Monday, December 20, 2010

The Grinding Gear is Ground. On to Andronia!

After many, many torches, our bold party managed to wind their way successfully through the Grinding Gear. I wanted to thank Carl for introducing us to that and I believe he was going to write up a review of it for a future blog entry. Very fun.

I also wanted to remind everyone to write up a journal entry on how your character viewed their time spent in Andronia and Akbar's Dungeon. The evening ended in quite an epic battle. Despite the Barnowl falling at the hands of Varda, the evil cleric, the party has much to rejoice.

Lastly, we need to think about when we can play again. I'm hoping we can squeeze a session in before most of you have to get back to teaching. We can have that discussion over at the campaign's home on Epic Words. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Next Campaign

I'm really looking forward to Jay's birthday and finishing up The Grinding Gear this weekend. In case you hadn't heard, Carl is putting his campaign on hiatus for a while after Saturday. I ran a mini campaign for Carl and Matt H. this summer when they came down for a Yankees game and it worked so well, I asked if they minded if we open it up for everyone. If there is time after The Grinding Gear--assuming we survive to escape!--we will actually start up my campaign currently titled The Dungeons of Akban.

I'm currently writing up a summary of what Carl and Matt's characters accomplished and you'll all join in when they return to town. I'm trying something different though to support the campaign. I'm keeping all of the material for the sessions, including the summary of events up till now, over at Epic Words. It will allow us to keep track of all kinds of information in a central location. The first thing everyone will want to do is create an account there and search campaigns for "Dungeons of Akban." Join it using the password "Andronia." If you want to create a character before Saturday, you can put all his/her information there and even create a journal entry telling us your backstory. The site will allow us to keep a record of all the loot as well as a place you can always see your experience points. I'll post summaries of the adventures there as well as any files that might be relevant like maps. The interesting thing will be seeing everyone's journal entries describing the adventure from your character's point of view. If you have any questions, just let me know. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I will. Take care.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Next Session - The Birthday Marathon

When:  Sat. 12/18
Where:  Jay's Place
Start Time:  4PM or ?????

As many of us discussed this past weekend, we appear to be set to play our next game on Sat. 12/18.  In honor of Jay's birthday, Barb as graciously agreed to allow us to start at 4PM or even earlier if possible.

To help get a proper head count, could everyone respond in the comments thread to confirm attendance and let us all know just how early you could join us (e.g., before 4PM)?  We can then make an informed decision about exactly when to get the game rolling.

Thanks for a very entertaining evening, everyone.  It had been too long!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

OK then . . .

How does the weekend of November 19 or 20 work for everyone? I cannot do the sixth of November.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Next Session

How does Friday 10/22 or Saturday 10/23 work for everyone. Do either tickle your fancy?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

D and D Cancelled this Saturday

I'm very sorry everyone, but due to unforseen circumstances, I will not be able to DM this Saturday. I am terribly sorry about this.

The Fallen Lands: Session 9 Reminder

Just a reminder that after our long hiatus, we are set to play our next session this Saturday night.  I hope you all are still able to make it!  The Grinding Gear, Witchspire Hill, Leng's Tower???  So many choices...

See you Saturday!

When:  Saturday, Oct. 9
Location:  post festum's house.
Time:  6:00PM

Monday, September 13, 2010

Next Session - Second Try

Since so many of us cannot make it on September 24 or 25, I would like to propose the weekend of Friday October 8 or Saturday October 9 as our next session. Any thoughts?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Next Session

How will Friday, September 24 or Saturday, September 25 work for everyone for our next session date?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Next Session

How does Tuesday 8/24 or Thursday 8/26 work for everyone for out next meeting?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Witchspyre Hill: Session 6

May 16 - May 22

Our last session began with our intrepid adventurers descending once again into the gloomy depths of the dungeon below Witchspyre Hill. The group journeyed for about an hour through corridors and passageways that had they had previously explored, intent on visiting a previously unknown section of the underworld. Along the way, they stopped to make a rubbing impression of a mysterious copper disk that they had previously found that was covered with strange and unrecognizable magic runes. The party's magic users, Imgmar and Abu, thought that Bytor of Null's Harbor might be interested in trading the information for knowledge that he claimed to have regarding a possible clue to the dungeons strange origin.

Shortly after this, the party was attacked by a band of roving lizardmen. After besting the reptilian humanoids in combat, the group pressed forward and made the acquaintance of a strange individual, a filthy long haired human who emerged from behind a secret door and claimed that he was willing to trade goods and supplies for gold. Puzzled by this strange encounter, the party attempted to gather information from him. His answers to their questioning proved to be evasive. Who was this strange individual exactly? How did he come to be in the dungeon? These questions remained unanswered and the party decided to return to Null's harbor to trade their information with Bytor and hire an additional hireling. On their way out of the dungeon, they were beset by a group of strange froglike humanoids. The fight went well, though one of the mysterious creatures did manage to escape.

Back in town, Abu hastened to Bytor's shop and discovered that the mage was in fact very interested in the rubbing, though he claimed not know or understand its meaning. In exchange, he produced a very old tome that had been in his collection for some years. The book was entitled "Tales and Legends of the Old Empire" by Thentis the Sad - written in 603 (more than four hundred years earlier). It contained a collection of legends of the old empire that had existed in what is today Thrang over a millennium earlier. Bytor drew Abu's attention to the third chapter entitle "The Mysterious Dissappearance of the Tower of the Four Faces" It purported to be a retelling of a scroll dating from 1000 years earlier, now lost, that contained a story by someone named Skelos of an incident that took place some fifty years earlier in a coastal province of the empire. A tower with four screaming faces inhabited by Zorander, a powerful wizard stood once stood on a high hill by the western sea. A crude map included indicated that this spot was in all likelihood what is today Witchspyre hill. One day, according to Skelos's account, the tower and its foundations just mysteriously vanished into thin air. (Note: these events, if true, would have taken place 1,498 years earlier). Written in the margin by a hand other tahn the author's was the word "Malfarazzaar?" Bytor claimed that it seems likely that the tower of the faces may in fact be the same tower that appeared atop the Witchspyre just months earlier. When asked what the word "Malfarazzaar" might mean, Bytor claimed that he had no idea, nor did he know what later owner of the book may have authored this marginal gloss on the text. His own magical inquiries had only revealed that the word was a proper noun, but beyond that he had never been able to learn any more. He recommended that they seek out the advice of Sul-tas the sage, a learned man who lives on Boar's Head Isle in the Drakenspree Tarn and who specializes in ancient and obscure languages and history. When Abu asked him why he had never sought the advice of this sage, the mage claimed that he had never deemed the matter to be of much importance, or at least he never had until the tower mysteriously appeared recently. Bytor claimed that his business interests in town prevented him from making the journey to see Sul-tas himself at this time, but that he would be happy to share in any costs if Abu and his companions wanted to travel and ask him themselves.

The rest of the night passed without much incident, though several members of the party decided to enjoy some wenching in Sorrowside. This led to mixed results. Abu awoke the next morning only to find that in his drunken binge he had had an image of the tower of the faces tattooed on his back. Igmar also awoke with a new tattoo, a mysterious symbol on his wrist that he could not explain or understand. Wolfgar the cleric had had a less successful evening. Apparently, in a drunken revel he had managed to accidentally set fire to several fishermen's shanties by the harbors edge. Uncertain, if anyone knew that he was responsible for the accident, Wolfagar was understandably eager to leave town.

And so the party did, after hiring an additional hireling, one Zelig Croop, a heavy set, talkative individual whose breath reeked of garlic. On the journey back to Witchspyre Hill, Zelig privately told Wolfgar that he knew that he was responsible for the fire in Null's Harbor but that the town watch did not. He intimated that, as long as he was well taken care of by the party, he would make sure the town watch did not learn of this either.

The party arrived back atop the hill on May 22 only to find the remains of a recent campsite in the ground floor of the tower, a likely indication that another group of adventurers had recently preceded them into the dungeon. And that is where we left off. Thanks to all of you for a great night of gaming.

Experience: 60 points for all involved.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Expanding the S&W Canonical Spells?

What can I say?  I'm very happy to have made it to third level with my first s&w magic user and I wanted to pose a few questions to the group and the DM regarding including a few variations on just a couple ad&d spells that I want to submit for inclusion in the spell canon of this dm's game.  I feel pretty confident that the selections I made wouldn't really risk unbalancing anything if interjected into the s&w core rules.  Let me know what you think

Suggested ad&d First Level Magic-User Spell Additions

Enlarge/Reduce (p. 65 PHB)

Excerpt:  This spell causes instant growth/reduction of a creature or object.  Any creature grows/shrinks 20% per spell caster level (200% max).  All objects grow/shrink 10% per level (100% max).  Does not make weapons more powerful per se, but an enlarged table would be heavier and an enlarged door more resiliant to damage, etc.  Unwilling creatures of this spell are given a saving throw to negate all effect.

Find Familiar (p. 66 PHB)

Excerpt:  A familiar grants certain benefits to the magic user.  However the magic user has no control over the type of creature it summons.  And this summoning can only be done once per year.  The familiar can converse and spy, etc. with the magic user who summons it.  

When within 12ft of its master, the magic user adds the familiar's minimal hit dice (2-4) to his/her own.  If the familiar dies double that number is permanently subtracted from the master.

Results Table
1-4     Black Cat     Excellent Night Vision and superior hearing
5-6     Crow           Excellent Vision
7-8     Hawk          Very superior distance vision
9-10    Screech Owl   Night vision, visual ability, superior hearing
11-12   Toad          Wide-angle vision
13-14    Weasel       Superior hearing and very superior olfactory powers
15         Special Table
16-20     No Familiar Available within Spell Range

Push (p. 67 PHB)

Excerpt:  When uttered, this spell allows the caster to cause an invisible force to strike against whatever object he or she is pointing at.  The force of the push is not great, being 1 foot pound per level of the caster, but it can move small objects up to 1ft in any direction away from the caster, topple objects, or cause a creature to become unbalanced (loses its attack that round).

Suggested ad&d Second Level Magic-User Spell Additions

Ray of Enfeeblement (p. 71 PHB)

Excerpt:  a magic user weakens an opponent by reducing their strength and ability to do hit point damage 25% or more (subtracting and addition 2% per level after 3rd).  Duration:  1 round per caster level.

Current Top s&w Second level Magic User Spell Choices

So this is my list of suggested additions.  For those of you willing to lend me your ideas, I'm also leaning toward selecting from the following 2nd level s&w spells.  You can also quickly view all second level choices here if you want to make other suggestions.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

next session

It turns out that I cannot play on Friday the 30th after all. August 6 is bad for me as well. Thus, by necessity, our next session will have to be August 7. Looking forward to it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

next session

How would Friday, July 30 work for everyone?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Next Date

I would like to propose either August 6 or August 7 as the date for our next session. How will this work for everyone?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Renaissance Festival, Anyone?

Anyone interested in making the trip with Sophie and I to the Sterling Festival before it ends in mid-August?  Given our other travel plans, the best weekends for us are as follows:

Sunday, August 1
Saturday/Sunday, August 7&8

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Witchspyre Hill: Session 5

May 10 - 15 HR

Last session began with the surviving party members hiding below ground, waiting out the evening of May 10 after the ill fated battle with the spiders the previous day. Fortunately, the evening passed without incident, and on the following day, the survivors were able to make it out of the dungeon without encountering further danger. Bloodied but unbowed, the survivors started the two day journey back to Null's Harbor to recruit more members.

Once there, the survivors returned to Jack's Place in Sorrowside and made the acquaintance of the fighter Bian Fu, Wolfgar a cleric of Kord, and Abu Thistlestrike a portly and jovial Magic User with a taste for ale. After some discussions over hearty flagons, these three agreed to join the party. At this point, Igmar decided to go back to Steng's brewery to negotiate with the underworld figure and hopefully see what potential help the thieves guild might be able to offer.

At the brewery, Igmar sat down for a council with Steng and his mysterious, blue handed, sorceress companion. Igmar proposed that his party of adventurers would be willing to offer a greater percentage of the profits taken from Witchspyre Hill, if Steng could offer any additional assistance to their group. Steng claimed to be intrigued by this offer, but said that he would need to see greater evidence that Igmar's group was competent before providing any assistance. He told Igmar that he might be willing to offer assistance for a greater percentage of the loot, but that he would need to see evidence that the party was able to pull significant wealth from the dungeon. He then reminded Igmar that the party had agreed to pay him and the guild a full twenty five percent of treasure taken from beneath Witchspyre Hill. Just as the negotiations were concluding, the deformed Igmar surprised everyone concerned by rising to his feet, bowing, and presenting the lovely, raven haired sorceress with a single flower as a tribute to her great beauty. The blue handed woman's icy demeanor shifted for a moment from cool aloofness to amused curiosity as she thanked Igmar and accepted his gift.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party was back at Thumbless Jack's attempting to hire some new hirelings. Given that no hireling had as of yet returned from Witchspyre Hill alive, not many were willing to join the group. After some clever negotiations on the part of Thimble the Thief the group hired two individuals - Tuck, an over weight, somewhat asthmatic man wearing an ill fitting suit of leather armor, and Joboron, a shifty eyed drunken mercenary from parts unknown.

The following day, May 13, the group arose early, intent on resupplying and heading back to Witchspyre Hill. Before leaving, however, Abu wanted to visit Bytor's magic shop located in Maintown. While browsing in the crowded and cluttered interior of the shop, Abu asked Bytor, a lean and wiry individual, if he knew anything about the mysterious appearance of the tower atop Wichspyre Hill. Bytor shut the door of his shop, produced a bottle of wine, and confided in Abu that he did have in his possession something that might reveal crucial information about the tower, but that he would only trade it for magic. He was not interested in gold. He also cautioned Abu against getting too involved with the church of Wee Jas, though the mage turned cagy at this point and refused to specify why such caution was necessary.

While this discussion was going on, Igmar entered Hezroat's spice shop and asked the merchant directly if the deal regarding Bartok's head was still in effect. Attempting to bluff, Igmar claimed that others had also offered him money for the head of the missing adventurer. Hezroat, however, seemed to know that Igmar was bluffing, claiming that he could not possibly imagine why anyone but he would want proof of Bartok's death. When asked by Igmar why he wanted such proof, Hezroat emphatically said that he could not say, but did stress that the offer of gold for such proof was still in effect. Igmar thanked the merchant, purchased a pouch of Devil's Weed for his pipe, and took his leave of the merchant.

Their business in town concluded, the group began their journey back to the mysterious dungeon beneath Witchspyre Hill.

They resumed their exploration on May 15. The party made some further headway, mapping some more unexplored corridors and chambers, and finally uncovered what appeared to be some long forgotten tomb or burial chamber hidden behind a secret door. Within, the group made the acquaintance of the crypt's occupant, a horrible animated skeletal figure clad in chain mail and armed with a gleaming and oddly untarnished longsword. A desperate battle ensued when the horrific figure arose from its ancient undead slumber and closed with the group, its skeletal hand closing around Tuck's throat and chocking the life out of the the pudgy hireling. The figure appeared to be radiating some sort magical aura of terror and several members of the group began to flee. Even those who appeared resistant to the thing's horrid power did not all seem to want to engage it however. Thimble, for instance, chose to withdraw with the those who were fleeing while Joboron, quite drunk, refused to fight the thing and ran as well. Things looked like they might turn grim when the horrid corpse seized Wolfgar by the throat and began to strangle him, but Abu the mage crushed its skull with a sling stone and saved the cleric from certain death. Released from its fear effect, the rest of the party regrouped and proceeded to loot the tomb, recovering 1200 gold pieces and the skeleton's apparently enchanted sword. At this point, three ghouls emerged from the corridor and attacked. A fierce fight thus followed, but the party quickly gained the upper hand. Noteworthy in this encounter, Lilyth actually dealt the "killing" blow to each ghoul.

And this is where we left off. After dispatching the ghouls, the group decided to pull back to the surface and camp for the night the ground floor of the tower before proceeding. Thanks to all for a fun night of gaming.

140 xp each for all concerned.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Next Session

Jay has suggested Saturday, July 17 as a possible date for our next session. How will this work for everyone?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Friday's Session

On Friday July 2, we will be playing at Matt and Heather's home in ER. Thanks to them for graciously volunteering to host. We will begin at 7:00.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Witchspyre Hill: Session 4

May 6-10 1051 HR

Our last session began on the morning of May 6 in the year 1051 HR. After the very briefest of forays into the basement beneath the ruins of Leng's Tower, your party, consisting at this point of Igmar Houndhaven, Thimble, Pipstrelles, and the hirelings Steng and Doobin Bungbolt, decided to return to Thumbless Jack's in order to reunite with other party members and possibly recruit new adventurers. At Jack's, the party reunited with the fighters Lilith and Goram Ironfist (who apparently had waited out the zombie outbreak upstairs at the inn with a jug of Jack's best gnomish whisky). They also made the acquaintance of a new party member, one Pisspot Jenkins, a greenhorn who had recently decided to strike out upon the adventuring life to see what it had to offer.

After some discussion over hearty bowls of Jack's famous fish chowder, it was decided that it would be best to set out for Witchspyre Hill once again in the hopes of reaping even more and perhaps richer rewards. Before doing so, however, the party decided that some method for safely storing and securing its treasure must be found as it was becoming unwieldy to carry around so much coinage upon your persons. The party hit upon the idea of purchasing a structure in Null's Harbor and using it as a base of operations and a storehouse for its wealth. Thumbless Jack informed you that Steng, the owner of Steng's Brewery owned almost all of the free property in Sorrowside and it would be best to talk with him. Jack did, however, caution you that it was best to tread lightly and use care when dealing with Steng.

This advice proved to be well founded. After arriving at the brewery, you immediately realized that something was amiss. While Steng's was a working brewery,you saw no laborers at work, being greeted instead by six heavily armed thugs. Steng himself soon appeared accompanied by a beautiful, raven haired sorceress or magic user with blue stained hands. You quickly concluded that Steng was no ordinary brewer and that he may be highly placed in the local thieves guild. Negotiations proceeded and Steng suggested that he could sell you a small stone structure near the town's north wall for five hundred gold pieces. After examining the structure, you decided that you were in fact interested and sent Pipistrelles back to negotiate further with Steng and his mysterious blue handed companion.

Upon hearing of your interest, however, Steng became suspicious. How did such a group of neophyte adventurers such as yourselves have the coin to make such a purchase after all? Was it possible that you had returned from some adventure recently and had more riches at your disposal than you were admitting to. Not wishing to pay the tax levied by the guild on such swag, Pipistrelles lied, claiming that this was not true. But when Steng threatened to place him under a charm spell to ascertain the truth, the novice monk began to flounder, fumbling around with his words and finally stammering out that, while it was true that he had not told the whole truth, he had not actually lied.

This double talk did not satisfy the brewer and, after some increased pressure, the monk finally confessed that the party did in fact have a fair amount of wealth in its possession having recently returned from an expedition to Witchspyre Hill. Steng informed the monk that he expected his fair cut of this haul and sent a henchman to invite the rest of the party into the brewery to consider his demand.

It was at this point that things turned very ugly.

Upon hearing Steng's offer, Goram, the dwarven warrior shouted a profane challenge at Steng, drew his axe, and exhorted his comrades to fight. Pipistrelles kicked off the melee, introducing his staff to the skull of one of Steng's henchman and shattering it like a china bowl. Lilith followed suit, disemboweling another foe and spilling his smoking entrails onto the brewery's oak planked floor. Quick thinking Igmar also got in on the action and cast a charm spell upon another henchman. This early success was short lived unfortunately. At this point, one of your own henchman, Steng from Goat's Alley, switched sides declaring that he wanted no part of the fight. This treachery barely had time to register when the mysterious raven haired spell caster raised her blue hands and traced some weird runic shapes in the air before her, bringing a sleep spell down upon all of you and sending you falling into a crushing helpless slumber.

It should be noted that Thimble avoided this fate by quietly stealing away from the melee and fleeing across the burnt patch of Null's Harbor to Maintown.

The rest of you awoke tightly bound in a stone chamber, empty but for a flickering torch, beneath the brewery. Steng soon arrived and did not seem pleased. He informed you that as a price for lying to him and challenging his authority, he was going to take all of your gold (the wealth you had acquired from the recent sale of the great diamond to Jazzle the Jeweler). Furthermore, he expected you to pay a full twenty five percent of all future wealth taken from beneath Witchspyre Hill. Faced with little choice, you accepted his demands. But Steng was not finished. As payment for the loss of his henchmen, he had no choice but to take some your flesh as well. Drawing a dagger from his belt, he sliced off Pipistrelles's ear, sawing through the cartilage with several long strokes and cauterizing the wound with the burning torch. Pisspot Jenkins fared no better, worse perhaps. Annoyed by the neophytes contrary nature and smug back talk, Steng used a set of metal workers tongs to pry Pisspot's mouth open before cutting out his tongue with a pair of tin worker's shears.

Beaten and seething with resentment, you found yourselves released by Steng. You quickly headed back to maintown to meet Thimble, who incidentally had escaped with all of her wealth intact. Given the unfortunate recent turn of events, you all deemed it prudent to leave town as quickly as possible and journey back to the Stony Brow Hills to resume your exploration of the Witchspyre. The journey back to the hills lasted four days but passed without noteworthy incident. The screaming faces carved into the mysterious tower atop the hill loomed menacingly above you as you began the ascent up the steep sided, rocky edifice and, on May 10, you once again descended into the gloomy nether realms that unfold beneath it.

Your party decided to explore a region of dungeon that you had not previously visited. You soon came upon an incredible site, a great hallway, fifty feet wide and lined with granite pillars, its ceiling lost in darkness above. Curiously, the vast corridor was lit by ever burning torches in sconces mounted on the passageway's mighty pillars. Impressed by its magnificence and assuming that such a fabulous corridor must lead somewhere significant, you decided to follow the grand hallway to its terminal destination.

After following it for a short distance, you found that it opened into a large chamber containing a weird and horrific statue of a hermaphroditic naked woman. In addition to an enormous erect phallus, the bizarre artifact also sported a mouthful of fangs and two glittering emeralds for eyes. Unable to resist the lure of treasure, Goram Ironfist pried the emeralds loose from the statue but, in so doing, triggered some arcane sorcery that altered the very fabric of reality and, in a pulsing flash of light, changed his sex from male to female. Stunned by this odd turn of events, you continued to follow the grand hallway along its winding course through the dungeon.

After traveling for an hour or so and passing several side passages and doors along the way, you came upon an ominous sign, a dessicated web shrouded corpse lying in the middle of the great corridor. Not long after this, the party was beset by a pack of gigantic spiders that dropped silently on silken cords from the darkness above. A desperate fight thus ensued in the flickering reddish glow of the torchlight. Goram, Lilith, Pisspot, and Pipistrelles engaged the horrid monstrosities with steel and staff, while Thimble and Igmar engaged at range with bow and spell. While you did manage to fell three of the aberrations, more kept coming, silently and relentlessly, from the darkness above, and the tide quickly turned against you. Goram, Pipistrelles, Pisspot, and Doobin all met horrible fates, falling beneath the cruel, dagger-like and venom filled fangs of the giant spiders. Igmar, Lilith, and Thimble made a desperate and hasty retreat turning their backs upon their fallen comrades and fleeing for their lives. In fact, Thimble, a character who has proven herself to be quite good at escaping, even had to shuck off her backpack and leave over a thousand gold pieces behind in order to make her exit.

The three surviving characters did manage to make their escape and found refuge in some sort of abandoned and forgotten storage room and safely barricaded themselves within. This is where we left off. Once again, the party has been decimated and will undoubtedly need new recruits. This assumes of course that our three survivors can make it back to the surface. Thanks for a fun night of gaming everyone.

Experience: 653 each for Igmar, Lilith, and Thimble

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Next Session

How does Friday, July 2 work for everyone for our next session?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What Kind of Polyhedron Are You?

As you prepare for our next session...In the spirit of full disclosure, my results are below. Strangely, it is fairly accurate. Especially about the dice. I've always had a particular fondness for the d4.

You are a d4: You are bright, perceptive, and driven. You would be considered a blessing to mankind, if you didn't insist on using your powers for evil. You are devious, deceitful, doubtful, and downright dangerous. Assassins can learn a lot from you. If your fellow party members knew how rotten you were, they'd go over and join the bad guys. Justified or not, you are meticulous in your ways: A poison for every person, and a dagger for every back. Much of your day is spent scheming or plotting. The rest of your time is spent trying to convince others that you're simply misunderstood.

I am a d4

Take the quiz at

Monday, May 31, 2010

Witchspyre Hill: Session 3

April 29 - May 6, 1051

Our last session was certainly full of grim surprises. Play resumed with your party still standing in the hall of statues, smelling the seared flesh of your fallen companions, and contemplating the fabulous diamond that you had just won at so dear a price. Eager to convert the gem into spendable coinage and badly in need of new recruits to replace your lost numbers, you decided to take the two day journey back to Null's Harbor.

The journey passed without incident.

Back in town, the surviving members of the party spent the night drinking and relaxing at The Green Griffin and it was there that they made the acquaintance of several new adventurers who had also been drawn to the port town by rumors of possible treasures to be had in the Stony Brow Hills. The party's ranked were thus filled out with new meat. The following day, Thimble the Thief, Goram the Dwarf, Fizbon the Magic User, and Pipistrelles the Monk lost no time in selling the gem to Janzal the Jeweler, but were surprised when Janzal urged the group to keep their possession and sale of the diamond as secret as possible. The adventurers were puzzled by the merchant's emphatic desire for secrecy, but the mystery would soon be cleared up.

Back at the Green Griffin tavern, the rest of your party was relaxing and enjoying a leisurely breakfast of homemade biscuits and salted cod when they were approached in the tavern by one Rayas, an acolyte of the temple of Wee Jas. Rayas expressed a keen interest in knowing as much as possible about the Witchspyre Hill anomaly and even offered to pay for valuable information. Seeing an opportunity to make a little extra coin, Igmar Houndhaven lost little time in turning a tidy profit by selling Rayas the copy of "A Theory of Gateways and Inter-Planar Rifts" by Judge Ofic Gundap that you recovered from the mysterious tower atop the hill.

Not long after Rayas took his leave of you, those of you in the Griffin were approached by yet another figure, a wiry shifty young man who introduced himself as Max. Max claimed to represent a local organization dedicated to the protection of merchants and tradesmen from the predations of criminals and wrongdoers. For the small fee of five percent of all wealth recovered from the Hills, Max guaranteed that his organization could protect you from any unfortunate acts of violence or criminality that might otherwise befall you. Quickly inferring that you were in fact dealing with the local Thieves' Guild, you agreed to pay Max his tithe from your sale of Gundap's treatise, but were very glad to have kept the recovery of the diamond a secret. Slightly unnerved by the encounter with the Guild, your party decided to leave town that day and head back to Witchspyre Hill in the hopes of winning more wealth and riches.

The first day of your journey back to Witchspyre Hill passed without incident, but on the morning of your trip's second day, things began to turn ugly. You arose on the morning of May 2 to find the hilly terrain of eastern Gnut shrouded in a dense, virtually impenetrable fog. Pressing on and closely following the steadily rising road you discovered an ominous sign, an abandoned turnip cart, stained with blood and left on the side of the road. You did not have to wonder for long about the answer to this puzzle. About an hour later, the zombies attacked. With little warning, a gang of the mindless walking dead came lurching out of the mist and attacked. Fortunately, the party's cleric was able to call upon the benevolence of his mysterious deity and drive the horrid walking corpses with the sheer power of his faith. Shaken but undaunted, your party pressed on, climbing upward into the rugged and craggy Stony Brows, finally arriving at the foot of the Witchspyre just before nightfall. Needing rest, you decided to sleep atop the steep sided conical prominence, just beneath the shadow of the mysterious tower. The setting sun shone weakly through the mists, hanging like a drop of blood in the murky sky as you set up camp.

The night did not pass well.

Shortly before midnight, the moaning sounds of the walking dead arose from the cold fog that cloaked the rocky slopes below your campsite. This gave little warning and, almost before you knew it, the zombies were upon you, lurching into your ranks, mindlessly driven by their obscene and unholy lust for living flesh. Within moments, Fizbon the magic user was slain. He had barely sat upright in his bedroll when one of the fiends bit into his throat and tore out his jugular. Perhaps the hen-pecked mage finally met something more frightening than his wife. The party's hirelings, Dent Footknocker and Filthy Pete, fell next, cut down while they impotently fumbled for their weapons. Beric called upon the power of his mysterious and unknown god once again, but alas, this time the power of his faith was not enough to turn back the shambling figures lunging from out of the fog. At this point, some in the party began to retreat to the shelter of the tower itself while others, Augran (sp?) the Dwarf and Biter the Fighter girded themselves with their tools of war and turned their steely faces to confront the undead menace. Unfortunately, their bravery was not enough to carry the day, and moments later, the rest of the party watched their last two fighters vanish forever beneath a grasping and clutching wave of putrefied flesh. Alas, the groans of the zombies could not drown out their screams. The rest of the party thus closed the tower door on a scene whose description is probably best left to the imagination.

The rest of the party, now consisting of Igmar Houndhaven the Magic User, Beric the Cleric, Thimble the Thief, and Pipistrelles the Monk spent a nervous night barricaded within the mysterious tower, keeping one eye on the outside door and the other on the stairway leading to the monster haunted under-realms below. Shortly after dawn, they nervously peered out of the tower, expecting the worst, but finding instead that the zombies had withdrawn, perhaps lured elsewhere by other, less fortunate prey. Lacking fighters, the most prudent course of action was to try and return to Null's Harbor and recruit more muscle. The journey back passed without more combat, but the distant moans of the walking dead occasionally met your ears as it drifted wraith-like through the dense, miasmic fog that still blanketed Northern Thrang.

When you arrived at the town gates on the evening of May 5, you learned from the guardsmen that Gnut had indeed been the victim of a zombie outbreak. While the walking dead often do wander from out of the Wargwood Forest to the north, occasionally they come in far greater numbers than usual. The last three days had witnessed just such an onslaught. Nevertheless, they reassured you that this outbreak was deemed minor by the kingdom's inhabitants and that King Haldric had swiftly ordered troops to quell the menace. The situation was supposedly already well in hand.

Once in town, the party decided to lay low and struck out for Sorrowside, the town's westernmost neighborhood frequented by adventurers, mercenaries, and other miscreants. You arranged lodging at Thumbless Jack's, a rowdy but friendly tavern, and put out the word that you were seeking swords for hire. The evening passed without incident for most of the party with the exception of Igmar and Beric who decided to hit the town and spend some of their newly acquired loot on wenching. This led to mixed results at best. On the morning of May 6, Beric awoke stark naked and penniless in the temple of Father Dagon, a sea god of sorts worshipped mostly by fishermen and sailors throughout the Thrangian Kingdoms. Apparently, deep in his cups and unaware of what he was doing, Beric generously donated all of his wealth and worldly possessions to temple. Frantic negotiations with the chief cleric of the place failed to rectify the situation and Beric was forced to return to Jack's Place to rejoin his comrades and nurse his hangover. Hopefully, he now has the favor of Father Dagon. Meanwhile, Igmar awoke as a prisoner, locked in a cell, in one of the western guard towers. He learned that, in a drunkenly belligerent state, he had argued with the watch over some trivial matter and had even attempted to ensorcel a guardsman. Needless to say, this was mightily frowned upon and the guard promptly clapped him in irons. Fortunately, the town watch is used to such shenanigans, especially in Sorrowside, and the rest of the party was able to secure his release with some smooth talking and the payment of fifty gold pieces to the officer on duty.

Back at Thumbless Jack's, the party secured the services of two new henchmen, Steng from Goat's Alley, a drunken, shifty eyed fellow with a horribly burned visage and Doobin Bungbolt, a strapping brute missing his two front teeth. Deeming it best to wait for the zombie outbreak to fully subside but still thirsting for adventure, the party decided to tentatively explore the ruins of Leng's Tower, an abandoned ruin in the town's burnt patch. Not much exploration was done, however. You descended to the entrance room of the tunnels below the tower looked around and decided to hold temporarily. This is where we left off. All in all, I thought it was a fun, if somewhat blood soaked, evening.

225 experience points each go to Igmar, Beric, Thimble, and Pipistrelles

Monday, May 24, 2010

Next Session

How does June 11 or June 12 work for everyone for our next session?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Witchspire Hill - Session 2

Dates: April 26-28, 1051 HR

Our second session began on April 26, with your party hundreds of feet below the surface of Witchspire Hill, peering into the monster-haunted gloom of the under passages that have appeared there so recently. Over the course of the next three days, you cautiously and methodically continued your exploration of the vast labyrinth searching for hidden treasure and attempting to make sense of the enigmatic structure.

Thus far, the dungeon has been reluctant to give up its secrets. Undead seem to predominate, though other vermin like monstrous centipedes, rats, and stirges appear to be in abundance as well. The complex also contains a variety of traps in the form of pits and dead falls, as was discovered by the much missed fighting man , "Murder," who had the misfortune of tumbling headlong into one such engine of death. The party did discover evidence that there may be more intelligent inhabitants of the under-realm as well. The corpse of a bipedal, toad like humanoid, clad in chain mail and a scarlet cloak was found, for instance. The identity, or even species, of this mysterious individual has yet to be determined.

The party also managed to translate the curious red leather bound book recovered from the upper tower, learning that it was a treatise entitled "A Theory of Gateways and Inter-Planar Rifts" authored by some one named Judge Ofic Gundap. The book was written in an unknown language.

As the exploration continued, even more curiosities began to be found. Perhaps one of the most baffling came in the form of an immensely long corridor lined with niches containing busts of humanoid heads. No two busts were the same and seemed to depict unique individuals, each rendered in exquisite detail. As if this were not strange enough, you noticed that one of these busts portrayed the startled visage of none other than Raylene Marybegotten, a former member of your party who you had seen slain before your very eyes just days before.

But on the morning of April 28, you discovered at the end of this hall of heads what was perhaps the dungeon's most memorable horror thus far. An enormous diamond hung suspended in mid air atop an elaborately carved pedestal bearing a sculpture of a leering, laughing devil. Before the pedestal, the floor bore an intricate, but scorched, sunburst pattern. When you approached the pedestal, the devil sculpture animated and claimed the diamond to be shield by a magical force field. In order to lower the field and recover the diamond, it told you, a single individual must stand in the sunburst and answer three riddles, the condition being that only the one in the sunburst may answer. Silas the Magic User bravely stepped forward, uttered a few obscenities, entered the sunburst, and listened to the animate sculpture recite its first riddle. Unfortunately for Silas, Bella the Monk, overcome with excitement that she knew the answer, blurted out a response to the riddle. The party then learned the consequences for answering out of turn as they looked on in horror as Silas was engulfed in a pillar of blinding flame; his screams of agony echoed down the long corridors of Witchspire Hill as his flesh melted from his bones and his eyeballs poached like eggs in his skull.

In response to this hasty outburst, Zizek the Magic User seized Bella and shoved her into the sunburst, demanding that she too answer a riddle. But while Bella knew the answer to the first of the statue's riddles, she failed to answer its second and thus found herself consigned to the same terrifyingly fiery death as Silas. At this point, some among you raised the possibility of leaving this puzzle trap behind and cutting your losses. But the lure of the fabulous diamond, hanging glittering in the air before you, proved too tempting to ignore and you pressed on with the perverse and deadly game. Thus began a grim procession as two more characters - Chalice, priestess of Veccna, and the much loved Brother Coin - entered the dreaded sunburst only to be immolated as those who had gone before had been. Spirits began to sink as the corridor filled with filthy smoke and the nauseating smell of burned flesh and rendered fat until, at last,Goram the dwarven fighter stepped forward and answered the statue's final question thereby releasing the diamond.

This is where we left off. In order to reap full xp for the gem, you must of course return with to civilization, but you are of course under no compulsion to do so.

194 xp for each surviving PC

Monday, April 26, 2010

Next Session

I will post a campaign update with experience points, but for now I just wanted to suggest either Friday May 14 or Saturday May 15 for our next date. Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Witchspire Hill: Session 1

Date: April 22-25, 1,051 HR

Our first night of play began with our hardy adventurers arriving at dusk outside the gates of Null's Harbor, principle town of the the Kingdom of Gnut. Upon entering the town, the party lost little time tracking down the truth to the rumors that had been trickling down the coast road into central and southern Thrang. After some inquiries were made at The Green Griffon tavern, the party made the acquaintance of a local jack-of-all-trades known as "Filthy Pete," who claimed to have information about the strange goings on in the Stony Brow Hills and the stories that had lured the party to Gnut.

According to Filthy Pete, five months earlier, a mysterious black tower manifested itself one night atop a remote hill know as Witchspire Hill. No one witnessed any construction of the structure - it was simply "there" one November morning. Needless to say, the bizarre occurrence created a stir when news of it reached the Null's Harbor which lay just one day's march to the west. Unable to resist the lure, a local adventuring company known as "The Wild Boys" headed out to investigate. They returned to town one week later telling tales of an extensive network of tunnels, galleries, and chambers laying beneath the tower. Significantly, they also returned with treasure in the form of gold coins, gems, and some strange and foreign looking objets d'art. After resupplying, "The Wild Boys" headed out again to investigate "The Witchspire" as locals had begun to call it. That was late November.

As of yet, they have not returned.

Following the discoveries of "The Wild Boys," two other adventuring companies - "The Undermountain Boys" and "The Bronze Dragon Adventuring Club" - set out for hill hoping to recover additional loot. Not a single member of those groups have returned either.

Despite the obvious danger, our adventurers could not resist the lure of possible treasure to be found and quickly formulated plans to set out for the Witchspire on the following morning. After some negotiations with Filthy Pete, they managed to convince him to come along as a guide and even serve as a shield bearer for Igmar Houndhaven, one of the party's magic users. Filthy Pete offered to find an additional hireling to serve as shield bearer for Silas Graylock, the party's second magic user. Pete made good on his promise and returned the following morning with an affable if somewhat dim-witted bumpkin named Dent Footknocker.

Also at the Green Griffon, the party learned from three burly dock hands about the recent execution of Gnut's Queen. Apparently, King Hardric VII, current monarch of Gnut discovered that his wife, Queen Yvonne, had been cuckolding him with her music tutor. He promptly dissolved their marriage and had her executed. But because Queen Yyvonne was sister to King of Alfonso, ruler of the Thrangian Kingdom of Eknad, a political dispute has ensued. King Alfonso is not at all happy about the execution of his sister and tensions between Gnut and Eknad are nearing a boiling point.

The following morning, the party made ready to leave town by purchasing supplies and questioning some local merchants who had purchased some goods from the Wild Boys.

But while leaving Bytor's Magic Shop, the group's two magic users, Silas and Igmar, were approached by an indiviual identifying himself as Legas who claimed to be an agent of Hezroat, a prosperous local spice merchant. After cornering the two neophyte mages for a private conversation, Legas informed them that his master, Hezroat, would pay everyone in the party 100 gp each if they returned to town with the head of Bartok, leader of "The Wild Boys." Legas offered no information concerning Hezroat's motives in offering this deal. After some discussion, Silas and Igmar took the deal, but decided to keep the deal to themselves and not tell the rest of the party.

The rest of the morning was uneventful except for the actions of Thimble, the party's thief, who took the opportunity to pilfer a silver comb from a merchant's stall in the central marker square.

The trip to the Witchspire was uneventful and the party arrived late in the afternoon on April 24.

Upon investigating the tower itself, the party discovered what appeared to be a ransacked wizard's tower. Little was learned beyond that, but the group did find a secret compartment containing a scroll and book bound in red leather, both written in a strange and unfamiliar language. After camping for the night, our adventurers finally began their descent into the regions below the tower on the following morning.

There, the group began exploration of what they presumed to be a large underground complex. And sure enough, the complex was not uninhabited. Horrid undead in the form of ghouls and a strange bull headed skeleton assailed the party within their first hour of exploration. It was here that we suffered our first loss. Rayleen Marybegotten, a female fighter, was savagely gored to death by the bull headed skeleton during the desperate, torch-lit battle. Though shaken, the party decided to continue, and after stripping Rayleen's corpse of all useful items, they did just that.

And this is where we left off, poised on the edge of the unknown mysteries and dangers that lie beneath Witchspire Hill. Nice work everyone.

Experience Points Awarded: 43 points per character. 5 bonus points go to Thimble for her theft.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Next Date

I'll post a campaign update sometime in the next few days, but for now I'd like to throw out some possibilities for our next session. How does Friday, April 16 or Saturday, April 17 sound for everyone?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Welcome to the Kingdoms of Thrang

The Kingdoms of Thrang, also known as the Thrangian Kingdoms, are a collection of minor principalities, about sixty in number that lie along the eastern edge of the Great Western Sea. [Editor’s note: For those of you who have played in the Fallen Lands before, the northernmost part of Thrang lies about 560 miles due south from the town of Southwaite on the Hrothgar Peninsula]. The region is populated mostly by humans. Thrang is characterized by rolling hills and deep valleys. Its Kings and Queens rule from dark and ominous hilltop castles and forts. The climate is warm and temperate [similar to Northern Virginia in our world], but gloomy. The towering Somber Horn Mountains that comprise Thrang’s eastern border effectively block the moisture laden west winds that blow from the sea, making the region quite rainy and almost perpetually overcast.

To call the Thrangian principalities “kingdoms” is quite generous, in fact; most have a population that averages around four to five thousand souls. But kingdoms they are nevertheless, each ruled by its own monarch and attendant aristocracy. All of these minor kingdoms share a common culture and religion, one of the main reasons for conceptually grouping them together in the first place. Moreover, most of the Royal families of Thrang have intermarried over the years, thus strengthening and reinforcing the bonds that give the region its unique and distinctive identity.
Despite this sense of commonality, however, there is seldom peace in Thrang. The Thrangian Kingdoms are given to great intrigue and rivalry. Blood feuds, plots, schemes, and outright war are common in Thrang as its various petty monarchs vie and compete in the attempt to usurp each other’s power.

[Yyrg the Bald, chief historian at Canaladaer Keep, described Thrang as existing in a state of “perpetually controlled chaos.” These remarks were made in his famous treatise on the region entitled Mandeville’s Travels: An Actual Excursion to Thrang Along with Imaginative Speculations of the Lands of the Distant South which May or May Not be Ruled by Snake Men.]

There are several reasons why the region does not simply devolve into total anarchy or gradually coalesce into increasingly larger and more powerful polities as the various kingdoms annex each other.

First, the threat of outright war is somewhat held in check by the fact the entire region is threatened from without by even greater dangers that could potentially spell the end of all the Thrangian Kingdoms. To the north lies the dreaded Wargwood Forest, home and spawning place of hordes of foul undead. To the east, Thrang is bordered by the towering Somber Horn Mountains. In one sense, these mountains are a blessing in that they shelter Thrang from the predations of the fierce Gnoll tribes that rule the Pack Lands beyond them. But, the mountains are also home to their fair share of monsters. Each spring and summer, bands of mountain Trolls, Ettins, and primitive Giants descend from the Somber Horns to raid the eastern kingdoms. To the south lie the Pirate Holdings of Zed, another source of continual danger. Given that Thrang is surrounded on all side by such threats, its ruling monarchies have naturally come to a tacit understanding that whatever their potential grievances with each other may be, it is in everyone’s best interest to collaborate militarily at some level for the common good.

Conflicts between the kingdoms thus tend to involve assassination attempts, espionage, sabotage, duels, and other forms of covert subterfuge. Nevertheless outright war between kingdoms is not unheard of.

The second, and perhaps most significant cause, for the “stabilized chaos” that characterizes Thrang is the Church of Wee Jas, Goddess of Magic and Death. This church is the official, royal religion of almost every kingdom in Thrang. According to custom, the Thrangian monarchs all rule with the divine blessing of the Goddess and the church maintains major temples in every monarch’s court. The church must sanctify every royal marriage and coronation. Make no mistake though, Thrang is not a theocracy. The church’s power, while considerable, is mostly of the “indirect” sort. It has no power to pass legislation and commands little in the way of military power. Because they lack the strength to affect a complete takeover of power, the Magician Priests of Wee Jas must be content to manipulate the political landscape from behind the scenes. But it is in their best interests to maintain the current state of fractious squabbling among the Thrangian monarchs. The more those monarchs are at each other’s throats, the easier they are for the Magician Priests to control. A strong ruler, one who amassed considerable power and allies would be threat to the power of the church. Thus, the church maintains a highly trained cadre of clerical advisors who pour honey into the ears of Thrangian kings and queens, who subtly arrange a marriage here, a poisoning there, all in the name of maintaining the status quo.

To be sure, Wee Jas is not the only deity worshipped in Thrang. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of minor deities, are worshipped by the common people. Demon and Devil worshipping cults are quite common.

Our Game begins in the Kingdom of Gnut, ruled by King Hardric the Seventh, which lies at the extreme northwestern tip of Thrang. Gnut huddles under the eaves of the feared Wargwood Forest from which the walking dead are frequently known to wander. The villages of Gnut thus have good walls and stout gates. Merchants and travelers are advised to go armed and avoid the roads at night. There are wolves, zombies, and worse things loose in the dark.

You have come here lured by the promise of adventure and treasure. Vague rumors have reached your ears that strange things are afoot and treasure has been found in the Stony Brow Hills, a rugged and desolate region that separates Gnut from its eastern neighbor, the Kingdom of Zilb. These hills are home to many weird ruins, remnants of a lost civilization that predates the rise of Thrang. Some of these ruins may hold ancient treasures. Vague, partially formed, hints have trickled southward down the coast road and reached your ears, something about a mystery in the hills and the possibility of loot.

We begin with you heading northward on route to Null’s Harbor, a port town on the Western Sea and Gnut’s principle settlement. You are several hours from your destination. It is mid afternoon and a steady drizzle falls from the nickel grey sky overhead. It is April, the cruelest month. Pray that it not be for you.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Session 1 - The Fallen Lands (RSVP ASAP)

Date: Friday, March 19 2010
Start Time: 7PM
Location: DM's Home.

*Please RSVP in the comments as soon as you can. If you need an address or directions, let the dm know in the comments as well.

It looks like we are going to freeze the dramatic fight between "The Eight" and the goblins (and other?) inhabitants of Giantscrag and start our next round of Eime campaign sessions in medias res when we return to the Island.

Our next session, then, will be devoted solely to starting our next campaign in Ironbeard's "Fallen Lands" setting. In the coming days perhaps our dm can post and/or send any campaign-related information to the players?

Finally, it would be great if all the regular players in the group weigh in on the comments about their availability on this new date...I know many of you have responded negatively to the 3/20 date, but let's try to get a March session going before we slip into April.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Next Session & Comment Test

Date: Saturday, March 20 2010
Start Time: 6PM
Location: TBD

We've been having a fairly serious comment problem of late that threatens to make the Blog a bit useless compared to other media for organizing the monthly sessions of our group. I've followed just about every help suggestion that seems relevant via Blogger/Google so I would ask that all who read this drop a quick comment so I can help determine if the problem has been solved or at least minimized.

Those in the group who still find themselves unable to comment, please send me an email.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Session 8B - Eime Campaign / Session 1 The Fallen Lands Planning (Please RSVP)

I'm still planning on posting an abbreviated summary of Session 8a before we next get together to complete the session and this round of the campaign, but in the meantime let's start talking about Session 8b and the beginning of our next campaign cycle in the Kingdom of Thrang.

I won't be free again until March 20 at the earliest, so I thought I'd take a chance and see who could make it if we held our next session next weekend. So who can make:

Date: Saturday, March 6 2010
Start Time: 6PM
Location: TBD

*Please RSVP in the comments as soon as you can.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Session 8 Planning Update - Eime Campaign (Please RSVP)

Date: Friday, February 19 2010
Start Time: 6PM
Location: The dm's humble home.

*Please RSVP in the comments as soon as you can. If you need an address or directions, let the dm know in the comments as well.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Islands of Eime Campaign - Session Summary 7

A Brief Account of the Activities of the Party in the Year 640LB, during the Fourth Week of the 10th Moon, between the Day of the Rabbit and the Day of the Weasel.

In our last session those that call themselves The Eight not surprisingly found themselves struggling to find their way through the Frowning Forest. Seeking to return to the Jinstown compound to regroup and rethink their pursuit of the retreating goblin armies, in the end it was a long abandoned Eime memorial that they found instead of the isolated refuge home of Pog Jin. And, true to form for many in the group, the decision to explore and pick through the old bones of a dead civilization took precedence to rescuing the kidnapped Steevin Jin. At the end of our evening of adventuring the party had fully explored this "Memorial to the Ones First Lost" - including using considerable cunning to gain access through its magically sealed door and to its secret crypt area.

After having fled the devil in the dark, our adventurers debated and decided their best bet given the late hour and lack of visibility was to follow the purr of the Brass feline statue first discovered in the tomb of Sybil the Lachrymose. The Eight walked on through the dark trees well into the evening "following" the sound, and, as it turned out, walked well longer than sense suggested proper if they had indeed been heading in the direction of Jinstown.

Our heros then attempted to reconsider what to do once it had become undeniable that they were lost. Besides an obvious 360 degree turn and return in the believed direction of the amphitheater and hideous Bone Devil, the party's female monk Lilyak sought out moss on the surrounding trees that might suggest a north/south direction. Upon discovering that a thick black moss covered a wide swath of trees in their entirety - thus being no help in distinguishing north from south - the two magic users of the group were struck by an unknown magical power that deprived them of their entire memory of the last 24 hours; including, most importantly, their knowledge of the spells and proper incantations they had prepared that very morning.

As a result of this sudden unexpected and unexplained weakening of the party in an already precarious position, The Eight prepared to make camp and wait for better luck to prevail in the morning sunlight, however defused it might be through the veil of the high forest canopy. It was at this point that Drin the fighter, on reconnaissance of the area immediately surrounding the camp, abruptly stumbled upon an impressive sight: a near 18 foot tall wall of heavy Eime brass that jutted out from the tree line and blocked their path. The perimeter of this giant wall - covered in layer upon layer of thick and jagged intimidating-looking thorns - was traced by the party and by their best guess determined to be a complete ring or circle extending some 90 feet in diameter. Having a well-justified concern for their safety should they expose themselves with a camp in the open, the group made a deliberate and patient scaling of the the wall of this imposing ring and hoped to use its inside perimeter for protection from the general horrors of the Frowning Forest.

On the inside of the ring The Eight found a serene and beautiful garden of luxurious grasses with a gentle and satisfying aroma. At the center of the deep and thick and unblemished grass garden lay a collapsed stone structure with only a single tall metal candle stick positioned directly at its center, itself topped with a large candle that appeared to have never been lit. After setting up a guard schedule, the party retired to an evening under a nearly opaque sky while reclining on the most comfortable of plots of land they had found on the Island.

The morning of the Day of the Weasel brought the discovery by fighting man Ayak Akai of a simple 3ft by 3ft flat and plain panel or plaque of brass inlaid in floor of the stone monument. Akai's gaze seemed to trigger the emergence of an Eime sentinel face that greeted his countenance and the faces of those around him with the exclamation: "We are glad you have come back to us. The sisters forgive everything...If you but ask and show us your true faces." This statement was addressed to the names "Cassia the Wistful" and "Luir the Intemperate". With a flash of insight, Akai recalled the casual gift of two white masks The Eight had received from the Lord Mayor of Colony Company Town 2. These masks were made of a strange light painted wood in the shape of faces exaggerated in their elongated features. Nearly one month earlier Newbold Philo had referred to these masks as "Elven" in origin, so the fighter Akai and the magic user Gwyd donned the two masks in the possession of the party and starred back at the face in the floor.

The crackling of crust built up on a mechanism after eons of disuse followed, and the stone plate dropped away revealing a few stone stairs down into an unknown darkness. Understandably curious, the adventurers followed the opening down into a tomb structure that, to the extent a glance may reveal, seemed considerably older than the resting place of Sybil the Lachrymose they had found within the Boundless Buckle mine. As they moved down the stairs en masse and began to take note of all significant details, none other than the fighter Akai whose quick thinking had gained them access in the first place found himself triggering a pit trap to open beneath him and which dropped him some 20 feet deep into a thick pool of an awful liquid. After a brief encounter with some water-born rats, and the discovery of a rusting but not ancient suit of plate mail armor, Ayak Akai was pulled back to safety and the party continued to explore the strange antechamber before them.

Beyond the pit they found a slightly large room with a door along one wall, a statue of the Goddess Eime along another, and an roughly carved but unadorned stone wall to the left of the statue of the goddess in the pose for which she is most often represented: drowning Pelor's children in a garden well. The large door appeared to be composed of iron and although no obvious hinges could be located, three large metals dials could be discerned along with four identical groups of symbols set around each dial. The statue had written along its base in the Eime script the inscription "I've Returned for I am Sorry" and a noticeable leftward orientation to its left hand and its overall gaze.

The monk Lilyak - again proving herself brave and useful to her comrades at arms - stepped forward, Spear in hand, and repeated the words on the inscription into the open ear of the statue, introducing herself as the barrier of one of the weapons first used by elf to murder elf. At this declaration, the statue shifted subtly and pronounced a puzzle to the group:

"Once to the Left, and One Small Step Down.
Twice to the Right and Your Salvation is Found.
Embrace Any Other Path, My Sister
And to Oblivion Your Soul is Bound."

For several minutes the party pondered this strange polysemousness. Taking a chance that its left/right reference was to the strange iron door and its dials, the party pressed upon the magic user Cleg's adjutant Smutty Booth to test their interpretive readings by setting the dials to their direction while the party removed itself back up the stairs for safety's sake. After promising the reluctant young man Booth a share in the total haul from the contents of this particular delving, he stepped forward and seized the chance to show his fellows and his master his true mettle. And as he set the last of the three dials into position in accordance with his master's instructions, The Eight collectively gasped as Smutty Booth of County Cash simply ceased to exist before them.

It took the party just over four minutes of great suspense to find their way to Smutty's prison. In this time the party successfully solved the puzzle spoken by the goddess made possible by the invaluable suggestion of the Drin the fighter that the party disregard the iron door altogether and search instead for trace of a secret door on the one bare wall that was to the left of the brass statue of the beautiful and young filicidal goddess. This search, in turn, lead the group into a secret passage and, even further, to a secret door within the passage itself. Leading the way at several turns - vocally if not physically - was the normally reserved Finneaus Cleg who stopped at several times to call out for his missing comrade in the hopes that his reply might guide their pursuit.

Once they had decoded the initial riddle of the statue, the party lost little time in moving through the rest of the small complex of rooms and soon after they entered the largest room they'd yet encountered; a vaulted room filled with 10 stone sarcophagi. Ominously named "Ten to Replace the Ones First Lost", this room was scavenged and our heroes found more than minor reason for rejoicing in the discovery of the weakened and seriously dazed but still very much alive Smutty Booth sealed in one of the tombs pinned along with several other human skeletons.

The elation at the rescue of young man Booth was palpable among many of The Eight when even his master had come to fear for the worst. But this elation was short-lived as the group found itself immediately set upon by pack of jackal-like creatures that attempted to storm into the room as The Eight braced to defensively open the large doors that blocked the end of their path. These creatures, resembling jackals with black fur, burnt with a black/red fire that shed no light and looked black when viewed in the fire light of the adventurers. Acting and seeming as other undead act and seem in most ways, these fierce creatures were unlike most other undead in at least two notable ways in that they seemed only minimally corrupted and rotted, and, what was worst of all, that the black fire that surrounded these beasts could stream forth and envelope other creatures, doing minimal damage, but damage none the less to several party members.

Of all members, Ayak Akai took the brunt of this damage. This is because the group agreed to position the fighter in the narrow neck of the passage to act as a human breakwater against the encroaching jackal-beasts, beating them back with foot and sword both. Akai lasted a great many rounds in this highly vulnerable position, and to his credit destroyed several of these savage undead beasts before he eventually succumbed to cumulative damage and was forced to retreat to the back ranks of the party. As the few remaining "Hydu" (a small scroll later discovered would reveal their name to be) pressed into the room the party was able to dispatch them handily given the work of the fighter Akai.

In the final room of the memorial complex The Eight found a large pedestal, a chest made assembled bones, and ten humanoid skeletons posed in position of guard about the chest, frozen yet each baring a sword that marked them potentially dangerous. Agro the Axe suggested the warriors of the party take up position around these creatures and when the step from Drin onto the pedestal triggered their attack, the adventurers were well positioned to easily dispatch these weak undead foes before any serious damage could accrue to any party members.

In the final stages of the exploration of the memorial, while other members busied themselves attempted to break open the unfamiliar lock on the chest of bone, the fighter Drin stepped away from the party to explore the area immediately behind the central pedestal and in the processes stepped on a pressure plate that set to opening a large drawer anchored itself with a long femur that seemed to serve as a decorative handle. Out of this space emerged the awful Gibbering Mouther that save a tremendous stroke of good fortune would have surely taken her life. Our evening came to an end with the party coming to the quick rescue of the unconscious Drin and removing its newly acquired loot back towards the opening of the complex.

Total XP per PC (not including individual XP bonuses): 411

Session 7 - Hero of the Night

Hi all - Can we have some discussion and final votes in the comments from folks regarding their choices for "Hero of the Night"?

There are clearly lots of good choices, and I've posted some insightful comments on the subject by Andy in the comments to get us started. Please vote early and often as is your pleasure.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

First, a Word from the Mouther

Because I am just that kind of obsessive personality: I thought I would throw up a quick apology (in the strict classical sense) regarding a mistake I made very very late into our last session on Saturday night.

For better or worse for players, I take a little pride in not pulling punches when death truly is on the line in a game. Above all, I think players should know that that the PCs live in a dangerous world where death is always possible. Even more, I think there is a kind of justice to the rule of the arbitrary dice in these circumstances. My sense is (although I could be wrong about this) that players learn to respect the choice not to fudge or change rolls for no reason other than to benefit the PC in situations where death is a likely result, and, even more, that they can become quite peeved if they perceive that this Rule of the Abritrary isn't uniformly applied to all. If all feel themselves equally subject to the capricious determination of the dice, then, somehow, the rule of the dice seems less capricious and even less arbitrary as if (again, somehow!) a little bit deserved.

At the very end of the final encounter of a long night of gaming, the latest addition to the adventuring party - a plucky female fighter named Drin - acted perhaps a bit rashly and found the tables had turned on her more quickly than she had anticipated. One moment the party found itself victors over 10 skeleton "Ones First Lost" and almost counting their treasure, only to be immediately faced with a terrible Gibbering Mouther. Drin found herself strategically cut off from the rest of the group, opening herself up to at least one attack from this awful creature before she could retreat.

Again, let me emphasize that it was very very late at this point.

But as I rolled the six attack rolls (see my exhibit 1 from the ad&d Monster Manual II above) I mistakenly attributed 3 points of damage to each of the 3 mouths of the mouther that successfully attached themselves to Drin, and then announced to the group that Drin had suffered a total of 9 points of damage that round. Drin's player Julia quickly announced at this point that Drin had died as a result of that damage, having had sustained a wound in the earlier combat and only having had 3 hit points left before the Gibbering Mouther attacked. I don't think I am alone in saying that this came as a complete surprise to me. I had sort of thoughtlessly assumed that Drin might be crippled by the surprise attack, but capable of living to fight another day. And I don't think I was the only one thinking that.

Given how surprised several of us were at the announcement of Drin's sudden death, my realization moments later that I had incorrectly calculated the damage of each of the Mouther's mouths (since each mouth = 1 point damage and not 3 as I had mistakenly assumed, then the correct total was 3 mouths = 3 points damage) no doubt sounded like it must have been too good to be true. Rather than dead, our new adventurer Drin is only knocked unconscious and does indeed live to fight another day. Understandable sidelong glances predictably followed from my correction of my mistake. Could it be the DM so brazenly changed a roll?

And I also suspect that Julia herself is the kind of player who would object soundly to undeserved treatment of behalf of her character. So I also wanted to explain this event and to post the creature's stat block to remove any doubt from all minds. (I'm sure you've all lost sleep over this issue). As you can plainly read above, there is no way that during the first round that the six mouths the mouther used to attack could generate 9 points of damage. At maximum, had all six mouths struck, 6 points of damage could have been done that first round. And, given my error at the time, I would have called this 18 points of damage. Deadly stuff, those Mouthers. But 18 points is pretty steep for a creature of its challenge level (so is 9 points for only 50% hit rate) so I suspect that I would have been tipped off to re-read the stat block either way.

Rest assured, however, that this judgmental DM still blames Drin's very near demise on her own impetuous grab for just a bit more before the night ended. Just wanted to make it clear that he is not responsible for Drin's near-miraculous survival. The Rule of the Arbitrary is still firmly in place.

Thanks for another great night of gaming, everyone. Session summary to follow shortly.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Session 7 Planning - Eime Campaign (Please RSVP)

Date: Saturday, January 30, 2010
Start Time: 6PM
Location: Batman 1970's place

*Please RSVP in the comments as soon as you can. If you need and address or directions, please let Bat know in the comments as well.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Islands of Eime Campaign - Session Summary 6

A Brief Account of the Activities of the Party in the Year 640LB, during the Fourth Week of the 10th Moon, between the Day of the Dog and the Day of the Rabbit.

10th Month continues to prove itself cruelest on the Island of Eime. Far from their homes, surrounded by treacherous slavers, secret organizations, and wild goblins that breed like cockroaches in the many cracks of the great Eastern Mountains, the adventuring party that calls itself The Eight moved 24 hours closer to end of their first month on the island. A day earlier they were hired body guards serving a supporting role in a straightforward transportation mission. As the exploration and negotiation this session continued, the party changed its purpose and now found itself acting as the de facto special operations forces for this reclusive and tight-lipped (even if friendly) community of deep-forest homesteaders.

And, perhaps more importantly, the session ended with the adventurers in full flight and retreat into a dangerous and virtually unknown forest well after the sun had set. Such a choice would appear unwise or hasty in all but the most extreme circumstance. The discovery of the party by a devil made of bone whilest they had busied themselves looting its treasure convinced The Eight that such drastic measures were required in this particular instance. The dm humbly agrees with the collective judgement of the party on this matter.

Aron, Gwyd the Silver-Tongued, Corbin the Grey Haired, Finneas Cleg, Agro the Axe, Ayak, and Lilyak the Monk ably proved themselves in their collective defense of the homestead of Jinstown as our session opened. The patriarch of Jinstown - the ever-convivial Pog Jin - provided support to the group with some precious supplies of Eime weaponry (apparently horded by his father's original adventuring gang nearly 4 decades earlier). And The Eight also made good use of the green but motivated townsfolk, including two of Pog Jin's own sons, Markus and Palus, in their careful and well-reasoned pre-assault planning. But it was clearly their deliberate tactical preparations that made their defense of the homestead relatively easy. Despite attempts to draw the PCs out into the open, our adventurers held their position and forced a bottle neck in what seemed to be the first wave of goblin assault. Add to this some strong work with bows fired from positions high in the Great Hall and behind the palisade as well as the clever idea to light the entire battle field so as to negate the goblins' natural advantage and, for the first time since the very first session, not a single PC or NPC in their direct service died during the night.

Through some thoughtful dialog with Pog Jin, the PCs were given access to an ancient scrap of Eime parchment that appeared to be a letter from one "Sister Emmel of the Great Mother Island Elves". This letter, long an incidental part of Mug Jin's cache, describes a withdrawal of the Eime elves to a mountain "retreat" called Lilymar at some unknown point in the past. It also instructs that all available treasure should be brought for safety to Lilymar in its secret location, as well as "all available of your children to feed the One." One result of reading this ancient billet was the successful search by Finneas Cleg for a tapestry in the Jin collection that responded to the needle he had received as a gift from a Weaver in Stonewell. In point of fact, Cleg found two such tapestries in Jinstown (as well as the suggestion of a third) and each responded to the touch of the needle by magically revealing a map hidden in the fine threadwork. Unfortunate as it is for our party, it was not immediately obvious to anyone just what place this map depicts.

When additional waves of the goblin assault failed to materialize, the PCs learned that Steevin Jin - the brother they had left behind them on the trail to Jinstown through the Frowning Forest - had himself been kidnapped by a goblin assault force after The Eight had left his side. As a result of his brother's kidnapping, Pog Jin showed the party fear and worry for the first time. At this time Pog Jin also tried to further secure the aid of our adventurers by digging deeply into his father's weapons cache, and offered to each of them a weapon of absolutely unique construction. Swords that do additional damage and give bonus to attack, spears that wrench flesh and return when thrown, small metalworks that scurry over the body and make themselves at home there...all designs beyond most imaginations of the ordinary people of Emerick. And yet all the members of our party - having only just glimpsed Pog's great book - would feel justified in thinking that these gifts were only drops in a great well that is this man's collection of relics and exotic weaponry - the sum total results of a lifetime spent picking the lowest of the lowest hanging fruit on Eime.

The rest of the session was spent with the party exploring the remains of three now-deserted goblin camps that were discovered just beyond the tree line. In addition to pieces of a letter to the three goblin-kings Onox, Mirt, Onnag by someone calling him/herself "Arnot the Young" that strongly suggest that the collaboration of the various tribes present during this aborted assault were ordered by another party entirely, in effort to gain access to some "Toyalis Tapestries". Also, the exploration of the three camps revealed several goblins corpses (each wearing inferior leather armor with crude blades in red chalk across the chest) piled together with their throats slit and two divergent paths leading away from the goblin camps. It was determined that one path was chiefly marked by the prints of horses stolen from Jinstown and the other marked exclusively by the large majority of retreating goblin foot soldiers.

Some might think it odd, but rather than exploring either of these two options, The Eight took a chance and followed instead the strange and unexpected "purr" of the brass cat they had discovered a week earlier during the exploration of the tomb of Sybil the Lachrymose. Here, deep in the forest, the statue lead them to discover what appeared to the party to be a "piece" or fragment of the Brass Rail highway (a highway that all current inhabitants of the island believe ends miles to the south and west of their current location, by the way). Not sure what to make of their discovery, the party followed it, even going so far as to forego their chance to return to Jinstown before the sun falls.

Stuck somewhere deep within the Frowning Forest, The Eight followed this lost section of the Brass Rail as it lead them to ancient Eime outdoor amphitheater built out of the side of a small rock outcropping in the Frowning Forest. As they approached, the party happened upon a small light in a third floor window, as well as a young woman's scream from the stage area of the theater. After a very quick search of the area (and the evasion of a giant centipede discovered in the basement), our heros made their way through the theater at a quick pace, finding the body of a young women suspended by chains directly above the stage, with several deep-set wounds designed to allow her blood to drip away from her and flow down to a lower, basement level.

Exhibiting a lack of even the slightest of desires to give the recently deceased minimal respect in death, the party left the young woman's still-warm corpse hanging where they discovered her, and sought to finish its search for the third floor light they had seen on their approach. In the process of this search the crew encountered (and defeated) an aging, drunkard magic-user calling himself Lazlo who attempted to shrug off a drug-induced cloudy head. Helping themselves to his property (including a strange tomb bearing the title "Gruumsh's Ineffable Malice"), various members of The Eight expressed interest in a Lazlo's dying comments about "his pet" and decided that the party was sufficiently strong to press on to the lowest level of the theater and finish their survey of the building.

One locked door and one secret stone door under the ampitheater stage later, the members of The Eight set their eyes on what is likely to have been the single largest pile of coin and jewel they had ever seen prior. There it sat, apparently for the taking, and the group hesitated only a moment before rushing forward to take a share. And while each party member was able to quickly fill their pockets and spare bags with precious stones and gold coin, just as soon as they had each taken their share an enormous Bone Devil burst into the area and gave immediate chase and our prudent adventurers turn and fled into the night.

Total XP per PC (not including individual XP bonuses): 989


Thanks again to all who were able to make it. If you were a player in Session 6, it is very important that you take a moment and cast your vote in the comments for the player that you think deserves the bonus xp for the session. In a couple of cases this might make the difference between leveling up or not, so please share your thoughts asap.

Looking forward to the 30th and to a virtual session whenever enough of our players let me know their interested.