Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Status Update

So last game session was a character making session for a hiatus campaign during the hiatus in the previous hiatus campaign from the Barrowmaze campaign hiatus [see the sidebar to download the Barrowmaze Using ACKS Session Notes or here to read through on this blog].  We will be playing through the Shattered Star adventure path using Pathfinder 1E.  I think we will play through the first part of the adventure over the next month or two, possibly 3, until I can get ahead on my adventure writing for the Delvers Guild campaign.  I need to write up the remaining available gate locations and some other stuff before the players get to them and that will take more time than I have on a weekly basis right now.

Did I mention we're all playing Ratfolk?  More on that in later posts.

As we didn't actually play last week and might finish character builds this week (two of the players were missing last week), I didn't want to leave y'all hanging with no posts.  If you'd like something to read in the interim, please try my other blog Adventures in the Green, where I'm chronicling a monthly campaign I'm running while fiddling with the OD&D rules.  I've returned to Dyson's Delve as most of the players in this group were not part of the group that played through it nearly 10 years ago.  Session 1 has been posted in two parts and Session 2, Part 1, should post later this week.

I'm writing my own OD&D clone (called Adventures in the Green, naturally), highlighting the odd aspects of what is actually in the original rules and adding some additional bits that seem like natural fits (like the Fatality Table and the Tampering with Mortality tables from Adventurer, Conqueror, King System).  The first part of what I'm doing is re-organizing the existing rules because, dear lord, they are a mess.  Greyharp's Single Volume Edition [Google it - I'm not certain about the propriety of posting a link directly to it] is helpful here, but I'm also adding some things from the Supplement I and Greyharp only did the three LBB.

Finally, I'm giving serious thought to turning on the Google ads feature on this blog.  I've resisted doing so for a long while, but to be frank, I could use a little extra income right now, even if it is just a trickle.  I'll be investigating the options and controls over the next couple of weeks, but I will likely activate the ads sometime in November.  Let me know if you have any opinions on the subject, especially if you've done the same.  I'd like to hear if there are any pitfalls to avoid.

Later!



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 16 – Expedition Wrap-up

[The Delvers get the loot from the Pyramid Crypt and make their way back to Aegea so they don’t miss any classes!]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened October 14, 2019.]


Player Characters:
Ricky the Astrologer – human male – has a thirst for knowledge but doesn’t know what he’s searching for, currently studying Astrology at Monarch University
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek the Red – fox male – a cerebrally-unfettered spell researcher [read: Mad Scientist] turned into a talking fox, studying Natural Philosophy at Monarch University to find a way to become human again
Nick Stalwart – human male – part of the Stalwart family of merchants, studying Mathematics at The Interesting Institute of Profitable People, a college at Monarch University

Non-Player Characters:
Torsten, Fish, Harek – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild
Orm Axethrower – driver of the guild’s over-sized, double-decker vardo


Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
~7:00 PM at gate location 3-2 (Elven Graveyard)
Having taken out the last of the eight skeletons with skulls wreathed in blue flame, most of the Delvers spent some time putting out the flames in the elven cemetery.  The sun had recently set and finding the embers was easy once the flames themselves were under control.  Zarek was still down in the Pyramid Crypt, investigating the entry area to [what he hoped was] the true crypt.  He reported [through the Ear Rings of Communication] the chamber was clear of threats, but the door to the next area was a stone slab.

The Delvers set iron spikes into the floor at the top of the pit the led to the entrance area of the true crypt.  Vorgand tied off the third rope they had used so far on this crypt [the previous two were incinerated the two times the flame spout trap at the entrance to the false crypt had been triggered] and dropped the other end down the pit.  She then climbed down the rope, past the illusionary false floor 30-feet down, and stepped into the entry of the true crypt another ten feet down.  Ricky used his Shadow-Jump spell to teleport down to the crypt entrance while Nick followed Vorgand down the rope.  Clarence and Jala stayed at the surface with the torchbearers.  [Neither player was available, so their characters took background positions this session.]

Zarek and Ricky inspected the stone slab blocking their path forward.  It seemed safe to them so Ricky took the sledge hammer and started breaking the slab.  Vorgand appraised the pots the skeletons had emerged from and pronounced them valuable enough to take as loot.

After 20 minutes of hammering at the slab, Ricky broke through.  The space beyond was a 10-foot square room with intricate geometric patterns on the walls.  In the center of the floor was another round pit.  Looking down they could see the pit descended another 30 feet into a chamber of some sort.  Zarek dropped a piece of stone debris from the door down the pit and observed the stone bounce normally on the floor, indicating it was real and not another illusion.

Yet another rope was secured to an iron spike driven into the door jamb and dropped down the pit.  Zarek floated down first [using his ever-present flight spell] and Vorgand followed on the rope.  When they landed safely, Ricky and Nick followed.

The lower chamber was 20-feet square and the walls were also decorated with the same intricate geometric design, but these designs were painted on with pigment made from crushed gemstones.  The back half of the room contained a stone sarcophagus painted with the same crushed-gemstone pigments.  The top was carved to resemble an elf with an eye patch resting in his final repose.

Vorgand asked Ricky to open the sarcophagus, but the stone lid was too heavy for even his strength alone.  She sheathed her rapier and helped him remove the lid and set it aside with an eye towards removing the crushed gemstone pigment for possible later sale.

Inside the sarcophagus was the remains of an elf.  Next to the corpse was a small, bejeweled jewelry case, a scroll case, and a horn with a cork plug.  On the corpse was a skull-shaped ring, a silvery metal eye patch [later determined to be mithril], and a button that stood out from the ragged clothing for being in pristine condition.  Zarek cast Detect Magic and the button, ring, eye patch, and horn glowed in his sight, indicating they were magical.  The items were carefully removed from the corpse and Vorgand examined them to see if she could work out their use while the group rested.

While Vorgand was examining those, Zarek opened the scroll case and found a vellum scroll that radiated magic.  Ricky inspected the interior of the sarcophagus and located a concealed compartment.  Inside was a small leather pouch.  Inside it were 500 identical gold coins that appeared freshly stamped.  Inspecting one of the coins, Ricky read the High Elven markings on it and determined the elven face on the front was that of Emperor Urbez of the Timeless Mesa.  Ricky had no idea who that was, which suggested that the coins were old enough to be valuable antiques themselves.

Vorgand was unable to identify any of the magic items without any reference books and so they were all packed up in the loot sack.  As the Delvers were preparing to leave, Zarek finally opened the bejeweled jewelry box to see if anything was inside it.  He discovered a pair of Ear Rings of Communication, the very thing the Delvers had been looking for.  [There was a point as the GM where I thought they were going to sell the jewelry box without ever opening it and I was consternated, thinking they’d miss the whole point for this gate location.]  They now had four sets of the ear rings and only needed two more before they could explore the moon base as a group.  [Reminder: The ear rings also provide breathable air for the wearer as a secondary power.]

The Delvers worked their way back to the surface, retrieving their ropes as they went.  Back on the surface the group returned to the gate and passed through it back to the lowest level of the Moon Manor Ruins.  Once everyone was through the gate, the control cubes were set to the Moon Base location and the couch was stashed there to preserve it for the next time the Delvers were back.  The gate was then de-powered by removing the power gem.  The stone control cubes were returned to the pedestal cabinet and the Delvers left the Gate Room.  [One of the Delvers took the power gem with them, but I don’t have a note as to who exactly that was.]  The Delvers then made the trek back to the surface of the Moon Manor Ruins.

Back on the surface they returned to their camp in the old chapel and rested.  They discovered it was well past sunset here, approaching midnight.  As much of the gear and loot was packed into the guild’s over-sized, double-decked vardo for the trip back to town.  Watches were set for the remainder of the night and the expedition settled down to sleep.

Yggsday, October 26th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Before Dawn
The Delvers awoke and packed up the last of their gear before the sun rose.  They paid the torchbearers for the weekend’s work and asked what supplies needed to be brought next week for the camp.  Torsten [the leader of the torchbearers] requested chicken wire for a coop for the chickens to keep them safe, some roofing tiles and nails to repair the chapel ceiling so it wouldn’t drip on the campsite, and some additional fencing timber to enclose the main courtyard.  The goats were about done grazing out the inner courtyard and would need to be moved to the outer courtyard for a while.  Nick took down the list of supplies and then the Delvers climbed aboard the vardo and left.

Just before Noon
The Delvers arrived at Little Wytheford in the vardo and had Orm Axethrower drive it to the Stalwart family warehouse.  Nick arranged with Konrad Moonclub, the Stalwart family chief factor in Little Wytheford, for the storage of the vardo and purchase of the supplies Torsten requested.  The Delvers then hustled over to the Noon ferry back to Aegea City, just making it before the ferry set sail.  Most of the Delvers spent the afternoon-long ferry ride across Dragon Bay to Aegea City snoozing due to the late night.

5:00 PM
The ferry arrived at the docks of Aegea.  They went over to Vorgand’s apartment so she could access her reference books and identify the magic items in the loot bag.  Most of the magic items were apportioned out based on who could use them best or needed them.  Only two of the items were slated for later sale: the Arrow of Rage [+1 OCV in combat, with chance to become enraged and gain some additional bonuses and penalties] and the Bracers of Archery [+1 OCV with bows and crossbows and +2 Range Levels].  The Arrow was deemed to hazardous to keep around and no one used bows or crossbows, so the Bracers were not useful to the group.

7:00 PM
Finished with Guild business for the weekend, the Delvers went to The Library for drinks and some street food for dinner.

End of Session


[First, apologies for the gap in posting.  We missed two sessions of play, first due to me being ill and then half the group being out for multiple reasons, both fun and work related.]

[Second, I am taking a hiatus as the active GM so I can get ahead of the players in my planning.  I came up with the idea for the gate and the control cubes, thinking the PCs would explore all the options off the first cube before adding a second cube to explore off of and sketched out what was at the other end of the six primary gate settings.  They immediately started with the second cube settings.  Sigh.  As my “make stuff up on the fly” is OK, I’ve kept up with them so far, but I’m much better as a GM when I take the time to plan things out.  Therefore the Other GM will run a short intermission using 1st Edition Pathfinder for 4-6 weeks, allowing me to get ahead in my planning and writing for this campaign.  I will be posting session notes from that campaign as an Intermission here.]


Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13
Session 14
Session 15


Session 17 [Campaign on Writing Hiatus]


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 15 – Fight of the Blue Skeletons

[The Delvers fight for their lives against the guardians of the Pyramid Crypt!]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened September 23, 2019.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dusk Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek the Red – fox male – a cerebrally-unfettered spell researcher [read: Mad Scientist] turned into a talking fox, studying Natural Philosophy at Monarch University to find a way to become human again
Ricky the Astrologer – human male – has a thirst for knowledge but doesn’t know what he’s searching for, currently studying Astrology at Monarch University
Nick Stalwart – human male – part of the Stalwart family of merchants, studying Mathematics at The Interesting Institute of Profitable People, a college at Monarch University

Non-Player Characters:
Torsten, Fish, Harek – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild


Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
~6:30 PM at gate location 3-2, the Pyramid Crypt
Zarek, down in the True Crypt had just awoken the guardians of the crypt, eight skeletons whose skulls burn with blue flame!  He’s heard of these [Knowledge Skill: Monsters] but also noticed these are human skeletons in an elven graveyard.  He relayed what was happening to Vorgand and Jala via the communication ear rings.  Jala’s response was, “Fly, you fool!”

Zarek turned and fled, flying out the short passage, back up the pit to the surface, and out the entrance passage.  There he conferred with the other Delvers on how to deal with the blue flame skeletons.  While the group talked, several heard the skritch-skritch sounds of the skeletons using their claws to climb the pit.  Zarek gave a quick explanation on all he knew about blue flame skeletons, including their ability to throw their skulls, which would explode on impact and then reform so they could be thrown again.

Before the Delvers had a plan ready, Torsten called out a warning – the skeletons were about to exit the crypt!

Vorgand fearlessly stepped to the entrance of the crypt and performed a perfect Steel Serpent Throw [Martial Throw attack], flinging the lead skeleton back into the crypt.  The flying skeleton knocked over the three behind it and then fell into the pit.  Vorgand could see a blue glow from the pit and called out a warning that more of the skeletons were climbing up.

During the ensuing fight, the Delvers learned that the explosions from the thrown flame skulls was very localized and their magical defenses were high enough to withstand the damage except when the skeletons got a good hit in [rolled high or hit the head or vitals location].  Vorgand was able to keep the skeletons bottled in the crypt entrance.  The other Delvers cast attack spells at the skeletons that did a little more damage than the skeletons could defend against.

As the Delvers gradually wore down and destroyed the skeletons, the last of the skeletons shifted tactics and triggered the flame trap.  Vorgand was caught in the flame spout and knocked unconscious!  The flame spout also finished burning through a tree opposite the entrance to the crypt and it started to fall.  Ricky used his great strength and his axe to bias the falling tree just enough so that it fell to the side of the pyramid crypt and not on it and Vorgand.  The skeletons, now glowing like coals in a fire, advanced out of the pit.

Zarek chose this point to fly down the pit and investigate the false crypt.  He flew past the skeletons and the trigger point of the flame spout.  There he found the false crypt was indeed false, merely a mock-up designed to lure the unwary in and trigger the spout.

Vorgand woke back up in time to fling the skeletons back into the pit.  She had Clarence cast a protection spell on her and stepped into the crypt.  She observed the skeletons climbing back up the pit from the bottom.  She had a plan.  She warned the Delvers she was going to trigger the spout on purpose.  She picked up a piece of…something soot covered…and waited for the last three skeletons to climb above the level of the illusionary floor.  She then threw the soot-covered something at the visible side passage [entrance to the false crypt] and triggered the flame spout!

From Zarek’s view in the false crypt entrance, he saw the soot-covered something land, the power runes flash red, and the flame spout erupt from the runes and blow out and up the pit.  It got a bit warm, but he was otherwise unharmed.  Good to know!

Vorgand stood at the top of the pit, the flames washing over her.  The protective spell held and averted the brunt of the damage and she was able to remain conscious.  She saw the burning remains of the skeletons fall loosely into the pit, below the illusionary floor.  After a few tens of seconds she was satisfied the skeletons were no longer animate.  The rest of the Delvers started putting out fires to avoid burning down the entire forest.

[I wonder if anyone noticed the big fire...]

End of Session

[This session was nothing but the fight.  This is one of the weaknesses of the Hero System – fights take time to play out.  Additionally, both sides were just doing enough damage to get through, but not much more than that.  This made the fight take even longer, going nearly four full turns.]

[Next session will be the looting of the crypt and then the return to Aegea for classes.]


Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13
Session 14


Session 16 [Not Written Yet]