Right now there isn’t a lot of “real” information to go on, just noticed stuff by Enthir and some of the other elves in town – but they wanted to get Marcus involved early and maybe he and the rest of the party can look into it before it becomes a real issue.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Meet 80, Adv 5, 4/25/15

Outside of training, there is no "box text" start of this adventure. In the game, the weather is turning cold, harvest has been going on strong, and there is maybe a month (tops) or travellable days remaining before the first snows hit. It was a buy all we could sort of meeting before travelling back to Shakun.

This adventure is called "The Gathering Dark" and will take place back in the party's hometown. There are a number of threads that have been left there as well as some unraveling that we had done. So this is a chance for us to clean up our spills and smooth out our wake.

My buddy Scott rejoined us at the table, first time he's sat and played here for 13 years. His character is a caricature of a favorite character he had played before - but it will not last. Sort of a one meeting speed bump. He voluntarily retired him the next meeting and rolled up someone less...colorful!

Write up follows:

For the next weeks we were guests of Heatherfield, half the training costs being picked up by Lord Gelus Kayzer and the various merchant houses as thanks for our efforts in stemming the undead tide. The Thanach family gift three of their guard dogs to us: one for Flimflam, one for Tranis, and one for Castus.

The fallout with Sheriff Nexius and Erd (regarding Gwendolyn) continued to rage on, with the Sheriff actually going to Flimflam and ordering the gnome to take care of the problem before he does.

The temples of Demeter and Gaia band together, rounding up volunteers to help clear the 5 homesteads that were affected, as well as to bless and sanctify them. The town square had been rededicated as the Carayn Marketplace, and a new altar to Apollo had been constructed there. During a ceremony to consecrate the altar as headed by Steiner, there was a meet a greet afterwards where the beleaguered priest tried to work his way through the many religious questions. Somehow Dionysus came up a bunch and there was the concern regarding Icarus, but he did manage to inspire (if even just for a day) at least a dozen or so hopeful aspirants.

Packages arrived from Woodhelven for Flimflam, Marcus, Curufin, and even Selene. Of the three we had read, Flimflam was given thanks, a bauble that would let him enter Woodhelven freely if need be, and a slim package of cultivate Elderberry grape seeds. Marcus was offered a position in the Silverhair garrison as an Optio and gifted a 10 count of obsidian headed elven arrows. Curufin was offered a position as a 2nd rank Optio and gifted a pair of poisonry books and some dried lower level poisons.

As the time of training was coming to the end we were approached by the Stablemaster of the Northern Stables. There were going to be some 50 horses and almost 100 people making the trip. About 20 horses and 35 people would be stopping and staying at Timberton to sell their wares, while the remainder would be going to Shakun. Many of the travelers (about 1/3 of them tradesmen) would be staying there, emigrating to the frontier town.

But the Stablemaster had a different problem. He had a figure that had been with hi for some weeks now, a half-ogre from the Beastly Hills to the south. Often times barbarian tribes would wander north, most of them staying at Brewersbrdge, but others taking further trips north and ending up at Heatherfield.

Over 9’ tall, 600 lbs, and freakishly strong as well as simple seeming, he had been with the Stablemaster for the last few weeks but was quickly outgrowing his ability to help him. So they were willing to sponsor him to the adventuring group should they take him with them when they return to Shakun.

We met with the half-ogre that night at the Mane and Tail Inn and had some conversation with him. All of 16 years of age, he has been on his own or travelling with other loosely knit tribes from the hills. He was wearing the hide armor remains of an oversized owlbear and very little else. In addition, he owned an axe that he had taken from a giant – normally an unwieldy weapon under any circumstances. What he did not have was a name. Only his new chief can give him that. So we talked about what he had killed last (giant) and what had he eaten last (wooden bowl – more like gnawing on it). We had Giantbowl as a name but it was just not right, so while going over big animals and mentioned bull, the half-ogre said…”Bull…Bowl. I like it.” And no amount of dissuading would change his mind at this time.

For the last 3-4 days, the party went shopping for supplies to bring back to Shakun as well as refilling our own stores with wares. What was strange was that Bullbowl had little concept of money or of owning things – and Flimflam had to guide him often. The issue came when it was time to get shoes – and for that, Bullbowl who had at first wanted them, began to react negatively – screaming and yelling to get them off. The cobbler wouldn’t take them back (the man is 9’ tall – who else would buy them?) so we had Bull add them to his large sack of miscellaneous things and we continued our resupply and shopping.

Eventually our time was done and on Earthmonth the 12th, we joined the caravan heading north and went on our way during the long journey back to Shakun.

We stopped at Dairymeade at the end of the 1st day where most of us got rooms or places to sleep in the tiny hamlet (Bull slept outside the Leatherworkers). In fact, it was here that Bull tied the laces together on his shoes and tossed the mess up into the alder tree near the Leatherworker’s stall. No one commented on the shoes in the trees and we rounded up for more of our ride north.

The evening of the 13th had us at Timberton where we again got rooms and on the morn of the 14th, we bid farewell to some 30 members of the caravan and 20 of the horses that would be sold here (with luck). The remaining over 70 of us and 30 horses left that morning (this time with no rain or drizzle to mar our trip) and began travelling west. Our caravan stopped at the Roaring Treant Inn for the night and was on the road again the following morning where at 5:30 that afternoon of Earthmonth the 15th, we came upon to sights of the homesteads, walls, and hills of Shakun. Our home.