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.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Youth Meet 4, Adv 1, 12/26/17

The youth’s have added another player to their table, bringing the number to 5 – a perfect number as far as I’m concerned after 3 and a half decades of playing and DMing. Allows for a person to miss a session and the game to go on, a deviation from the 2 + 2 for set up of combat, and the possibility of overlapping and sharing skills and sets comes into play.

They continued their plumbing of the ground floor of the mansion and a look at the clock shows that if they left now, they wouldn’t arrive back at Saltmarsh until after dark – so the question for next meeting besides finishing up the group floor – is stay and camp or go and return?

Write up follows:

Before Deja could climb back in the hearth to look around we heard a bang from the front door and a voice yelling out, “Veldryn?! Everything ok!?” Who the hell…?

We went out to the hall to see a 6’ tall, 220 lb female half-orc barbaric looking fighter type with a humongous war axe on her back looking about, her lower tusks distending her upper lip. Veldryn was surprised as the half-orc was a druidic friend from the Karon Circle of Frey named Valerie and a friend of the elven necromancer.

From the story we got, the Druid of her circle had fostered Valerie’s innate wanderlust, inspiring the young woman to go and explore, learn of the world, and then return and share her views with the rest of the circle of how Frey’s power works in the greater world. She had heard of her friend (and her friend’s friend, Magnus the paladin) trip to Saltmarsh to take up the adventuring charter and decided to follow Veldryn and offer her aid. On arriving at Saltmarsh she was dismayed to learn that the party had already left this morning to seek out the alchemist’s mansion and see the haunting within, but set out along the marshy land until she only just arrived and heard a high pitched scream, running in to help out of need be.

Once introductions were passed around and the group felt good with one another, we went back into the drawing room and returned to both the hearth and the hidden spot, and the giant spider and the poison glands. Magnus and Deja managed to pry the stone aside and the Halfling carefully extracted a metal box some 5” x 5” x 2” with a rusted hinge. She oiled it a bit and then pried the cover open, revealing a nest of torn bedding and a wide banded iron ring with a series of shields butting up against one another along the outside.

Valerie called on Frey and revealed the ring was not only magical, but had something to do with warding. We talked briefly on the ownership of the ring and the party accepted Deja wearing it for now. The inner band was oily to the touch. When she slipped it on, the band shrunk down in size until it fit firmly on her finger with no discomfort.

As for the spider, Talion and Veldryn managed to extract the two poison glands and squeezed it carefully into a vial, sealing it with another application of wax. The last of anything noticed was by Magnus who commented that the chairs that were here had been torn and cut, but the tears were NOT 20 plus years old, much more recent, and they were not ragged like an animal’s claws, but deliberate cuts as if from a blade.

Someone had been here in the last year.

There had been little haunting so far, just a feeling of being watched and a gloomy bearing the longer the party stayed.

We went back to the hall and went to the last room, opening the door to reveal a kitchen with a stove, sink, and cabinet on the wall, a set of stairs going up to the next floor, and a door on the east wall heading elsewhere. A check of the oven was decided on first, with Deja, Valerie, and Magnus scouring the room and Veldryn and Talion watching the hall. The oven door was stuck, rusted in place, so Valerie was asked to add her strength to it…and she tore the 9’ iron door off the oven. So sorry! Don’t know my own strength!

We put the door down while looking in the oven – cold and empty. Valerie decided the iron stove door might not be a bad thing to hold on to, so into her pack it went. The cabinet was the next object to look over, so Valerie lifted Deja up so she could look it over. It wasn’t locked, so it was door open…

And the weight of the open doors pulled the cabinet away from the wall and crockery, knives, dishes, bowls and what not started falling back and away onto Deja and Valerie…who tried to dance back and shield the Halfling but instead tripped and ripped the cabinet entirely off the wall where it all fell on top of both of them amidst a hell of a lot of noise!

As Magnus went to lift the cabinet off of them and help, the two of them cut and bleeding badly, the noise and open front door attracted the attention of…a giant weasel! 6’ long, 70 lbs, sleek and chittering nastily, it stalked in to the house and fixed a beady eye on Veldryn and Talion as it stalked towards them. Talion readied his bow but Veldryn told the ranger to hold as she called on Hel to give her the power…and commanded to weasel to “leave”.

The beast paused, and then turned back, stalking slowly towards the door where it turned and went to the left. The cleric ran forward and shut the door, barring it closed and we all breathed a sigh of relief as Magnus was able to help the thief and druid up. Healing and herbalist kits came out and we managed to fix Deja’s painful wounds and a few points of damage repaired on both of them before it was time to look onward.

Before going upstairs, we went to look in the east door first. A copper boiler was near the north wall, damp, decaying, moldy; a set of stairs was across the chamber heading down to the basement. A brief check in the room and too long a few of the party members stayed, mold spores and other damp vapors robbing them of breath. Veldryn turned and succumbed, falling down and knocked out.

We managed to get back to the kitchen and Magnus laid his hands on Veldryn, curing her of the toxins with the power of Tyr. Once we were all up and better, we decided to keep the steps down on the back burner for now and finish the main floor. Before going though, we did take a glance up the steps on the second floor, seeing it was also in poor repair with a hole in the ceiling leading to the attic.

We went back to the foyer and decided to check out the west wing of the mansion first. Long hall, three doors, one on left, one on right, one at end. As the torch was beginning to sputter, Talion lit a new one and we went on our way. Decided to check out the 1st door on the south (left) and a shoulder and shove showed us a study. Most of the place was a mess of wet papers but a writing desk with a few drawers still working took up the space near the window.

Deja was on point again as she looked over the desk. No traps, drawer opened but was stuck. Valerie and her half orc muscles helping to tear the drawer out of the desk. Lots of papers, 3 years worth of receipts and purchase documents the alchemist had ordered such as chemicals and lab equipment. Veldryn and Talion were highly interested in them and shoved them in their backpack to be read later. Not much else of interest.

But before the drawer was put back in place, Deja noticed the base of the drawer did not match the height of the bottom on the inside of the drawer. Secret compartment? There was a spot along the edge for thin fingers of a blade to be inserted – and the bottom lifted out to reveal a hidden compartment with lots of padded areas for a dozen or so small ampoules – but only two were left. Deja looked them over, small tastes, touch, her knowledge of poisonry coming in handy as she let the group know these were two doses of neutralize poison. Probably the alchemist in his working did accidentally poison himself in the past and these were here to help ward off whatever toxin he exposed himself to. We took them and then left the chamber feeling good.

We went to the north door next and it was the mansion’s library. Much of it was a wet wreck many of the shelves broken and useless, but there was a stack of a dozen or so tomes in the corner that had escaped much of the decay. The group looked over them and found 3 of them useful which had Veldryn thrilled: Magical Properties of Gemstones, Magical Properties of Herbs and Flowers, and Metaphysics of Math and Magic. She perused them a bit, and a scrap of paper fell out of the third one with a scrawled message still readable…”Beyond Skeletons”.

We left the library and went to the end of the hall where the door beyond opened to the Living Room. A door lead out to a cracked overgrown glass enclosed patio and there was a pile of refuse in the corner. But before we entered, we noticed prints in the dust and dirt, shoed prints leading across the room to the north and west. Talion took care of the prints where the ended as nothing, Magnus and Deja went to the fireplace, Valerie poked at the refuse looking for anything of interest.

Talion was sure there was a secret trap door here and there was a spot to pry up a part of the floor. Valerie was once again called to help, the half-orc druid lifting…but the door held. After resting a moment, Magnus pulled out his crowbar to help. Meanwhile Veldryn called on Hel to help detect any undead…and got numerous pings below! She wanted to get down there and now, Talion was willing to appease her, but we needed the door open. So again, Valerie and Magnus worked on the door while the party hovered about…and the trap door lifted free!

And when it did, we heard a raspy cold as the grave voice cough out, “Welcome fools! Welcome to your deaths!” followed by piercing laughter. Veldryn, Talion, and Deja all turned and ran while Valerie tried to shut the trap door and Magus was shouting for them to come back. The three friends terrified hit the foyer and ran for the front door. After struggling to get it open, they trampled each other a bit and ran across the garden towards the front gate, still breathing and beating hearts. A glance back showed the mansion seemed to be staring at them, baleful lights in the top most windows like eyes.

Magnus and Valerie were running after their friends, trying to get them to stop. They got hung up at the gates and eventually Talion and Deja calmed down, physically restraining Veldryn who eventually was able to relax. Looking back the place no longer looked like eyes but Valerie still threw the 9# oven door up where it smashed through one of the shuttered windows at the attic. Nothing but tinkling glass and busted wood sounds followed.

We discussed heading back in and looking the rest of the place over (Veldryn did NOT want to go back to the living room) or risking the 4 hour trip back to Saltmarsh and try again tomorrow.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Youth Meet 3, Adv 1, 12/22/17

First time the group has left town and went on their way to the adventure (not that the town isn’t an adventure, it’s just not the focal/goal portion of the quest).

Some time was spent outside before walking in. At this point, I have to ramp up the “haunted” feel of the house a bit more. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with the group and the pace of things so far.

Write up follows:

The group talked at length about the leadership and the name eventually voting Talion the ranger as the leader and calling themselves the Tides of Valhalla – both as homage to most of their fishing village origin as well as the paladin’s deep abiding love of the heaven for courageous warriors.

The council reiterated our mission and then by 9 that morning, we were on our own. The thought was to go to Rosensteel’s Tradegoods and load up on rations for a few days, and then leave Saltmarsh with little delay. There is supposedly a long abandoned cliffside road closer to the Haunted House, but most of the trip would involve up trailblazing through swampy fens and uneven ground.

We purchased food, shuffled our packs around, and then took a trip to the Moneylender. A stone building well guarded by two dwarven warriors and further protected within by a Half-ogre with a claymore, the moneylender was a 4’ gnome called Rizle Tizle McDizzle, but call him “Mick” for short. We changed a number of crowns in for nobles and commons, a few of us getting brass as well. Mick was thrilled when Veldryn talked to him in his own language and we left there feeling good about the moneylender and comfortable that we’ll be well treated in the future.

We did talk about the haunted house and our adventure to go there, and were told that a talkative poacher named Curis Thanger would wax long about the one time he tried to sneak in the haunted house and was scared off. Works a longshoreman off a boat called the Third Heaven if we wanted to talk to him. After we were out in the street through, we decided that it was not necessary to talk with anyone else and the trip to the House will already take some time.

We walked south out of Saltmarsh, trying always to stay closest to the shore and beach of the Mastelic Ocean. The Eider Down Fens became thick within half a mile of Saltmarsh as we left the last of the hovels and peasant’s houses behinds. We had to walk back and forth often looking for better passage, slowing our trip. Eventually the time ticked past 1 and we were slowly working upslope to a series of cliffs that looked over the Ocean, 60’+ in height. We could see the dark outline of the lone mansion in the distance and by quarter after one, we had arrived at the locale in question.

It stands at the top of a cliff, 70’ above the surf and ocean, maybe 80’ back from the cliff. A partially collapsed stone wall encircled the place, 6’ in height where it still was functional; an iron gate partially hanging on rusting hinges blocked the entrance. As for the mansion, 35’ tall, heavily gabled, black windows shuttered – the entire edifice looked foreboding. Deja entered through a gap in the wall first, testing the garden beyond. The grasses were over 2 feet tall, plants, roses, flowers, and vegetables had grown wild in the last 2 decades, twined about amidst burrs and scratching weeds. But nothing was here except the sensation of being watched from the house itself.

Satisfied it was ok, she motioned the rest of the group through, Magnus going first. The paladin sadly knocked part of the weak wall over and fell into the garden amidst lots of noise and fallen mortar and brick. Deja looked at him with contempt, satisfied that any chance of surprise we might have had, should we need it, was now gone. After getting up, Magnus cleared the way and Talion and Veldryn followed.

The thought was to circle the house first, keeping closer to it, and see if there was anything in the grounds we needed to look at and concern ourselves with first. We went counter clockwise, staying in the shadow of the mansion as we looked around with care. That was the remnants of a few apple trees in poor condition, and a large weeping willow that had been partially uprooted but still alive and growing. But beyond it, close to the rear quarter of the mansion, was a 5’ well with the house collapsed, a bucket chain going down into the gloom.

The thought was to pull up the chain which was rusted but functional; a 2 gallon wooden bucket on the end. It was not in the best of condition and did leak, but was serviceable should we need it. A set of iron rungs went down the side of the well. Talion and Veldryn offered to go down and check it out, the water level looking like it was 15’ below the surface.

While the ranger did get closer to the water, Veldryn called on Hell and summoned a globe of light which she placed in the water, illuminating its 3’ depth. But while hanging there, Talion failed to notice a long snake emerge from a crack in the wall and bite him on the arm! The fangs got stuck more on leather and bracers, not piercing to his flesh. But the ranger was just as quick, tearing a dagger free and stabbing it into the snaked spine and tearing down, ending at its heart with a single critical assault! Veldryn helped Talion extract the now dead snake from the wall – 12’ long! Seeing there was nothing else down here, they climbed up and laid out their find for the others to see.

Deja and Veldryn then spent some 10 minutes cutting back the snake’s jaw and pulling the flesh out until they arrived at the poison sacks. With exaggerated care, the cut the full venom sack free and Deja deposited the liquid in one of the priest’s empty vials, sealing it with some wax. The thief was sure the venom was somnolent, whoever would get it in their bloodstream would eventually fall asleep. Talion took the vial for now, and Magnus thought the use of poison was not worth our time.

We did keep on keeping on, circling the rest of the house and coming back to the front door. We approached and after making sure the door wasn’t locked, put shoulder to the door and pushed our way in. The entrance hall had a set of stairs on the left going up to a balcony and 2nd floor while three dark passages in the dusty cobwebby gloom led off to the east, west, and north wings respectively. The smell of decay and the groaning of the ancient timbers were all we heard mixed in with the cool ocean breeze blowing through the doorway.

A brief discussion followed and we opted to go north wing first. After crossing the room and seeing the dim corridor beyond, Talion lit a torch and we looked. The north passage went some 15 paces or so and turned to the right, a door on the right, left, and at the end of the visible passage was seen. We travelled along, Deja looking for locked doors and Talion keeping a weather eye out for traps. None so far. At the end of the passage, the corridor turned to the right and went some 30 feet, ending at what seemed to be a door that led outside and presumably to the gardens.

The group opted to check out the left door first. Magnus managed to open it after Deja declared it trap free, and we could tell it was a dining room at one point. A massive table with no legs, a few broken chairs, and a pile of busted crockery and china from the broken shelves of the cabinet in the corner. Deja checked the east stuff out and Magnus took point on the table – but at the end of the day, there was nothing here and we left the chamber.

We went across the hall to the right door and after assuring ourselves it wasn’t trapped or locked, opened it up to reveal a drawing room. Two stuffed arm chairs that someone looked like they had slashed some time in the past, broken table, and a pretty large fire place. We entered and looked around with caution. There was a whistling coming from the fireplace and a look up showed that the flue was closed, keeping the wind and rain out for the most part. The wood box was empty, but there was a set of iron fireplace grates in the middle of the hearth.

A check in the chimney showed that up near the back wall was a displaced stone, not an uncommon spot to hide something if need be. Deja was asked to come forth and give it a once over before anyone opened it but when the Halfling entered the fireplace and glanced up on the other wall, there was a big spider perched there about the size of a beagle! She ran back, the group was not anxious to go and brave the spider and didn’t want to attempt to remove the displaced stone in the back of the fireplace without taking the spider out first.

A plan was hatched where Deja would ready an arrow, fall back INTO the hearth looking up, and shoot the spider swiftly from 4’ away – while Magnus would hold Deja by the ankles and pull her out as soon as the shot went off. Everyone seemed ok with this plan but Deja, however the Halfling didn’t have much choice as she was helped into place and Magnus already held her ankles. She fell back, looked up at the spider, and fired.

The shot went true, and went up to the fletching in the spiders midsection, raining gore and juices down on the Halfling who was screaming and sputtering – followed by the spider actually falling on top of her! She kicked and rolled free, the spider’s legs curling up into one another as her one shot killed it outright. Once the excitement ended, Veldryn and Talion was hoping to extract the spider’s poison glands like they had done the snake while Magnus and Deja were determined to head back to the hearth and see what, if anything, was behind the stone up in the wall.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Youth Meet 2, Adv 1, 12/9/17

We spent a large portion of the early hour plus going over the character sheets that they had in front of them, touching on the first page to the last – there is a lot of information – and how it comes up in game play.

So this meant that as for “adventure” time, it was a bit short – for all people involved. But they had some town adventure time and have been following the tiny bread crumbs as to some of the power and underground elements of Saltmarsh – that they don’t NEED to know, but it doesn’t HURT to know. It’s only going to help out later on when these elements and threads all coalesce as the adventure goes on and moves to the next one.

The next meeting, unless something crazy happens, should have them at the haunted mansion and the struggles they will have there.

A copy of the Adventuring Charter has been included for the youths to review during the down time and assign a name and leader - plus come up with any questions that need to be answered next meeting.

Write up follows:

The decision after leaving Sir Archibald’s Demesne was to return to the Saucy Winter Wench and relax before meeting with the council itself on the morrow to get our charter. With the gathering dark we walked through the quieting streets of Saltmarsh on our way to the north end of town, noting that even though many businesses were closing for the night, the docks and longshoremen were still up and working as long as boats kept coming in.

The cool night air was in contrast to the warmth coming from the Wench and upon entering, a group of card playing gamblers immediately started berating the group for “leaving the damned door open. Foreigners and tourists…gotta know their place,” and other grumbling. We made our way past the tightly packed tables, dismayed to see the Common Room had filled up and no tables were available. There seemed to be some counter space so we made our way to the bar and noting that there was one seat short, picked the more drunk of the two at either side of the clear spot and after rousing him, pointed to the blowhard who had cursed at us upon entering, saying that guy was starting trouble with him.

The bleary eyed drunk asked, “Who? Rory?” to which we replied, “Yeah! Him!” So the drunken guy, identifying himself as Durshan, grabbed his copper mug and asked the bar back “gimme the damned equalizer unner the bar! Now!” He took hold of a leather handle wrapped 18” stout length of hickory and made his way across the Wench to the longshoremen and their card game.

Magnus tried to convince Durshan to come back, and this was a mistake, but the rest of the group held the paladin in place, forced him to sit there and just don’t do anything, and to say nothing. During the altercation with Magnus, we missed most of the middle section of Durshan and Rory’s argument, but it was apparent on its completion the Durshan had received the short end of the stick. He was on the ground, bleeding from the forehead, the truncheon in Rory’s hand, and the Longshoremen wet from spilled beer.

They scooped up Durshan, Rory and his friends, and tossed him out the front door after opening it with his head, coming back in the laugh and sit down for more. The group was horrified and disgusted – but seeing as they didn’t want to get on any more bad side, they said nothing and ordered food and drink.

Eventually a bar wench came out looking for Durshan and after directing her towards Rory, she went over there and the two of them had words, Rory looking sheepish, then the wench went out and we glimpsed her helping Durshan off the street and somewhere else.

After eating, the feeling was to go upstairs, use the bath and rest. Magnus was first, anxious to get the road grit off his body, but there was a Halfling at the landing here, hands out and asking for a “few bits or a common to get something to eat.” Veldryn was taken by the young Halfling identified as Senad and helped him back down the stairs as his leg and foot had been injured, according to him, at a warehouse job he had recently.

Talion did not trust this Senad and watched from a distance, Deja doing the same. Veldryn bought the Halfling a meal and a drink and learned that Senad had been victim of Rory as well, the longshoreman shoving a pallet over so the barrels would slide off and hurt the Halfling. Now that he couldn’t work, he was sleeping in doorways and alleys, begging for food and drink. Veldryn offered to heal him up a bit after the meal.

Deja meanwhile had checked on Magnus who was enjoying his bath, and had no problem with his nudity, letting it all flop out. The thief was blushing and offered to get some towels, running away to get some from Pettis while Veldryn and Senad went up the stairs to the room – and they saw Magnus and his…comfortable stance. Veldryn healed Senad, the halfling very thankful, and then Deja came back with towels and gave them to Magnus who proceeded to dry himself vigorously.

During all this, Talion had noted that Veldryn had paid the tab for Senad with her own pouch, taking a gold crown out to make the payment. The coin had been noted from others in the bar and being a keen observer of people, waited and watch. One of the wenches, blond hair and blue eyed, left her normal rounds and went to one of 4 shadowy booths in the back roped off section of the tap room where she spoke briefly to two men who then left the Saucy Winter Wench and the serving girl went back to her normal rounds.

Talion found out her name was Odifys, 19, with a kid, and used to be a Dusthead; someone who would partake of a habit-forming hallucinogenic. She was clean for the last year and the barkeep was happy to employ her. As for the booth, it was a private booth owned by Iran Hamanar of Umbarian Tradegoods, and would often be utilized by his employees or even Hamanar himself should he come in. The group all reconvened at the room and shared what we’ve learned. Veldryn seemed to want to shelf the town info for now and reminded the group we were meeting with the council in the morning.

During the night though, something startled both Deja and Veldryn awake. The Halfling thief looked about and her concerns about the locks and hinges on the door were supported as she could see the deadbolt slowly turning back. She vaulted out of bed and made her way to the door, noting a shadow under the door that could be 2 feet standing there. Meanwhile Veldryn awoke Talion and Magnus, getting them up but quiet.

Something must have spooked the intruder though because they backed away from the door, and to Deja’s hearing, were moving towards the stairs. She motioned the group to stay, opened the door on silent hinges, and saw the tail end of a human sized broad shouldered man in basic clothes and hooded leather cloak making his way down the steps. With silent feet and sticking to the shadows, Deja sprinted to the landing and looked through the bannisters to watch the man cross the mostly empty Common Room and walk out the Saucy Winter Wench. Before he left though, on his right arm, clad in forest green, was a brass armband with a squid design on the front, visible as he reached for the door and stepped out into the night.

Getting back to the room, we shared our information and then shut and locked the door, stacking some footlockers in front of it. Deja recommended strongly that we go to the moneylender in town tomorrow and get some of our coin traded in for smaller denominations.

We did awake eventually, broke our fast, and then got ready – heading off to the Council House where besides Sir Archibald there were 4 other members of the council there. They presented us with an adventuring charter that we signed off on and learned we would need to pick a group name as well as a leader for filing purposes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Meet 34, Adv 4.1, 12/2&9/17

There was some wrap up on the 2nd where we did character advancement for those that went up, and the same for the 9th. So the actual game play was lots of Larping and lots of bookkeeping, mixed in with some moving along.

The biggest takeaway was the shelving of the main party's characters and the assumption of what has been affectionately referred to as "the B team". At character creation, everyone rolled up two characters and the assumption was they would bounce them back and forth, try them out, and by the time we arrived at the Terror Dungeon, we'd each have a decent roster to choose from for delving purposes.

What happened though was everyone falling in love with one character and staying with them except for a little dabbling here and there. Since everyone is going up though, this is an opportunity for the B team to do their thing and try it out. But it's a 2 level swing down for most everyone and there is some growing pain as they realize how woefully ill prepared the B team is for their time out in the world.

Write up follows:

The party arrived eventually back at camp where we spent some time catching the Bailiff and the Reeve up on what happened at the warren as well as the subsequent issues with Girgym, Lysil, and Dunatis. They were stunned and a moratorium was placed on wandering the lands after nightfall unless at the utmost necessity. The Bailiff was pressing the party if they could arrange a meeting between Dunatis and his circle and orcs and the House Illytch representatives for a mutual beneficence but it was explained at length that the druid wanted nothing from us and was offering nothing in return.

We then caught the rest of the party up on what happened and the decision was that with one warren down, it would be a good time for half the party to return to Sorton and train while the other half stayed and helped in watching the harvesters and possibly hunt down the next warren.

The caravan arrived on the 15th early in the afternoon and besides the normal accoutrements and supplies, there were two people: a dwarven cavalier named Lieutenant Hjalgrim Jarlborrin (yes, THAT Jarlborrin – related to the High Thane herself), and a Halfling thief and bundle of giggles named Sybil. It turns out that House Illytch had been offered a sizable sum (43 CROWNS) to hire and send Hjalgrim and his friend out to the Base Camp and add them to the roster. There was some push back from the party but it described as a fait accompli situation and since we were not fielding a team of 12 – House Illytch could either reduce our pay or we could accept these 2 new members with little complaint.

We took the 2nd choice. Darius and Hjalgrim knew one another, and it appeared that Darius was happy not to deal with Hjalgrim as he was heading back to Sorton. Connal followed, and then Negan – no one wanted to stay and talk to the dwarven cavalier – so he had a captured audience with the half of the group staying behind – which was now: Dizzy, Merica, Thalin, Hjalgrim, and Sybil – with Einar still nursing his way out of his illness and Bobkins as a possible fill in should we be REALLY really desperate.

Donna Duncarian came and spoke with the group, catching the new members up with what has gone on to date so far. As for K’Morat kobolds, there was been no sightings for the last 2 days; ever since the first warren had been destroyed. We do not know if the warrens do communicate but it seems they might since the other two tribes haven’t approached the Base Camp or the harvesters for 2 days. As to whether this was a reprieve or some longer impact of time, we had no way of knowing yet.

Hornes and Spunifer came to us next, Hjalgrim flat out telling the orcish leader that he looked foolish with the antlered helm. He did agree that Barb was most likely a bitch and we talked about the kobold signs and / or lack of them. After getting our fill from the Randari Rangers, we discussed our options and plans.

Referring to the map, there is a clearing and bend in the river a few miles upstream from here. After we go and guard the Harvesters, the party would take a trip to this area, see if the river could be forded here, and then follow the Enderlyn back to the Base Camp.

The morning of the 16th was cool and crisp, and we joined Thiklish (who Hjalgrim rankled immediately the wrong way) and her Harvesters up Furtham’s Peak to the 5,000 foot mark along the northern slope where a patch of 5 Firvin’s Cap mushrooms had been located. While the Harvesters did their job, they stayed local and looked for any trouble or kobold-sign. Dizzy and Sybil were walking picket in an ever widening circle, crossing each other’s path many times to make sure they didn’t miss anything.

Nothing. No kobolds and no sign of them. Three days of nothing.

By 12:15 we were back at Base Camp, dropping the Harvesters off. The group of 5 of us went back out, heading north, northwest and getting promptly lost in the dense woods and slopes of the northern ridges. We pushed out for the highest elevation we could find, learned we had ventured some 2 miles off course, and then bee lined it down slope and in the direction of the glittering silver band of the river.

We were shadowed by wolves, and although we had been briefed by the rest of the party about Dunatis, the wolves didn’t come close and neither did they try to communicate with us. We eventually left them behind and made our way to the water’s edge. Sure enough, the river had narrowed here but even at 80’ or so, it was moving at a rapid pace and we didn’t think it was fordable at this point. Further down river it turned more to the south and widened out, so we figured we’d follow the Enderlyn and see if there was a fordable place over there.

But we had not accounted for the time and the light grew dim as the sun dipped behind the mountain peaks. While walking we were instructed by orcish voices to stop and were charged a stipend of 26 nobles per person to continue on our way. There were over a dozen orcs in the woods here, armed with various bows and we assume other weaponry but we just COULDN’T SE ETHEM! Ugh.

Very begrudgingly we paid the toll and continued on, stumbling in the gathering gloom until we arrived at the walls of Base Camp by 7:30ish. Once within, we went to the Mess hall and got something to eat and drink, Hjalgrim talking a shower and then joining us with his slippers and pipe. Slippers? Who was this guy?

Ok, we know our limits and wandering the wilderness with no direction was not a good choice for us. The decision was that for the next we days, we go out with the Harvesters as normal and see if any K’Morat make their presence known. We would be vigilant and hyper-aware, knowing that even though we couldn’t see them, we knew in our hearts they were out there waiting.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Youth Meet 1, Adv 1, 11/25/17

So the youths have a new campaign and during the weekend near my daughter’s 15th birthday, she asked me if we could have a longer than usual get together – 6 hours. The youths spent some time rolling up new characters while I explained some of the inherent differences between B/X and my own 1st/3.5 amalgamation.

For the youths I’ve rewound the rule set to be a bit more 1st edition heavy. Ability scores – right out of the 1st edition handbook, including percentile strength. Class skills – right out of the 1st edition handbook – as written, no power creep. As for everything else, 3.5 saves, BAB to hits (no THACO’s), skills and crafts, feats, and similar the like.

Since we are playing “for real”, I have planted them on my map and world in the Barony of Dilabria, the County of Reet, at the shores of the Mastelic Ocean and in a Norse inspired area. One member showed up late but we fast tracked him through character creation and the group ended up with:

Human Male Paladin to Tyr
Human Male Ranger to Loki (bounty hunter background)
Female Half High-Elf/Half Drow Cleric to Hel (product of drow raid, emphasis on necromancy)
Female Tallfellow Halfling Thief praying to Loki

Wove in the background and situated them in place. They are going to go through a skeletal framework of Saltmarsh that will deviate off the adventure’s rails in almost no time.

Write up follows:

Veldryn was born a bit over 3 centuries ago to a High Elven healer who had been the victim of a Drow raid near the city of Glowerspire. Upon her birth there was concern that the child would exhibit drow characteristics and although her hair was white and eyes red, her skin was as alabaster as any High elf’s could be.

The violence of her conception and the frenetic period of her birth had unhinged Veldryn’s mother’s mind and she was sent along with her daughter far to the north and east to live with a small commune of healers near the Elvenwoods, south of the Windy Peak Mountains. She grew up amongst dwarves, elves, and humans who treated the young girl with respect and a bit of pity with the crushing mental abuse her mother would often subject her daughter to. Her raping was mentioned often, and her distrust of people would make her become shrill and unapproachable often.

When the great Reetersbeard dwarven migration occurred, Veldryn’s mother moved her and her daughter to the healing houses of Huntington, “just for a change”. Then it was a move to Windressa 2 decades later, then Dragonhole after a few decades, then Bandit Hills, then Dilabria, and so on. Ever moving and taking her daughter with her regardless of the girls’ interests.

After they arrived in Karon, a small fishing village north of the Eider Down Fens, Veldryn, already approaching her 3rd century informed her mother that she would NOT be moving again and began to distance herself from her odd parent. She took to working with the healing houses on her own, helping to cure the sick and tend to the wounded. It was when a bad case of Redcough had swept the village and the plaguedoctors had finally made it to the fishing village to tend to the townsfolk that Veldryn’s life took a turn.

One of the plaguedoctors was a Speaker for the Dead, a skilled and capable priest of Hel who talked to Veldryn about her duties as a physiker, but also what position Hel has in the great scheme of things and how the passage of death isn’t to be feared, but to be spoken of. Discussed in such a way to remove the negative stigmata of death. Veldryn was hooked. She spent much time afterwards learning from the Speaker and others who would come and visit Karon, taking pilgrimages to Flat Rock to read the ancient texts and pray at the menhirs that depicted Goddess of Nifelheim.

And her piety paid off in time. Hel first started answering her prayers in small ways, globes of light in the dark, a comforting voice at night. Then her powers grew and the Speaker for the Dead ordained her as a follower of Hel and priestess with all the rights due to her. When her mother wanted to leave and head south to Eider or Principia, “just for a change” Veldryn, now a touched priestess, broke ties with her mother who screamed, shouted, and harangued her daughter; hurling her violent conception at the girl’s face before cursing her to “misery and ruin!” and leaving.

Veldryn was heartbroken but threw herself into her work and decided not to feel that weak ever again, taking up the mantle of warrior-priest of Hel and training herself in weaponry as well as her god’s wishes.

Magnus had lived his entire live in Karon and to him it was the center of everything. 516 people fishing and plying the ocean, trade caravans coming from far flung places; it was a place of honorable people doing honorable work. What was the most interesting to the young man were the knights who would pass through during the tournament season. Outfitted with steed and armor, gleaming spears in the sun, pennants and tabards in glorious color. The shining example of nobility and chivalry to all.

For Magnus though, a fast young man with deep chest and wide shoulders, he would spend his time at the militia and training yards, sharing his letters with the soldiers there and acting as a live training target for them during their sparring matches. He learned swiftly how to take a blow and how to dodge them. He grew to understand the basics of shield play, became cognizant in different weaponry, and could be trusted to be a gracious winner as well as loser in whatever bouts he fought in.

He struck up a friendship with the strange white-haired elven priestess, sharing her stories of Hel and her own life with his own interest in the other Norse gods especially Tyr, the one handed god of justice. They had an easy friendship that brought Magnus from the awkward teenaged years into his early 20’s with nary a hiccup.

Many a time Magnus would be joining Veldryn at the Hospice, tending to the wounded and the sick. Most everyone knew that young Magnus was a man to be trusted; a man who exemplified everything that he felt a knight should be regardless of his less than affluent background. But strange things began to happen when Magnus was about. Some young girl who had a terrible cough was much improved after Magnus had tended to her. Some days later while helping a physiker set a fisherman’s broken arm it was discovered the arm didn’t seem as bad off as originally expected. Then there was the aura of fearlessness that he exuded in addition to the sensation that people got of being at peace when in his presence.

It was the arrival about a year ago of a contingent of Tyrian holy men who traveled almost 2 weeks from Cymbarton to meet with Magnus that the truth was revealed. Magnus, for reasons only Tyr knew, was a selected champion of Tyr and a paladin. The news shocked the town of Karon who took the news well and shared it long and wide that one of their own, a fishing village on the back waters of the barony, had one of its very own as a paladin. He was invited to return to the Capital but Magnus demurred, saying that he could do more in Tyr’s name here that he could far from home.

So the friendship between the paladin of Tyr and the white necromancer of Hel might have seemed odd to others, but was natural to Magnus and Veldryn.

Deja was the 8th of 10 halfling children whose parents were jolly and well meaning merchants situated in Dilabria. While most of her brothers and sisters were happy to be a part of the Thistledown Merchant House, finding jobs and places within the organization, Deja was disillusioned. Smart, capable, dexterous, charming, she instead took to petty pilfering, games and dice, drink and weed; smoking often late and making friends in “low” places.

Her father tried, long and often, to redirect his unwilling daughter to better choices and honorable pursuits but it was difficult to rein her in. First it was money, then favors, then payoffs to the watch. It didn’t matter; Deja would do well, straighten out, and then fall off the wagon weeks or months later and need to be helped once again.

Deja had been running with a group of unguilded rogues and thieves on a number of jobs and petty thefts around Dilabria when her group was caught up by the Dragoons (County Guards and Rangers) and had to flee. She had been making her business to align her fortunes with the stronger and more capable fighters and scrappers, knowing her skills to martial matters were a bit lacking. But her companion was felled by a truncheon to the head and Deja barely escaped through an open street drain, the watch hot on her trail.

She had not only been caught red handed, but identified by name. Dilabria was no longer a home and she would have to flee and do it soon. Since her thieving had not landed here in a guild as of yet, she had no protection in that direction. And her father had flat out told her that if this happened again, she would go to stocks, jail, hard labor, or even the gibbet – he was done.

She dug herself out of the sewers, snuck into her family’s home, took what belongings she could as well as coins, and then fled out of Dilabria heading north on the back of a turnip wagon – her friends, family, and life behind her for now.

She ended up in Flat Rock where for a few days she worked at the local tavern sweeping floors and pilfering loose Bits and Commons when able to. She was miserable, unhappy, and alone. Her life was going to need to change and she needed a direction.

It was while she was here that a group of Umbarian Slavers had come in and strode right up to a travel worn ranger who was at a table near the fire, a man bound in manacles at his side. The slavers pointed to the bound man and demanded that he be released to their custody as he was an escaped slave from Principia.

The bounty hunter stood slowly, hand on the hilt of his dirk, and produced his papers to the angry slaver, attesting that he was well within his rights to apprehend this FUGITIVE and suspected murderer, returning his to Twark. At just under twenty, the bounty hunter whose name was Talion, would not back down; citing rule, cipher, and edict that his bounty was more legal than their questionable claim of escaped slave. If was a tense standoff and Deja decided there to lend her aid to Talion, sneaking up to the secondary slaver and placing her own poignard against the man’s spine causing him to stiffen with concern.

The slavers, seeing the mood of the tavern turning and the resolution of Talion, willingly stood down but the slaver gave Talion a piercing threat that he would rue this decision as some point in the future. They left and the mood lightened.

Deja and Talion greeted one another, shared a few pints, and by the night were fast friends. She left with Talion the next day on their way to Twark where he received his bounty and decided that they were going to lay low for a while. The slaver’s guild did not have much sway, but there were many of them and it was best to hide out for the time being than further antagonize them. They hopped on a caravan that headed off to Karon and decided it was a perfect place to set up home for the time being.

Talion wanted to keep his skills honed and often trained with the militia, befriending the town’s shining prodigal son, an honest to Loki paladin named Magnus. Within time, the ranger, paladin, cleric, and thief bonded together, performing small jobs for the Mayor and helping out the townsfolk where needed.

But Karon was a small pond and the four friends after six months decided they wanted to bite off something meatier. That was when some fishers and traders from down coast came with stories that the Council of Saltmarsh was looking for adventurers to help out with an important matter. The foursome discussed it and decided it was a worthy job. So they gathered their belongings, bid farewell to their friends and neighbors, and booked passage on the Jolly Frog as it was making the day and a half run south down the coast to Saltmarsh.

It was an uneventful trip and within time the sturdy sloop arrived at the seaside large town. Surrounded by the Eider Down Fen, the town itself was built on mounded up earth and raised wooden posts and walkways. A sturdy quay stuck out into the Mastelic Ocean taking up most of the shore line. Six different major docks were home to many smaller and larger boats. The shore was a mass of small rounded stones and broken shells.

Upon docking, they left the Jolly Frog and made their way to the town proper where they met the Wharf master Kurly Ludbrook, a stout dwarven male with a clipboard and clay plate. They spoke at length as to who they were (Kurly had heard of Magnus the Tryian paladin and was welcomed) and our interest in meeting with the council for some help.

We were directed to get a room at the Saucy Winter Wench, an Inn west of the docks just past the cooper, and as for the council, perhaps Sir Archibald Regurin would be the person to talk to; he had a Demesne on the south end of town. We thanked Kurly and strode the raised platforms of Saltmarsh. There were many warehouses and businesses about, and we could see that homes and apartments were situated above some of them.

The Saucy Winter Wench was a two story affair with a wraparound porch and the smell of ale was strong even out here. We entered; the Common Room was sizable, able to house a hundred, hundred and fifty with ease. Some women of ill repute were along the edges and a four count of wenches were plying the floor and tables. A set of stairs on the far end of the room went up to the second floor where a minstrel was strumming a lute. There was a hearth and fireplace and a long bar where two barkeeps were working the taps.

We made our way through and were directed to talk to the Inn keep in the back where we made our way through the throng. A heavy set brassy haired woman with questionable hygiene was here and with a guttural voice identified herself as Pettis. We bargained for a room, getting a larger one on the second floor with a bath. We also learned of a few traders we could go visit to get outfitted, taking Uri Rosensteel of Rosensteel’s Imported Goods as a place to go and visit.

We went to our room, had the page fill the tub for us, left some soap, noted where we would sleep and rest, and then locked up and took to the streets. Traveling south at the next block we went to Rosensteel’s and spend some time purchasing armor, arms, and some equipment for our hopefully soon to be adventure.

We left at 4:30 and continued south, climbing up the hill to a stately manor along the shore, overlooking the ocean. We were stopped at the gate and announced who we were, waited to get admitted, and then had an audience with Sir Archibald himself. At almost 60, he was one time a squire and knight, getting thick with years and good food. A landholder of some repute, there were 4 other council members and he would meet with them tomorrow to make sure we were accorded a charter.

There was a manor house some 4 miles south of town where a disgraced alchemist and wizard of some repute had lived 20 years ago. He had been working on an enslaving mind control potion when he had died with no heirs to speak of. His Esquire handled the ending of his affairs but the place had an evil reputation and those who would go there spoke of strange noises, lights, and terrors that would consume them. So the place was left alone; an eyesore some distance from Saltmarsh and forgotten by many.

But recently there have been more odd lights and a few who have dared to brave its grounds have left with strange screams chasing their running feet. The Council wants the matter resolved and the place investigated. We accepted the job, the promise of some payment in the future good enough for us for now.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Meet 33, Adv 4, 11/18/17

There were three main reveals this meeting in regards to the Morat lands currently wild and lawless denizens. No obvious civilization, but the land is filled with powers and competing blocs of power.

The first was Girgym, the Frost Giant. Besides being a follower of Thrym, he was also a benefactor and patron of the K'Morat Warren that the group had been working on - the shaman within also a follower of Thrym. The party had the chance to encounter Girgym under brief and short circumstances where he beat one member into unconsciousness, tossed a second member 52' feet across a field, and then picked up a tree and slammed it repeatedly in the warren entrance stuffing it up before storming away.

The next was a wandering monster resolution which resulted in four...FOUR Vampires! Being it was historically an orcish land, the vampires are Orcish and the leader of them is a charming rogue named Lysil - who didn't want to kill the party, only wanted to feed from them for him and his hungry crrew - would have been 4 people losing a level. Instead, our half-orc took the hit and we now know of a 2nd dangerous enemy out here.

The last was Dunatis, a 12th level orcish druid and his tribe of similar making a circle. We know of only 3 so far, but the suspicion is there are more. Dunatis isn't against the Sorton-ites or the party as they have been respectful of the lands so far - but he and his circle aren't necessarily on the party's side either as evidenced by our conversation with him. We do know though that he is a source for "good" (neutrality?) out here that isn't necessarily out to hurt the group or screw them over.

Write up follows:

Barb found herself disarmed while she was struggling with the K’Morat who were snarling and spitting at the death of the shaman. One was on her ankle, the other on her arm, chewing on her wrist. Avulstein managed to dispatch the one he was fighting in a furious display of wolverine critical assault, ripping shreds of the kobold to pieces. Barb was getting pissed, and raging, slammed on of the kobolds into the other again and again until she was on her knees pounding one slab of reptilian meat into the other, red chunks all over the place.

The fight over we all reconvened, shared some healing, and then checked the place over while more bodies were stacked up to block the hall behind us. There were some boxes and two of them had squat brown cakes with what seemed to be hard brown icing. Odd, we took them though and then cast a new light spell, heading north.

The hall had a pit trap in it and between Barb and Negan; we didn’t think much of our chance to get through. So Connal and Barb dragged the cover off and then jammed it from floor to ceiling, blocking the hall for the time being. We then went BACK one room, moving the bodies we had stacked there out of the way and instead dragged them across the chamber and blocked another hall here.

We had seen some lights some time ago down the northern passage out of the kitchen but as of now, only a single steady candle flame was lit. We went down the hall slow until arrived at the chamber. There was a butchery table on the north wall with a single candle flame, opening on the west wall of the south east corner; floor had a serious gooey layer covering 85% of the chamber. Connal went first, staying out of the goo heading to the corridor to the west, Avulstein and Barb following, Negan and Darius holding back for now.

While crossing the corridor to some other room beyond, Connal fell through a pit here but managed to twist in such a way that instead of falling on the spikes within, he only happened to get scrapped by one – and didn’t contract Kobold-Aids! Once over to the other side, Avulstein waddled along and then Barb followed as well, staying on the edge of the pit. Negan and Darius headed to the pit but did not cross for now. Centius was still in the hall.

The room here was a seraglio, covered in pillows, cushions, and other drapery as well, an opening on the south wall led off towards the room we had fought the shaman in. There was an altar on the north wall with the same blue/black bearded face painted behind it that we had seen elsewhere. Avulstein detected magic, seeing 4 amorphous shapes in the pillow area. He headed to one and up sprung from cover and invisibility was a K’Morat soldier in tight armor and wielding a knife blade that stabbed into the wolverine.

Paralyzing our necromancer for the next 6 hours.

Three other kobolds emerged invisibly, also armed with knives and tried to assault Barb and Connal. At the same time, the corner of the butcher chamber on the north east side of the chamber slid open and flatbow wielding kobolds shot at the Half-Ogre and our slinger – one of them shooting the table with the candle – disturbing it, and dropping the candle to the ground. Where it ignited from whatever oily goo the kobolds had prepared across its surface earlier. Finally a four or five count charged down the hall and tried to get past Centius who finally animated and defended himself with his axe.

Barb and Connal were trying to fight the two kobolds on uneven ground and avoid getting scratched by the poisoned knives while Negan was struck by a bolt, slipped backwards…and fell into the spike lined pit. Unlike Connal though, the half-ogre hit the spikes hard, three of them puncturing his body, one of them actually tearing his left eye out! Darius let fly back at the flatbow wielders, his sling tearing open throats, knocking heads, and crushing chests as he sent back a hailstorm of half pound missiles. The Kobold’s did manage to inflict minimal wounds but Darius didn’t let anyone get to escape as he refused to let anything come out of the hole.

Negan healed himself, couldn’t fix his eye, but did use his shield to flatten every spike in the pit so he could stand. Centius was dispatching kobolds at pretty much one every 30 seconds, the warriors not doing any more than superficial damage to the zombie. After a few of them had been killed, the last few turned and fled and Centius once more grew still.

The flames had died down and Barb and Connal managed to kill off the last K’Morat here. They took the two knives that hadn’t struck anyone and put them aside for now. We shuffled Avulstein back across the pit to Darius who went to the hall and coaxed Centius out and into the butchery room where the undead orc then took Avulstein’s paralyzed form and held him in his arms while standing there.

Good enough for us.

Negan stayed in the pit, happy to actually be able to stand, and Darius went back to Barb and Connal who were looking over the room with a keen eye. Barb went to the north wall near the painted shrine area and began hitting it – and instantly discovered a blocked up concealed entrance. We chipped away at the opening revealing a plank of wood some 5’ tall, 3’ wide, and there was some noise behind it. We suspected kobolds, the clutch guards for the eggs.

The fastest pull, peer, and replace showed two of them, with lit Molotov and spears. Darius prepared his own and on the count of three Barb pulled the wood aside and Darius tossed his in. Dead on against the kobolds. They tried to return the favor but Barb managed to shut the opening in time and the oil splashed against the other side of the portal, again soaking the kobolds there.

We stayed until the screams had faded away and then a bit longer before finally moving it aside and looking. The opening was narrow – 4’ tall, 1 ½’ wide oval shaped, and the chamber beyond had some 80 odd leathery kobold eggs within in clutches and nests. We looted the bodies and then smashed MANY of the eggs, saving perhaps half a dozen that we then took with us and then closed the door and put the mud mixture back in front of it for now.

We made our way back to the opening, deciding to bring the shaman with us as proof that we had killed the next, and Barb was first out of the opening – where she was snatched up by an angry 15’ tall frost giant and shaken as it screamed in her face and she was unable to understand and answer. He grew furious with her and stuffed her into a large sack he tossed over his shoulder. Negan was trying to talk to the giant in Ogre and it was barely able to answer, wanting to talk to the Shaman.

We tried to say that we were also duped by the shaman and then the mistake was made to toss the shaman’s body up there. This had the giant go apoplectic. He snatched Connal who was closest and threw him 52’ where he slammed into the ground and rolled to a stop. Barb managed to escape the bag in time and ran into the weeds while the giant, Girgym, picked up the fallen Douglas fir, and slammed it again and again into the K’Morat warren hole, the group within running backwards for their lives as the tree was forced lower and lower into the ground.

Barb was face to face with a cloak wearing K’Morat and the two of them just made “shushing” motions to one another while Girgym had a tantrum and destroyed the area. He then left South and west in a huff, not realizing Barb was no longer in the bag.

The K’Morat warrior ran off to the north and Connal and Barb spent some time digging down into the earth while Darius was digging up from below. After a few hours we all were together again, tired, battered, filthy. We ran off to the north towards our cave and once there watched as the giant returned with a rocky shrine marker that he drove into the ground where the warren once was. He then looked all about and making up his mind, started walking north east with a purpose – the same direction as base camp.


We were shot, tired, low on everything, Avulstein was still paralyzed, and it was almost nightfall, we weren’t going to beat any giant back to Base Camp now. So we settled in and decided that we’d leave first thing in the morning.

The group slept, every two hours someone taking watch near the entrance of the cave between the space set up between the two tents strung across the opening. It was a quiet night, cold and silent. But while Barb was on her watch, only the unmoving Centius as companionship, a mist was wafting in under the tent’s edge and Barb felt…cold.

“What’s going on here, chere?” was the voice next to her. Barb looked and saw an orc in an older set of ornate breastplate and armor. He was paler of skin, his voice was like honeyed wine, and there were pin pricks of fangs under his lips besides the normal tusks that orcs possess. He identified himself as Lysil and he and his companions were out in the cold when they saw the party’s fires…and they want to warm themselves by the fires.

Barb could feel herself coming under Lysil’s sway, his gaze and voice wearing her resistance down. They chatted a bit longer but when it came time to “let me and my friends in, alright?” She got control of herself and wouldn’t give them permission to enter. This made Lysil sad and asked her, “Are you sure? My companions would then seek to warm themselves by your fire. Is that what you want?”

Barb nodded her head and wouldn’t let Lysil in. But his gaze grew larger to her, consuming her vision and then she felt hot breath on her skin and she passed out.

The group awoke on their own much later than expected and found Barb near the entrance, numerous bite marks on her neck and arms, pale and tired looking, Centius nowhere to be seen. We woke her up and she was dazed but shared what happened. Vampires. Orcish vampires out here. We spent a few hours restudying, commiserating with Barb, and talking about our trip back to Base Camp.

By 11 we were done and started our trek back. It took us three hours to come back to the stone house that was on the side of the mountain lake. However, it was shoved off its base even more, lying half submerged and at a 45 degree angle in the water; many giant sized foot prints were about. It seemed the giant Girgym had vented his aggression on the house and then continued on his way. According to Barb, it appeared the giant went south around the lake – so we went north. What would we find at Base Camp?

As we made our way around the lake and up the lower slopes of the ridge south of Furtham’s Peak, the hour approaching 4, we found the same dark furred wolves that had paced us on our trip of the Enderlyn River were ahead of us. We approached with care and the wolves went off to the south and then stopped to look at us. Through some back and forth we deduced they wanted us to follow them and we did so, travelling along the ridge to the next peak area, the forest tall about us.

Eventually there were a few other wolves nearby and we were led to Girgym the giant; held in place by bent over trees, limbs, vines, and other flora in the area while he struggled and twisted and tried to break free to no avail.

Then the dark furred wolf shifted and twisted, standing upright as a feral looking orc wearing animal skins and covered in whorls and tattoos. He spoke Orcish to Barb (Avulstein translating for the rest of us). Said he was Dunatis, and a warden of these areas. Has been watching the Base Camp and their actions and seemed happy that they are not despoiling the area too much. Doesn’t choose sides but the giant was far from his home and had come here to vent his anger on the Base Camp.

The wolves and wardens had stopped him for now and were going to educate him to leave the Base Camp for now. The thought was why not kill him, and Dunatis once again reminded the party that he doesn’t choose sides. Girgym has as much right to live as anyone and he is a part of the ecosystem out here. As for what happened to Barb and Lysil, that is a big no no. Lysil is an aberration, not part of the natural world, and Dunatis and his ilk have been searching for the vampiric orc for some time.

He was able to cast a restoration on Barb, bringing her lifeforce back to “pre-Lysil” levels in exchange for some of her permanent future health. After that, he did offer Barb a bit of help in the future, giving her a wooden whistle that if blown, once only, would alert Dunatis and his group so they could run as fast as possible to help out.

We left Dunatis and his wolves, Girgym and his seething angry glare, and went on our way back to Base Camp at 4:30 PM on Firemonth the 13th.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meet 16, Adv B4, 11/15/17 - Youth Group

And it was bound to happen – TPK for the youth group. And it was at an area that I wouldn’t have expected them to wipe at (expected it to be Zargon). Came down to treating the NPC’s as deaf dumb and unmotivated – a recipe for disaster.

So it was with a heavy heart that we drew B4 to a close and in the next week or two, the youths will add one more to their table and roll up an AD&D character for their next campaign.

Write up follows:

Feeling the horror at Safir’s sudden passing and very unsure about the still active pressure plate, Vulkan cast levitation on himself and then one by one, ferried the party over the plate and through the crushing walls. We stopped at the door and spent a few minutes listening – hearing the occasion mournful yelling interspersed with constant muttering.

We debated on blasting in, looking for Kellis and Sharon, is Darius close by, hitting the room with a sleep spell. Eventually it was narrowed down to just carefully opening the chamber and peering in – making a decision AFTER we knew what was going on. Delsin took point and the door opened – revealing a very sizable chamber. There were 10 Cyndicians sitting in a circle amidst cushions, pillows, and blankets. They were wearing fanciful monster masks and were occasionally yelling as if in despairing fear now and again. Outside of glancing at the group – they didn’t move. There was a door on the north wall and one on the south wall.

We discussed it and decided to enter. Once inside we tried to talk to the Cyndicians, but for the most part, they ignored the group. One of them did get up when we were making some threatening comments, walk over to the party, stare intently at Vulkan (who had made the comments) and yelled softly in his face before heading back to the circle. At this point the Cyndician’s then all got up, congregated in the center, yelled together, and then went back to sit down, just in different positions.

Alright. Leaving them alone!

We went to the north door and listened, hearing some music, shuffling movement, and some gentle rhythmic conversation beyond. At best, we could tell more than half a dozen people in there. Before we were to make a decision, we wanted to check out the south door next.

On peering in there, we could see it was some gambling hall – poker tables, roulette wheels, etc. Maybe 12 Cyndicians in here wearing colorful animal masks playing and having a good time. However, Delsin gave a grimace as Demetrius was shouting in Delsin’s mind that across that busy room was a secret door that would lead to Darius’ private chamber. This close…t..h..i..s.. close.

We closed the door and discussed tactics on how to cross the gambling room and avoid any problem with the locals. It was here that Vulkan came up with the idea of a disguise. “We should kill three of these guys in here, like those three, and take their robes and masks.”

The moaning, muttering, and mournful wails stopped as the group of 10 Cyndicians all as one stared at the group. Then one by one, they bent down and moved the cushions aside, lifting up axes, swords, and even a couple of crossbows. Vulkan tried to levitate – but the ceiling was only 12’ tall so he didn’t have far to go. And he was shot – critically in the chest and then shot again in the stomach. He slumped over, still floating in the air while Mark and Delsin drew up lines to repel the other 8 Cyndicians who began to assault the party. There was talk of getting the hell out of here and now.

And then the north and south doors opened, and 20 more plus Cyndicians entered the chamber, also armed with swords, axes, and more crossbows. They descended on the group like a living wall, 30 of them grunting and spitting as they plied axe, sword, and quarrel against us.

Even though Vulkan wasn’t responding, a few of the Cyndicians continued to hack as his dead floating body, actually severing his leg in the wild frenzy. Mark fell next, the cleric struggling to head left and make his way to the door, cut down on three sides until he was gasping on a sword in his throat. And then it was Delsin. The Sword of Delsin swept back and forth, hewing at the Cyndicians as he tried desperately to get away, but first he was hit in the leg, then the back, the chest, the head, the arm, and finally one too many blows and the fighter fell over curled about a sword sticking out of his kidneys.

As he faded he could hear a commanding voice coming in saying something about “there’ll be no more talk of prophecy and those from outside. Hack these up and add them to the food. Send the bones down to Zargon to feed upon.” And then he faded away, Demetrius spirit sobbing the last this he heard as it muttered over and over. So close. So close.

So close.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Meet 32, Adv 4, 11/11/17

I might have mentioned it earlier but I write my adventures in advance and when it comes time to play, I do my best to stay with my initial thoughts and plans in stead of endlessly tweaking my own work. This sometimes means I've either overestimated or underestimated the party's ability.

It also means I can't take into account unforeseen circumstances.

When the boar attacked, as soon as it hit half hit points it was going to release a high pitched pressure-wave scream and blast everyone in the kitchen out of the ceiling and on to the meadow above, caving in some portions of the cave and trapping the shaman and some 20+ K'Morat still down here. The giant might or might not have been here waiting.

Of course, a well placed critical by or raging barbarian, followed by some serious devastating attacks catapulted the mutated boar past half hit point and swiftly into "dead". Making my notes for the remaining 7 or so encounter areas suspect to change.

Write up follows:

We dispensed with some healing and discussed our options. The feeling was to continue this way and press the kobolds we meet along the way. Faintly we could hear some noise at the end of the corridor but nothing definitive. So after healing was done, Connal took the lead and we followed the monastic down the passage. As he arrived at the stairs, the saw from around the corner a cauldron pot tipping over. Dancing back he ran back the way we came as the steps and floor before it were covered in steaming hot oil and water mix. The kobolds then dumped the cauldron down the steps and made to run past, but Darius was waiting and slung a stone unerringly, cracking one of the kobolds in the face, the stone blinding him and slamming him back to the wall where he fell over and moaned; dying.

We waited for the floor to clear while two other kobolds ran off to the south and then Avilstein sent Centius forward to get the dead kobold. He tromped up the stairs, got a handle on the kobold and was hit with two javelins before turning back around, then hit with two honey buckets loaded with crap, and finally heading back to the wolverine with his prize in tow.

We went back to the storage/midden area and the rest of the group wandered around the corner as Avulstein stripped the flesh from the dead kobolds, showering the place with gore (and further skuzzing up Centius). From there it was a ritual of necromantic powers as he knit negative energy into the kobold’s bones and it eventually stood up, ready to follow commands and obey.

We went back down the passage, bypassed the cauldron, climbed the now cooler stairs, checked both directions, and then went right, following the narrow corridor as it turned to the left eventually, the scent of old beer growing stronger. The passage opened to a sizable chamber that the K’Morat had prepared. There were mounded chairs, benches, stools, desks in a 4’ tall wall, 30’ curved and wide, interspersed with slabs of slate of overlain with curtains and rugs – providing fantastic cover for the kobolds who might have stayed here – but there were none now.

Just inside the entrance were two curtains, each soaked with oil, on an ill fitting rod, and tied to a cord that ran across the ceiling and on the other side of the barricade. Trap – fire trap – but no one was here to man or arm it. We took the curtains off and cut the cord and then entered the room, doing the same to the similar set up on the northern entrance/exit from here.

There was a south exit from here and Connal and Darius checked out the other side of the barricade. A footlocker with a half dozen rawhide sandals were found with assorted other bric a brac, most likely for the kobolds to navigate the broken glass strewn floor. The sandals were cut at the toe thong, making them useless, and some of the oil soaked curtains were laid about the floor on the other side of the barrier. From there we travelled south, Avulstein’s kobold skeleton leading the way.

The passage led to the left and then a set of steps down, which we followed slowly. The room grew shallower to 4’ in height. There was a mess about the chamber and three honey buckets here. To the east it led back to the pit and eventually the sloping passage, to the west – someplace else in the compound. We had the undead move the honey buckets to the pit and then we drew up lines and went west. The corridor turned once briefly and the smell of gravy was growing.

Eventually it was some sort of kitchen/dining area. The K’Morat had set up two long trestle tables on their sides and were hiding behind it. A single kobold was standing off to the left a bit, motioning for the group to step forward. We yelled at the kobolds who threatened us back according to Avulstein. We sent the kobold skeleton forward where it was hit by a few skewers, a bowl of hot gravy, and even a cleaver before falling over, and while they were distracted, we cast a sleep spell into the room to put the kobolds to sleep.

But there were 2 barrels just on the inside wall that as soon as the spell passed between them, burst and showered the area with Avulstein’s sleep spell – dropping three of the party members to sleep. At this point the remaining 2 party members kicked into high gear and prodded, kicked, and woke up our party as javelins rained about their sleeping forms.

Scrabbling to our feet we charged into the room, bringing the fight to the K’Morat. More dishes and bowls were hurls at the group, Connal ran into the breach to hit them around the barricades while Barb and Centius held the front. The half-orc barbarian was hit in the throat by a well placed shot, choking and gasping while the group fought back.

From the dark corridor we had heard the snorting and squealing of a pig that burst into the room, tusks flailing and head lowered. Bullets and javelins were tossed, spears presented. The mutated boar slammed into Centius, overrunning him to drive Negan back into the narrow hallway. Magic missiles flew and the boar was squealing deeply. As it grew angrier, pressure waves were driving off of it, pushing the group back half a step.

Barb, already pretty hurt, let her inner barbarian loose and raged, charging the boar where she shoved almost 4’ of her 5’ spear into the boar’s side and down the length of its spine. It thrashed and howled and shuddered as we ripped into it. Avulstein let his inner wolverine loose and actually ripped its hind leg free.

The boar dropped to the ground, fountaining blood everywhere and died. The surrounding K’Morat immediately fled, running into the dark where we took down a few and the rest escaped. We doled out healing, blocked up the two corridors out with the 2 tables and even Negan dragged the boar in front of one of the tables to further block the passages free.

We then went off to the west where we were confronted by the shaman, 5 of his honor guard, 2 other K’Morat warriors, and some angry words in kobold. Avulstein did his best to translate but it seemed they were stalling, so Negan and Darius looked behind and yes – there were another half dozen and then some K’Morat coming down to box us in.

Fight time. Connal charged into the mess, Darius lit a Molotov and hurled it into the narrow hall to block it up from others who were trying to come. Negan was lying about, Barb ran into the fight, Avulstein and Centius joining in. The monk weaved between 3 of the kobolds getting within inches of the shaman and disrupting his spell. He took a blow to the throat and shattered his shield barely in time. The melee was swift and deadly. Darius and Negan easily held their own while hit points whittled away. An evil eye sent Connal running for his life, barely stopped by Negan in time. Darius slung a horseshoe at the shaman who had been protected by Protection from Normal Missiles spell - but the sling that had slung the projectile was magical - and imbued magic on each of its slung itmes - hence the spell did NOT hold and his was surprisingly struck in the face, spitting out teeth. Eventually it was the death of the Shaman that caused the entire complex to drop 20 degrees and the nearby K’Morat to stop, howl out in fury, and then turned their frantic assault on taking us out.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Meet 31, Adv 4, 11/4/17

The K'Morat kobolds that the group is fighting are pretty resilient. Cunning, capable, and with 1 6-th level Shaman at their beck and call, they are big on traps to slow up the group and take them down, with a few well placed spells if need be.

However, they have hurt the group, and neutralized no one. Not entirely true, they did neutralize Barb a number of days ago, but it forced the party to retreat and heal up. However on their end, they've been a bit messed up. Straight up fighting isn't working for them - so it's time to set up lures, traps, snags, lines, and situations where a lone kobold or two can trip up the group and whittle away much needed hp's.

And that's what's happened so far and is happening now.

Write up follows:

The first thing we wanted to do was make sure the K’Morat couldn’t come down this way. So we pitoned into the ceiling and then with a length of rope and two other spikes, pounded the tables into the ground and roped them together and through the ceiling piton to prevent either of them being moved independently without lots of effort and hopefully enough noise to attract us.

While this was going on, we gathered up the fallen K’Morat and dragged them back down the passage, piling them up in a gory tableau at the base of the tables. From there we moved the caltrops and rocks from the main hall into some bags and Negan stretched some piano wire at the base to hopefully trip up anyone who might come from the south corridor. To make it even more frightening for the kobolds, they scratched into the floor a pentagram, lit a few candles around the corners, and then Darius placed a single bit of quarts near one of the points. Hopefully the K’Morat superstitions should be enough to keep them from advancing.

Barb once again took the lead and we went north, turning down to the west and kept going to what was the original room with the barricades. Negan, who was in the rear, was crab walking sideways, spear out and watching both directions, not trusting the situation. Eventually we came to the room and…it had been changed over the last 2 days. All the original junk and detritus was swept across the floor and piled haphazardly along the south wall and southwest corner. There were 3 candles burning on the south east corner, next to 2 wooden buckets with a cloth cover them to obscure their interiors. But it was the majority of the floor that was covered in a slowly jellifying mess of blood, gore, and bits of flesh, coating the room in filth.

Best guess is it was a day old. And the candles had us nervous. The group wanted to investigate but there was no easy way to get over there, and there was the dark corridor across the room to the left. So Barb went first, stepping lightly into the filth, shield out and held aloft as she crouched behind it. Connal snuck up behind her, back to the wall, stepped over the gore, and came to the candles. Three of them, simple 1-3 hour candles. He was given hissing conflicting advice until he leaned forward and blew hard at the candle.

It almost refused to go out, wavering a LONG time before finally guttering. Weird. He did the same with the second, again leaning forward, not touching it, and again…it took a LONG time to go out. We now had 1 left. Really unsure.

So they spent a few minutes scrubbing the area and found remnants of chalk lines and markings on the floor that had been obscured by the blood and gore dumped yesterday. Avulstein couldn’t tell what the ritual was originally, but the candle’s extinguishing or guttering our on their own would set it off. So Connal tried to relight one of them…and nothing happened. Even putting the fire from a torch right on top of the candle – it refused to light.

So he backed away, careful NOT to extinguish the last candle, and we all convened in the hall again. The feeling was the candles are a timer, and when it runs out – the giant is called again. That gives us about 2 ½ hours before the candle goes out on its own. No, we were out of here.

Back at the main entrance we did notice the two rakes on the wall, one on either side near the pentagram we scratched there. So we set up a trip wire crossways like a “V” down the hall around the pentagram, nervous we were being watched. At the last moment, we had Darius whip a stone down the hall where it smashed into a corner and we heard a bark or surprise and something run away. Ok – we’re out.

When we arrived at the slope to get out, the rope was gone! Connal took Barb’s rope, climbed the slope and went to the tree to tie it on where we saw Darius’ rope just sitting there all coiled up. He left it, and threw the other rope down and the group climbed out of the warren. Darius was looking at the rope, wanting to take it, but truthfully, really not trusting the shaman and the kobolds.

We had a plan, assuming as Avulstein told us that there were ways to track an item that someone else is carrying. Darius took his former rope, and the entire group ran through the meadow east, hit the tree line, and then climbed the slope for a good 10, 15 minutes. From here the rest of the party turned north and picked a quieter trail with Barb guiding us to minimize tracks while Darius continued upslope, blazing every 5th tree as he went. As the slope grew steeped and the trees denser, he looked for a hollow, dropped the rope in it, and then turned towards the north and tried his best to obscure his tracks as he slowly made his way eventually to our camp on the north ridge and barb and the rest of the group.

By 6 we had all gathered again and we stayed outside the tent covered cave watching the meadow carefully. Some half hour, forty five minutes later there was a fizzling of lights from the cave and the meadow and high in the sky – three lights appeared again – yellow, red, blue. Within 10 minutes the giant had run up and about 20 kobolds had come out, torches lit. In the gloom of twilight we watched these pinpricks of light run east towards the ridge and then swarm up the ridge, the giant moving with them, knocking smaller trees aside. Eventually they came up, high on the ridge where Darius told us he dropped the rope and the lights all congregated there.

Then they fanned out and went up and down the ridge a bit, eventually going back down the slope and back to the warren where the giant was seen arguing with the kobolds with wildly gesticulating arms. The kobolds went back in the warren and after some time emerged with many things (we couldn’t tell) and gave them to the giant who thrust them in a sack, which he slung over his shoulder and then tromped off to the south west. The lights all went back into the cave and eventually the group feeling pretty smart with themselves, closed their eyes and got some sleep.

We awoke the next day on the 12th, feeling pretty good and pumped to go back to the Warren. From what we saw, the giant was getting cross about these summonses and might not arrive next time, or might take his time. We broke our fast, prayed, gathered our equipment and by quarter to 7, were ready to go.

It took us a slow half hour to get back to the warren area. The ground was a mess of tracks, showing the giant had indeed stomped around. While we were searching though we did come across two distinctive prints that were of a boar – although some 50% larger than we expected it to be. We were comfortable that this was most likely the totem animal and if we had been informed correctly, it was probably not very advanced and should be easier to take down. We hoped.

Once more we strung up rope, went down to the bottom, Negan hit Barb’s shield with another light spell and we went on, expecting the kobolds had trapped the area in some way.

We were right.

What they had done was taken Darius’ rope that he had tossed up the mountain, and split it into strands, then took those strands and made a lattice of trip lines attached to spikes in the corners of the floor running back and forth covering 40’ in each direction. No fricking way we were going to try to navigate over 24 trip lines, all connected to the next one. A detect magic spell followed and Avulstein let us know the spikes where the center point of the magic, Air based, and the rope line was the trigger.

So another trap. We lit a candle and put some oil by it, laying it near one of the ropes, and got out of the cave, going north to the tree line and hiding there. We waited 15 minutes or so and then saw some smoke drift out of the cave along with a staccato beat of metallic noises. Half a dozen kobolds came out, the shaman was one of them, and then were looking feverishly for the party – not seeing them anywhere (hidden around the trees). There was some arguing and then two more kobolds came out with long hooded cloaks colored to look like the bladegrass of the meadow. Two of the kobolds took off their quivers, wrapped the cloaks about themselves, and then took off into the meadow, moving back and forth, drifting wider and further away from the warren until over time we lost sight of them.

The rest of the kobolds went back inside and we waited. Connal climbed a tree, hoping a bird’s eye view would help, but to no avail – couldn’t find what we know to be 2 kobolds outside of the warren and camouflaged. We debated going back in, knowing we’d be seen,  but decided it was worth the risk.

So we crept out of the tree line and made our way across the meadow with care. No one attacked us, nothing happened, but we KNEW we were being watched. We hit the cave, tied rope AGAIN to the tree (4th time going in?) and by 10:15, had slithered back to the bottom.  Not wanting to waste what we assumed would be a needed spell later, we lit a lantern full of oil and gave it to Avulstein’s zombie Centius to hold for us.

Then we went down the passage to the cross corridor and looked. The walls and ceiling had numerous dents in it, the stink of metal was strong along with something burned. But on the floor in defiance to our pentagramming – the kobolds had drawn a half dozen pentagrams of their own of various sizes. Darius thought they were being petty.

We turned north and went that way, ONCE more going to the barracks room that had all the gore in it. Now there was no gore but we heard voices in the distance. Negan summoned a monster – and a giant ant appeared! He had it run down the passage and encountered a pair of kobolds in there. There was a brief fight and the kobolds retreated down the west passage into the dark, the ant following. We ran into the room next and saw they had cleaned most of the gore off the floor, but nothing new in here.

Just before the ant spell faded, Negan summoned again – this time getting a dog sized giant rat! He had that ALSO run down the hall and give chase to the kobolds in that direction. With that we all beat feet and moved double time BACK to the main 4 way split and this time went south to the sloping passage that had the pit at the bottom.

We went down carefully, the stink of waste very strong. The pit edge was discolored from all the slime, grease, and shit the kobolds had laid here before to surprise us. Beyond it in the gloom there was a room and we could very faintly hear angry kobold voices and the chittering of a giant rat. To the right was a dark passage, narrow, that we assumed went to the midden. But there was an odd reflection down it, leading us to think there was a light in that way. Barb and Darius went down, weapons ready and looked around the corner (short passage to a room) and then walking that way, looked again.

It was a small room, 15’x10’, another passage heading west from across the chamber. Storage area, boxes, wire, bales, buckets. On the floor near the opposite side of the chamber by the exit was two small stools, a couple of buckets with a cover on them of cloth, and two fat candles burning on the ground and a well gnawed turkey leg.

Barb was going to check it out while Darius was snagging items from the shelves. She wondered why there would be any candle lit since the kobolds could see in the dark and if the kobold was in here either crapping or eating – it shouldn’t have needed the light source. Feeling pressure though, she ignored her doubting voice and went to lift the cover off the closest bucket when from down the passage she heard two “thwanging” noises – the distinct sound of flat bows being fired.

She looked that way in time to see 2 kobolds running up the passage when the bolts hit…not her. The two well-lit buckets on the ground.

Filled with oil and other incendiary detritus.

It burst in front of her, setting her entire right side on fire and she screamed as she tried to roll back and out of the way, Darius hurled a sling rock around the corner but hit nothing. Barb was rolling about in the muck and filth of the floor, guttering the fire out. The barbarian half-orc stood up in some pain, burned, covered in kobold crap from another K’Morat trap and she was seethingly furious at once again being on the receiving end of the ankle-biter’s tactics and antics.