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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Meet 6, Adv B2, 12/27/15 - Youth Group

After 9 months of not playing, it was once again Christmas break for my daughter and her friends so we reconvened where we left off. This was sort of a short meeting, mostly just in town (keep) role playing stuff they were to do and a short foray out into the wild.

Write up follows:

The party wandered around the bazaar and shops hoping to find what had been whispered as the apothecist where Loq had gotten his healing elixirs from. We got lucky and located the man along the south wall of the keep, near the rat on a stick salesman and the guy who sells gently used cloaks and shoes. Named Brakus he was loathe to sell to us since he only had 4 elixirs left and wanted to sell them all at once (at 20 crowns a piece). It seems the main ingredient, swamp lotus, was in short supply and the last few collectors who had dared to go to the Capeshin Swamp to bring them back had never returned.

It was here that the two of them dickered back and forth with Brakus eventually coming to a deal where if they were to bring him Swamp Lotus, specifically 3 of them, he would give them 4 healing elixirs and would even throw in a virulent weapon coating he referred to as “Foulmusk” which would add some kick to either one sword or two knifes/daggers.

So at 5:30 Charlotte and William found themselves at the inn where they ate a filling meal, listened to some minstrel, laughed at a few jokes, and gathered themselves up to go at 10:30 that night. The swamp lotus had to be picked at 12:00 midnight exactly in order to get the full potency, as evidenced by the faint purplish glow the flower gives off at that time.

The road was dark and the night was scary, but the two friends made it to the Capeshin swamp (roughly an hour) in more than enough time to beat the midnight hour. They combed the banks of the slow moving Capeshin River, torch lit, in order to find the best place to enter the stagnant water and head for the lily pads. Once they felt it was the right place, Charlotte started tossing gravel into the swamp, trying to make noise to attract…whatever. Nothing came into our light. So she then tossed bigger rocks.

Still nothing.

It was after she lit a fire arrow and shot it into the gloom that William told her to relax and he would wade in and get ready to pick the lotus. He stepped in, the cold water running under his boots, through his armor, and coating his skin beneath with its chilling slimy embrace. He found a decent cluster of them and tried to get Charlotte to join him, the thief eventually doing so but limiting herself to the closed lily pads by the shore, the water eventually coming up to her midriff.

And then the flowers started to glow purple and the two friends were pulling and yanking at the thick stalks in an effort to pull them free; first one, and then a second. Charlotte had managed to pluck a third and William was struggling with a fourth when she noticed a greenish/grey figure with a wide red crest coming up behind her fighter friend. She yelled to alert him and drew her bow, shooting an arrow at them which arced into the night and disappeared.

William was stunned into stillness, which might have changed the figure’s actions. It instead plucked the flower free just before midnight ended and held it up, rising out of the water and standing at it’s over 7’ in height.

It identified itself in sibilant Common as Bankthas, and was the Chief of his tribe. Tribe? Of lizardmen. And this was his land. Why were they here? Who shot a lit arrow into his swamp and scared his sons? Are you here to despoil his swamp like the others?

Charlotte was told to step out of his waters and if she ever entered them again he would kill her. She meekly left and stood on the road, bow at her side and watching Bankthas and William. William was able to treat with Bankthas and was allowed to leave with his swamp lotus. In exchange for the breastplate part of his armor. He gave it up (armor is cheap, life is not), promised that we had to come back again in the future for more swamp lotus he would bring a sword for Bankthas, and the two friends left – soaked, covered in slime and muck, missing half of William’s armor, but alive and with 4 of the lotus flowers.

We arrived at the Keep at a bit after one in the morning, went to the Inn where they got a bit drunk on their luck, stripped off their foul clothes and left them in the laundry basket outside the door for the morning washer women (who were going to be pissed!) and went to sleep.

They awoke late, eventually getting to Brakus’ stall at 10 AM where they exchanged the swamp lotus with the apothecist who gave them in turn the 4 elixirs and the Foulmusk poison. For the extra flower he tossed in a 5th elixir and thanked them for their efforts. He would work immediately on making more of the elixirs in the future and we hoped we would be able to do business with him again at some point.

We split up the elixirs (3 to William, 2 to Charlotte and the poison) and were going to spend the last day taking care of things around the keep before meeting Loq and Corg again on the morrow.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Meet 102, Adv 6, 12/12/15

The party has learned organically the situation in Darkenwoods/Helmian Lands and what some of the possible impediments would be along the way. Obviously they haven't even come close to arriving at the destination yet (3 days more travel?) but it gives a sort of frame on what might be waiting for them at the end of the day.

At this point we are "done" for '15 and will have our end of year dinner and one-shot game and should return either 1st or 2nd week Jan.

Write up follows

We rested at the Crossroads and met up with our new hires in the morning. Money was exchanged, packages put in order, and we set off towards the Western Wharf to talk to Bargemaster Athers. There are two rivermen who control most of the trade and barge traffic from the Helmian Lands and we had been informed that Athers was the better and more honest of the two.

We discussed the trip, our quarters on the barge, the length of time, and what cargo we were bringing (foodstuffs and ourselves). A fee was paid and we were informed that it would be 4 days to Last Town (as it’s referred to inside Darkenwoods) and the Keep there that is called Riverwatch. Meanwhile we then went to the Fartooth family (Dugan, our half-orcish linkboy) who life in the slum section of Brewersbridge nicknamed “Orc-town”.

There were 20+ of us armed and armored so although we saw a number of gang and guild signs, no one was daring to accost us at this time. We came to Fartooth’s home and met with his mom who was flabbergasted when she found out we were heading to Darkenwoods. She informed us that she was lucky enough to get out of there 12 years after the fiasco and internal fighting had gone on, the press gangs, taxes, and the heavy hand of the Wizard-Lord on the populace. We got a sinking feeling.

Coupled with some other strange rumors we had heard last night and earlier at the barges (the lord of Riverwatch is actually a thug, the people of the Helmian lands hate cats, wizardry and elves and looked on with terrible distrust) and we had a more disquieting idea of what was ahead of us. Dugan’s mom forbade him to go and Dugan said that he had made his mark and had to go. He left with us, but heartbroken and hurt – unsure of what was going to happen to him after this was all over. We assured him it would be fine and we’d look out for him. But when this was done, he should take what coins we were going to pay him and him and his mom (and brothers/sisters) should leave Orc-town / Brewersbridge and maybe move north to Shakun.

We returned to the river, boarded the barge, made out acquaintances with Captain Onvalay and set off. The weather held as the barge slowly poled its way upriver. There were no roads here, no trails, paths, or drags. The land on either side of the wide wide river was swampy and grassy, with little sign of humanoid habitation. Steiner warned us about lizardmen, but we didn’t see any. The only other people on the barge were a 3 count of merchants who wanted to arrange a shipment of stones directly from Last Town and try to save the 30% markup fee that would be gotten by dealing with a buyer in Brewersbridge.

As the days passed the western horizon became greener and deeper eventually side to side with forested trees. It wasn’t a defined line, just a slow growing and densening of the woods until we found ourselves in the “Darkenwoods” itself.

And it wasn’t dark, it wasn’t evil or foreboding or terrible. It was like any other gathering of trees, except there were miles and miles of them. Closer to the river were willows and cypress and cedar, further away we could see oak, elm, birch.

On Deathmonth the 26th, amidst the cold wind and sluggish current, our barge poled its way into the shallows and docked at the small wharf set up here at what seemed to be a working town set in the mud of the Black Water River of a dozen large buildings or so and an even larger three story stone keep. This was not a keep designed to show people your riches, it was a keep designed to defend and withstand.

We asked where to go and were told that we could get a drink and maybe a room at the tavern. Name? Vongard’s Tavern – west of the keep. We allowed the merchants to go and talk to Sir Balderi, the lord of Last Town and Warden of RIverwatch, hoping that they would put him in a good mood so he might be willing to talk to us.

We went to Vongards and got a table, rented the 4 rooms he had to spare, spoke about the amenities here (not much, warehouses, sawmill, carpenters, corger, wheelwrights, longshoremen, smithy) and pumped him subtly for information about Wizard-Lord Erazmus and the land abouts. Long and short, no one was going to let us go further west of here – Last Town was the last stop leaving the Helmian Lands and the furthest everyone gets when entering the Helmian Lands – but we were welcome to try and get Sir Balderi to give us a shot.

The merchants came back and were happy to have made a deal (10-15% in “fees” to Sir Balderi but still a profit over what they expected), telling us that the Lord of Riverwatch was in a good mood and even invited the 3 merchants to stay at his keep as guests and maybe play cards tonight. Knowing that there was a distrust of elves (we hadn’t seen any at all and had been warned, but did spot a shirtless dwarf) and the big dislike of mages, we left the people going to Riverwatch to be: Flimflam, Tranis, Steiner, and Avidius – with everyone else staying at Vongards for now.

Riverwatch was not only stout and sturdy from the outside and up close, but there were ballistae, a catapult, and crossbow wielding soldiers walking the parapets. The guards at the portcullis stopped us; checked to see if we were allowed in, and asked to make sure we left weapons here (we left them at the inn). There was a long corridor with slits and murder holes that would stop any assaulting force, another door that had to be unlocked from within, and then we found ourselves in a dining room.

From here it was a third set of doors before we could enter the central or meeting hall of the keep and meet Sir Balderi. There was a table set up here, a few guards, documents and coins, and what we assumed to be Sir Balderi. Late 40’s/early 50’s, black hair greying, thickening middle, and a presence about him that just oozed command and a shrewd mind.

As it was displayed when in a short time he poked holes in our cover of wanting to go “moose hunting” and looking for a permit. He knew of our trip up, our armament, and a rough estimation of who we are and might be. This was then a change on our part where we instead were looking at bigger game and it was revealed that there were still some Giant Cats wandering the land – but much rarer than they used to be. Giant – like 17’ at the shoulder and 30’ long, ¾ ton Giant Cats. He showed us a claw, 23” long. He would offer us a permit to hunt one down and that would give us passage beyond Last Town (for a price).

We also heard of something else, Risenwald, Giants in the Woods, that were north of here closer to Stormbringer Peak if we were feeling ambitious, but that was most likely a fool’s errand. So we paid the 20 crowns for the hunting permit, and even plunked down an additional 10 crowns to have one of his barges going upriver past Midway’s Crossing and onward to Varohelm ferry us up that way (keeping us out of the land, locals, questions, and other lords/people of Darkenwoods who might give us a problem).

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Meet 101, Adv 6, 11/21/15

There was a lot of chatting and speaking around the table, world building, not necessarily progress to a goal. The group just finished putting together their last hirelings - which brings our total party to like 16 people and 5 animal companions. Very much an old school sort of gathering! 6 PC's (druid, ranger, fighter/wizard, thief, cleric, fighter), 5 henchmen (valet, thug, lock picker, 2 warriors), 5 hirelings (2 shieldbearers, 2 porters, linkboy), plus 4 war dogs and a big assed raven.

We are now at the "end" of the known section of the party's map - 7 days hard travel from Shakun. From here, all paths lead back north and east so they are going to book a barge to take them upriver and head west towards someplace called Castle Sterling in the Helmian Lands.

However, to everyone around here - that area is merely known as Darkenwoods. And no one really goes there.

Write up follows:

The morning of the 21st had us ready to go. Vestanus signed on again as our porter and Liscinia was once more happy to join us as Shieldbearer. We went to the gem and jewelsmith first here before leaving (and Liscinia’s father) and offered to purchase all the cracked and fucked up crystals and stones he had in order to fuel a continual light spell. He sold it to us, saw up perform the miracle, and was intrigued to do this again in the future. We assured him we would be back through Heatherfield on the way home eventually and would gladly make a deal then.

As we left Heatherfield behind the land rose and fell around us, eventually a ridge of stone was on our right, echoing the map that we had recovered some time ago that might show the location of Roderick’s Skull. At the area on the map that we hoped was correct, Tranis and a few others peeled away and hoofed it up and overland to see if they could scout out the location (or possible location) of the cave that supposedly once held the goblin ambushers as well as Roderick’s skull.

They felt they had sussed it out, dared not to enter it now, and instead left a small pyramid of stones near the entrance that would do two things – identify it to us again in the future that this was the cavern of choice, and two, if it was disturbed in the future, then the cavern was an active cave and we should be careful because of it.

They ran back and the party continued on their way to the next stop – Marbledale. Situated at the foothills of the Silent Hills, this mining town was set up more like a walled keep with a firm hand on curfews, weapons allowed within, and fees to do so. We debated it with the guards and decided to camp outside the city/town walls in a makeshift camp area. A gypsy caravan family named Dagareth was heading northward and shared their fire and food with us. There was some conversation and somehow the subject came up to injuries and diseases – and one of the younger men and sons of Patriarch Dagareth was suffering from some VD. We made some deals to buy some blankets from the gypsies and went on to even offer healing. Call in Steiner and his magic hands, healing and massages, and eventually a “happy ending” that did have the cleric mutter “If he jizzes on my face, I get another blanket.” Truer words were never spoken.

We left the next morning and continued on our way south, arriving at long last at Brewersbridge on Deathmonth the 22nd at 4:30 in the afternoon. Brewersbridge was built on the shores of the Black Water River, a mighty waterway that was over a quarter mile wide, 80+ feet deep at its center, and capable of supporting the almost 7,000 people that live here. Sections of the town had been added on over time, and the relative age and remains of walls had the city sort of divided up in quadrants and sections. We progressed a bit further south nearer the river and the wharf area where we settled on staying at the Crossroads Inn and Alehouse.

The proprietor, Darrens Ekspoh, was willing to chat with us, fill us in on the difficulty in going upriver towards Darkenwoods (what everyone else calls the Helmian Lands), and even send some possible applicants looking for work our way.

So we ate, drank the local brews (all tasty!), and interviewed a number of people for another Shieldbearer, Porter, and also a linkboy. There were some good, and a few odd, in the group, but we picked: Nyssa Westfield, an early 20’s human warrior who follows Gaia and would serve as our second shieldbearer (plus we were forewarned about how she dealt with misogyny and attempted rape in her last group during night watch),  Corane Halfblood, a 30something plus homely half elf who has some carpentry skill and whittles often on his downtime (gifted us with supine statue of Aphrodite), and finally Dugan Fartooth, a 15 year old half-orc who towered over most of the party at 6 and a half feet tall and already pushing past 250. Many things lead us towards him (like he doesn’t want to set babies on fire and hold them aloft if need be) but his mother is from the Helmian Lands and we hoped to talk to her in the morning to get a feel for what we were coming into.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Meet 100, Adv 6, 11/14/15

The party decided to follow the breadcrumbs and go to Castle Sterling in the Helmian Lands and get the magical items that the former Tower Master (Cornelius for those keeping score at home) had commissioned. It's been made and stored up to 13 years ago by someone called Wizard-Lord Erazmus and was at Castle Sterling in the Vault.

Sounds like a cakewalk! It's about 11 days travel (without issue) from where we are and instead of hand waving the travel, I like to play it our day by day. You never know what's going to happen or who'll you run into.

Write up follows:

Flimflam spoke with Baron Taugis about reinstituting the harvest festival to the gods that used to be done prior to the Goblinwars and the Baron agreed, opening the coffers to help facilitate it. Meanwhile, our druid had been preparing a number of items of esoterica for his planting of the dryad acorns around Shakun. He had the surveyors travel with him to an unseen oval around the town and lands 4 miles by 8 miles. Once it was mapped out, the land was cleared on the perimeter of these circles in seven distinct spots of 100’ in diameter each. The earth was turned and churned and stripped clear of plants and grasses.

Then he gathered Castus Woodwalker and some of his former group to go with him to these locations where he performed a deeply moving and religious ceremony in which the acorns were planted along with a seven count of other items that would be considered holy to the 7 chief gods of the area. In addition, a charged Olympian Crystal was also put in place under the ground to empower the soon to be dryad and the landscape. A number of plant growths were cast which not only spurred on the growth of the acorn, but also the dozen plus other trees planted in the area, as well as all the grains that were put in place.

One by one, each day Flimflam encircled the area around Shakun with the seedlings of Davers the dryad, fertilized with his own seed, blessed by each of the seven gods, and hit with a number of consecrations and growths to cement their presence as well as spur their growth. At the end of each ceremony, he was able to lead the young dryads out of their trees where he made their acquaintance as well as those who came with him. And then he left them to get their sister planted.

And on the 8th day, Flimflam rested. We will see what his efforts would yield in time. For now, it was the start of winter, the growing season was over, and there were 7 dryads planted along an 8 mile oval encircling Shakun, bolstered with a number of other immature trees and fueled by the blessed Olympian Crystals of Demeter.

As the rains fell like sleet and the first few flakes dropped from the sky, the weather plunged to the mid 30’s and stayed there. Eventually Marcus returned from Woodhelven, exhausted and happy to be home once again. At his tower he was met by Geld who took the time to inform him of everything that had transpired to date as well as the increasing righting and cleaning of the tower. Marcus informed his henchwoman that the Council informed him he would eventually need to choose an apprentice and he had some 6-12 months to find and take one.

He released the orc warrior back to where he came from (he admitted he was a beet farmer from somewhere else) and then changed his summoning a few times until a skeleton appeared. He gave it orders to guard his tower and then went to the Hall of Heroes to meet with the rest of the group.

The work at the Hall was still progressing along, most of the 1st basement was in place and the miners were sinking shafts for the 2nd sub floor. Support beams were in place and the entire Hall had a look of barely controlled chaos about it. Everyone shared their news with one another and then we got down to discussion. We wanted to go to the Helmian Lands and this Castle Sterling as it had been identified by the Wizard-Lord Erazmus almost 2 months ago when we finished clearing Cornelius’ Tower. There were supposedly magical items just sitting there, waiting to be claimed by the tower master here – and that was Marcus.

In addition, closer to Heatherfield on the way to Brewersbridge was an area where Roderick’s Skull (a totem sought after by the mage’s guild) was lost and we had some sort of map of the area. Given how things were going to be, we might look for the cave on the way back and try to get the skull if we could.

So we made arrangements, sent missives to Heatherfield to have Liscinia and Vestanus (shieldbearer and porter) ready to join us if they were interested, and were going to leave the next day on Deathmonth the 17th at the start of the new year 183.

We had a large group as we left: Flimflam, Marcus, Erd, Avidius, Tranis, Steiner, plus Taulib, Geld, Horace, Viridia, Fermius, PLUS Whosea, Hugin, Princess, Brutus, and Ringer. The thought was that no one was going to mess with a large and well-armed and armored group. Our first stop was right after nightfall at the Roaring Treant Inn where we rested in large comfortable rooms and partook of the nights song and revelry.

The 18th had us on the road without issue where we arrived at Timberton just before sunset. Once again we procured space at the inn and grabbed another night’s sleep – this time making sure that some of our members had bedrolls, blankets, and warmer clothing for the trip.

The 19th had us travel south, out of the Ponar Woods and in the lush rolling fields that brought us to Dairymeade. The Thorpe was lively and we were made welcome at the Laughing Cow in and had the pleasure to see Mayor Cokinstock who introduced the party to fermented alcoholic milk called Kvass. It was a bit…solid…but had about 15% alcohol in it and Steiner was brave enough to try it. We were invited to stop back on the way home and get shitfaced.

The 20th had us up early and we travelled in the gentle misting rain south some more, passing the abandoned estate homes north of Heatherfield and eventually making it to the town proper. We gathered rooms at the inn closest to the Temple of Demeter and then ate, eventually meeting with Vestanus and Liscinia. Both agreed to come with us. Vestanus took a reduced payment for the next 6 days (expected travel time until we get where we need to be) but was able to get it all up front – which he gave to his wife. The goal is to earn at least 50 nobles to help pay for the last of the moving costs to bring his family to Shakun and get them situated so they look for work. Liscinia had good memories at the way we handled things and was looking forward to joining us on our way out the next day.