Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Sudden Sea –Session 21

[Night of May 23 – Clouds gather over Mouzaki]

[This game uses the Hero System Fifth Revised Edition (FREd) roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened February 12, 2024.]

[This adventure takes place on the continent of Terik, two years after the appearance of the Sudden Sea.  The PCs are refugees seeking a better life through adventuring.]

 

Player Characters

Sorvia of Stavros – female human ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Tharduk Lavabreath – male dwarf glassmaker from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom, had a glass shop in County Modon that is now underwater, literally

Kadruth Worldbender – male dwarf priest, serving He Who Protects, from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom

Anomin – female human shapeshifter, from lots of places, most recently County Modon

Islo Redgrass – male elf ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Via Roll20

Inserrant – female human musician, player of zills (finger cymbals) and singer

 

Spring

Moonday, May 23, 56 I.C.

Noon

Anomin flew out of Mouzaki in crow form to find Inserrant and verify she was OK. After searching for a while, Anomin located Inserrant at the adventurers favorite drinking place in the refugee camps.  Inserrant explained she spent the night keeping the thousands of refugees from outright rioting.  Anomin told Inserrant that the prisoners were in the hands of the Count and the adventurers were waiting on payment before leaving the town.  She advised Inserrant to lay low and be ready to leave.

After updating Inserrant, Anomin flew back to the rest of the adventurers at the Blue Pig inside Mouzaki.  By the time she arrived, Tharduk was done writing up his report.  It was factual and covered most of what the adventurers had learned about the bandits, but left out some details.  [My notes are not specific as to what he left out, but I believe it was the existence of the bandit town.  Unfortunately, I have no player notes on this session so I am forced to embroider my skimpy notes with my memory.]

1:00 PM

The adventurers left the Blue Pig.  Islo, Sorvia, and Tharduk headed to the sheriff's office while Anomin and Kadruth went to the Post Office to look for delivery contracts to Nomi and Galanti.

When Islo, Sorvia, and Tharduk arrived at the Sheriff’s Office they found it very busy.  Sergeant Greenpike was busy-gruff and waved them through to Sheriff Raptis’ office, stating he was waiting on them.

Sitting with Sheriff Raptis was another man, modestly dressed, but Tharduk could tell the material his clothes were made of was the highest quality.  Sheriff Raptis introduced the other man as Lord Loukas, who “advises the Count on security”.  They were both interested in the additional information the adventurers had about the bandits.

The adventurers loosely described what information they had, which led to negotiating the reward for the information.  Once that was settled, Tharduk presented the report he had written up, which included names and descriptions of Green Hand operatives in Pedino and the farms north of the crossroads, the location of a fort in the hills north of the County Road, and the likely occupants of the fort.  Then Tharduk brought up that the adventurers had a coded message book from Pedino and the heliograph used there.

In the end the adventurers were paid 200 gc of the intelligence on how the bandits operated and their locations and an additional 50gc for the message books and heliograph, all of this on top of the 200 gc bounty for Paraskevi and the 2 gc for the other bandit.  Payment was in the form of 9 tradebars worth 50gc each and 2 loose gold coins.  [Tradebars are sort of like bearer bonds in that they can be taken to most merchant guild locations and be converted into coins or goods of equal value.  They are much more portable than the equivalent value in coins, making them ideal for merchants and adventurers.]

After the meeting, Sorvia and Tharduk headed over to the Merchant’s Guild while Islo made his way back to the Blue Pig.

At the Post Office, Kadruth and Anomin spoke with the Bounty Clerk and asked if there were any jobs delivering mail to Nomi or Galanti.  The clerk told them there were contracts for both.  The delivery to Nomi pays 2gc and is due June 7 and the delivery to Galanti pays 8gc and is due June 21.  Both pay 10% up front with chits to be redeemed upon delivery.  Kadruth accepted both contracts and signed for the group, listing out the names of the rest of the adventurers.  With contracts fresh in hand, the two made their way back to the Blue Pig.

Sorvia and Tharduk arrived at the Merchant’s Guild.  The guild guards would not allow Sorvia entrance past the public room as she was not a guild member.  Sorvia accepted this and told Tharduk she would head over to the Blue Pig and wait there.

Tharduk met with a guild representative.  He explained that he and his traveling companions were leaving town for a month or so and he needed someone to receive some commissioned equipment and hold it until they returned.  This was a standard service the guild performed for its members and so Tharduk and the guild representative filled out the paperwork necessary for the guild to receive the armor and daggers the adventurers had commissioned out of the Nemean Lion pelt and claws.

Tharduk left the Merchant’s Guild and headed over to the armorer and weaponsmith to explain to each that the Merchant’s Guild would accept delivery for the finished works and make final payments when the items were complete.  He then returned to the Blue Pig, feeling the effects of being awake since the previous morning.

When Sorvia arrived at the Blue Pig, she found her two apprentices there.  They should have been keeping low at the Ranger Camp nearly 10 miles away but instead were having a conspiratorial conversation with a horse tied up in front of the Blue Pig.  When Sorvia asked what they were doing, they claimed to be bringing Anomin up to date on things.  Sorvia pointed to Anomin inside the Blue Pig and said “Anomin’s over there.  That’s just a horse.”  She then escorted the two embarrassed apprentices into the Blue Pig to wait.

2:00 PM

Once all the adventurers in town were back at the Blue Pig, they discussed options.  There were angry mobs at the town gates who would probably recognize and attack the adventurers if they tried to walk through the gates.  Something more subtle was needed.  They left the Blue Pig as a group and started walking the inside of the town walls until they reached a point equidistant from the two gates.  The guards there were spread thin and spent most of their time looking towards the town gates in case the mobs broke in.  [I rolled a terrible Perception roll for the guards.]  The adventurers took advantage of this and a couple castings of Kadruth’s Force Wall spell shaped into stairs to sneak over the town wall and into the enormous refugee camp surrounding the town.

The adventurers took a round-about way to get to their preferred drinking place and picked up Inserrant.  They then quietly left the Mouzaki area, heading south.  Once out of sight of Mouzaki, they turned east and made their way to the Ranger Camp.

4:00 PM

The adventurers arrived at the ranger camp.  There they quickly explained the situation back in Mouzaki to the retired rangers before finally getting to sleep.

End of session


Commentary

[I had to pause the campaign here.  The players unknowingly set in motion things that will lead to some form of civil war in County Modon and I need to map that out before I can have the PCs interact with it.  In my mind, the situation in the County was always unstable and in precarious balance.  The Count had basically usurped one of his own barons and with a passel of de-landed barons in tow, each one seeking compensation for their losses to the Sudden Sea.  The barons whose lands are still above water know that the Count is being pressured to divvy up (or take entirely) their lands to share out to court favorites.  They’ve spent the last year thinking hard about this and some have “made plans”.  On top of this, the Grand Duchy of Mercia, the County’s neighbor to the southwest, is interested in adding the remains of the County to its possessions and is pursuing its own machinations.  I now need to figure out what the next month or two of political maneuvering and rebellion looks like before resuming play.]

[In the meantime, we have been playing through Book 4 of The Shattered Star Adventure Path.  I’m not certain how much of it I’m going to write about here.  The writing for this one seems a bit weak, especially on the PC motivation front.  We might be saving the world or maybe we just stumbled into a divine grudge match fueled by the next shard’s curse.  We’ll see.]



Sudden Sea Adventures

Sudden Sea Landing Page - Links to all the write-ups for this campaign 

Last session: Session 20


Next session: Session 22 [Not Yet Scheduled]



Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Sudden Sea –Session 20

[Night of May 22 and 23 – Expected Ambush - Part 2 and Return to Mouzaki]

[This game uses the Hero System Fifth Revised Edition (FREd) roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened February 5, 2024.]

[This adventure takes place on the continent of Terik, two years after the appearance of the Sudden Sea.  The PCs are refugees seeking a better life through adventuring.]

 

Player Characters

Sorvia of Stavros – female human ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Tharduk Lavabreath – male dwarf glassmaker from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom, had a glass shop in County Modon that is now underwater, literally

Kadruth Worldbender – male dwarf priest, serving He Who Protects, from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom

Anomin – female human shapeshifter, from lots of places, most recently County Modon

Islo Redgrass – male elf ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Via Roll20

Inserrant – female human musician, player of zills (finger cymbals) and singer

 

Spring

Sunday, May 22, 56 I.C.

Morning, continued

[Fight resumes in Turn 2, Segment 9]

Islo took a shot at the archer leader fighting with Anomin and hit her shield.  Inserrant, seeing that Kadruth was awake again and recovering, ordered the wagon driver to take the dwarf to town before she hopped out of the wagon.

The archer leader warned the other archer of the elf behind her [meaning Islo] and attacked Anomin, who blocked the attack [after spending a Hero Point].  Tharduk remained in place on Wagon 7 to protect Kadruth.  Islo took another shot and hit the archer leader in the stomach, stunning and knocking her unconscious.  The second archer took cover from Islo and shot at Anomin who blocked the attack.  Sorvia crept to the second blind entrance.  Kadruth continued to catch his breath [he took another Recovery].

[Post-12 Recovery phase]

Islo climbed on top of the blind and used the extra elevation to look for the archers who fled, but could not spot them in the deep grass.  Inserrant ran closer to the fight.

Anomin entered the blind and attacked the second archer, scratching the archers thigh armor.  The archer leader, barely awake, recovered from being stunned.  Tharduk, satisfied that Kadruth was not going to die and was no longer under threat from archers, hopped off Wagon 7 and moved south towards the fighting at the blind.  Sorvia, now in the blind, shot the archer leader in the shoulder, knocking her unconscious again.  The second archer stubbornly decided to stay and fight, took another shot at Anomin but missed.  Kadruth, stubborn and not wanting to leave the rest of the adventurers without healing, climbed out of Wagon 7.  The caravan continued heading west as fast as it could, the wagon guards saluting Kadruth for his determination.

Islo hopped down off the blind, blocking the exit from the blind and cutting off all means of escape for the two bandit archers.  Seeing this, the second archer threw down her bow and surrendered, ending the combat.

Anomin, heavily injured as a cougar, shifted back into her equally-injured human form and placed manacles on the captured archer and her unconscious leader.

Sorvia put away her bow and started bandaging Anomin’s wounds.  Kadruth used several healing spells to heal his own wounds and then did the same for Anomin.  Kadruth then healed the archer leader’s multiple wounds and discovered that the archer leader was Paraskevi the Green herself, leader of all the bandits!

Sorvia and Islo (assisted by Anomin) trapped the blind and concealed the trap.  [Or so they think - the Concealment roll was successful but the trap roll failed so it doesn’t work.]  Anomin and Tharduk talked a little about whether or not the bandits might attack again.  During this conversation, Anomin shapeshifted back into her crow form [which has Deduction] but is also easily distracted and the conversation petered out with no conclusion.

The prisoners were relieved of their weapons and other possessions but kept in their armor.  Items confiscated were: 2 heavy long bows. 2 quivers of Arrows (40 minus those used in the fight), and a couple bits of personal effects, including an amulet from the leader that Anomin palmed. The prisoners were also searched for lockpicks and other things before being stood up to leave.

The adventurers got back on the road, heading back to Mouzaki with their prisoners.  Anomin shifted into her horse form and the prisoners were tied onto her back.  As the party progressed, Sorvia did her best to conceal the group's tracks until they passed Pedino.

Sundown

The group reached the campsite from the previous night.  After a quick discussion, they decided staying would be dangerous and so they kept walking.  Anomin warned that people in Pedino might attack the group. The group decided that if things went wrong, Anomin would run off with the prisoners and everyone would eventually meet back up at the Ranger camp.


Moonday, May 23, 56 I.C.

Dawn

Fatigued from marching through the night, the adventurers arrived at Mouzaki.

As the adventurers passed through the vast refugee camp surrounding the town, a sullen and angry crowd started forming around them, following the adventurers through the camp.  The adventurers prepared to defend themselves if attacked, but continued to walk to the gates of Mouzaki.  Inserrant lagged behind and started using her mind control powers to keep a riot from happening.

When the party reached the walls of Mouzaki, hundreds of people were following them, hostile but not yet violent, thanks to Inserrant’s influence.

There were some people waiting in line at the gate to enter the town. Some of the guards looked up and noticed the mob following the adventurers.  The guards moved the line off to one side and called for backup. They then pushed one of the two gate doors closed and waited for the adventurers to reach them, visibly concerned.

The crowd started chanting “Free the Hand” over and over.  Tharduk explained to the guards that they believed they had Paraskevi the Green as a prisoner for the reward.  Suddenly understanding the situation, the guards hurried the adventurers in through the gate.  Realizing what was going on, the mob let out a great roar and rushed the gates.  Kadruth put up a Force Wall outside the gate to give the guards time to secure the gate and start reinforcing it.  The shouts and chanting of the mob could be heard to spread and get louder.

A group of guards escorted the adventurers through the slowly awakening town to the palace.  The palace was a fancy house, possibly the fanciest house in Mouzaki, but not really a palace.  When the escorted adventurers arrived, the palace guards demanded an explanation.  The gate guards explain the situation at the gate and who the adventurers had.  The palace guards called up more palace guards and took possession of the adventurers, freeing up the gate guards to return to defend the gates.

The palace guards escorted the adventurers around to the stable and asked that the prisoners be presented.  The two prisoners were let down off Anomin’s back and stood up.  One of the palace guards held up the head of the leader and said, “yup, this is her.”

At this point Sheriff Raptis arrived.  “I heard you have taken Paraskevi. Well.  This will be a busy day,” he said sardonically.  He had also heard about the mob at the main gates and others forming at the lesser gates.  “I’m going to take the prisoners as I'm sure the Count will talk to them. You should hang out near my office to get paid.”

Tharduk offered that the adventurers also had information on how the bandits were organized.  Sheriff Raptis thought on that and said, “I can get that from you back at my office.  Don’t go to far in case the Count wants to speak with you sooner.”  Sheriff Raptis then took the prisoners into the palace with most of the guards.  One of the palace guards went with the adventurers.

The adventurers went over to the one bar near the sheriff’s office.  There the palace guard announced to the bar that the adventurers were allowed to be at the bar by order of Sheriff Raptis.  He also announced that these were the adventurers who brought in Paraskevi the Green.  The occupants of the bar, mostly lawmen and guards having their breakfasts were excited to hear that and bought breakfast and several drinks for the adventurers while asking for the story.

Tharduk took this time to sit at a separate table and started writing up an official report for the Count.

End of session


Commentary

[Anomin was heavily injured in the bandit fight as she has very little armor in her cougar form.  If the last attack against her by the second archer had hit, she would have been forced back into her human form for the first time ever.  This would have put her at a disadvantage as her human form is not as good at combat as her cougar form.  It would have also blown her cover as some sort of familiar to one of the spell casters in the group to those outside the adventuring group.]

[The players were surprised that the Green Hand had a large following in the refugee camp but they had never heard of them.  I explained that the Green Hand was keeping a low profile in the camp because they cannot feed everyone.  To avoid becoming targets themselves, they were slowly expanding their network amongst those who could not feed themselves otherwise.  The PCs, being able to feed themselves, had never been approached.]

[There is one more session after this to write up.  After that I needed to take a break as the GM while I worked out the results of this session.  The capture of the Paraskevi the Green will make the Green Hand desperate to rescue her.  They have been providing food to parts of the refugee camp and have hundreds of loyal followers among the thousands of refugees surrounding Mouzaki.  Worse, the Green Hand have backers who do not want to be exposed.  This event is likely to trigger a premature civil war in the County and I need to work through the stages of that so I can describe what the PCs see/encounter along the way.]


Sudden Sea Adventures

Sudden Sea Landing Page - Links to all the write-ups for this campaign

Last session: Session 19


Next session: Session 21



Friday, June 7, 2024

The Sudden Sea –Session 19

[Night of May 22 – Expected Ambush - Part 1]

[This game uses the Hero System Fifth Revised Edition (FREd) roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened January 29, 2024.]

[This adventure takes place on the continent of Terik, two years after the appearance of the Sudden Sea.  The PCs are refugees seeking a better life through adventuring.]

 

Player Characters

Sorvia of Stavros – female human ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Tharduk Lavabreath – male dwarf glassmaker from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom, had a glass shop in County Modon that is now underwater, literally

Kadruth Worldbender – male dwarf priest, serving He Who Protects, from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom

Anomin – female human shapeshifter, from lots of places, most recently County Modon

Islo Redgrass – male elf ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Via Roll20

Inserrant – female human musician, player of zills (finger cymbals) and singer

 

Spring

Sunday, May 22, 56 I.C.

Dawn

After an eventful night, the caravan mounted up to leave the campsite and make the second half of the trip to Grizano.  The adventurers spread themselves among the nine wagons that made up the caravan.

  • Sorvia was on Wagon 1.
  • Anomin (in crow form)  and Kadruth were on Wagon 5.
  • Tharduk and Inserrant were on Wagon 7.
  • Islo was on Wagon 9.

Space was made on Wagon 5 for the three captured bandits.  Kadruth cast his Force Wall spell over the prisoners to keep them alive.  He then sat on top of the crates in the back of the wagon so he would have a good field of view.  The pace of the caravan was noticeably faster than the previous day.

Late Morning

The caravan passed the fork in the road that heads south into the Ygro Dasos Barony.  The hired caravan guards became particularly vigilant at this point as the caravan entered the area where the bandit attacks happened.  Sorvia regularly watched the signaling hill that the bandit prisoners talked about, hoping to catch sight of a heliograph in use.

While the adventurers and the guards were all alert to the possibility of attack, when the bandit surprise attack happened, it was in an unexpected way.  Rather than step out of the tall grasses on either side of the County Road and demand surrender like attacks in the past, four archers attacked from hiding on the south side of the road, all targeting Kadruth on top of the crates in Wagon 5.

Kadruth saw the arrows and attempted to avoid the shots [he aborted his action to perform a Dodge maneuver] but was hit anyway in the left arm, the shoulders, and twice in the chest, triggering his teleport spell, which dropped him onto the Wagon 7 driver’s lap, much to the driver’s surprise.  These shots also knocked Kadruth unconscious, dropping his Force Wall spell, but just failed to kill him.  Sorvia caught sight of where the attacks came from and shot an arrow back, hitting her target based on the cry of pain that resulted [solid hit in the chest for 9 BODY and 27 STUN].

Islo could not see any of the attackers to the south and held his fire, hoping they would show themselves.  He and Inserrant also noticed movement in the grasses north of the road that were not caused by the wind.  Inserrant called out a warning about attackers to the north while climbing to the front of the wagon to render Kadruth some first aid.

Tharduk exhorted the wagoneers to go faster while also warning of bandits to the north.  Not actually seeing the bandits, he held at the ready for the bandits to show.  Sorvia hopped off Wagon 1, looked for a target and shot at a bandit to the south, hitting them in the shoulder.  Anomin, in crow form, flew south, trying to find the concealed bandits to no avail [the bandits were very well concealed].  Suddenly 20 archers volley-fired from the grasses to the north, all targeting the prisoners in the back of Wagon 5.  The entire back of the wagon was pin-cushioned by arrows, killing all of the prisoners.  The wagon drivers sped their wagons up as fast as the horses could pull the heavily laden wagons.  No shots came from the south.

Islo held for counter fire while Inserrant continued aiding Kadruth.

Tharduk moved to the front of Wagon 7 and prepared to block any incoming attacks against Inserrant or Kadruth.  Sorvia moved into the tall grass and hid herself to avoid becoming a target for the archers to the north.  Anomin finally located the blind the camouflaged southern archers were hiding in.  She could see one of them doing first aid on another and decided to land behind the blind.  Once there she shifted back to human form and then changed into her Cougar form.  Luckily for her, all the bandits were either watching the first aid being applied or keeping an eye on the caravan attack.  [Anomin made her Stealth check exactly but the archers all missed their Perception rolls entirely.]  The north archers fired again on Wagon 5 and Islo counterfired at them to little effect [hit his target in the ankle, a reduced damage location, and rolled minimal damage on top of that].  The southern archers started to flee south and ran into Anomin in cougar form instead.  They loaded their bows.  The wagons continued to move through the ambush area.

Islo shot again at the northern archers but missed.  Inserrant continued aiding Kadruth.

Tharduk held his position over Inserrant and Kadruth, ready to block any attacks against them.  Anomin attacked the fleeing southern archers, hitting the lead archer in the vitals, stunning the archer.  Islo held his action.  The obvious leader of the southern archers, an arrow in her chest, demanded her shield and gave orders to the other archers to flee back the other way.  Inserrant continued to aid Kadruth, who appeared to be slowly regaining consciousness.  Sorvia advanced towards the blind holding the southern archers.  The northern archers retreated, heading north, away from the ambush.  Islo, seeing this, attempted another shot, hitting one of the archers in the hand.  One of the southern archers, clearly ignoring the order to leave, shot Anomin in a forelimb for low damage.  The Wagons continued fleeing the ambush site.  [The wagon train was 80 hexes in length and only moved 5 hexes at a time, so it was taking them time for it to clear the area.]

Islo held to see what the northern archers were up to.  Inserrant aided Kadruth, who was regaining consciousness.  Tharduk continued defending Inserrant and Kadruth.  Anomin attacked the archer who shot her and raked their legs.  The leader advanced with sword and shield, attacking Anomin but failing to connect.  Sorvia, hearing the sounds of fighting ahead, advanced on the blind.  [She started far away and was moving at half rate to stay hidden, so it was taking time to close in.]  The first southern archer recovered from being stunned while gasping for breath.  The second shot Anomin in a back leg as retaliation for the rake across her legs.  The carts continued forward.  Kadruth opened his eyes, consciousness fully returned.

Islo, satisfied no further attacks would happen from the north and hearing the sounds of fighting to the south, hopped off the last wagon and moved through the tall grasses to the south.

Tharduk held to protect Inserrant and the reawakened Kadruth.  Anomin switched to attack the archer leader and hit her in the chest, discovering the leader had better armor.  The archer leader slashed at Anomin, hitting the shapeshifter in the foreleg.  Sorvia finally reached the blind and observed three camouflaged archers fleeing south through an alternate exit from the blind and the fight between Anomin and the other two archers.  The second archer fighting Anomin shot the bloody cougar in the foreleg again with her bow.  The Wagons continued fleeing while Kadruth took some time to catch his breath [took a Recovery action].

[Combat Paused]

End of session


Commentary

[We did not want to stop the session mid-combat, but it was well past our normal stop time and the combat was not resolved, so we paused here.]

[This took longer than anticipated to get typed up.  To be honest, I’ve been prioritizing work on my new novel over writing here.  I’ll do my best to wrap up the last two session notes this month and then start talking about the science fiction novel I’m outlining.]


Sudden Sea Adventures

Sudden Sea Landing Page - Links to all the write-ups for this campaign

Last session: Session 18


Next session: Session 20



Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Sudden Sea –Session 18

[Night of May 21/22 – Anomin vs. Calliope and Interrogations]

[This game uses the Hero System Fifth Revised Edition (FREd) roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened January 22, 2024.]

[This adventure takes place on the continent of Terik, two years after the appearance of the Sudden Sea.  The PCs are refugees seeking a better life through adventuring.]

 

Player Characters

Sorvia of Stavros – female human ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Tharduk Lavabreath – male dwarf glassmaker from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom, had a glass shop in County Modon that is now underwater, literally

Kadruth Worldbender – male dwarf priest, serving He Who Protects, from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom

Anomin – female human shapeshifter, from lots of places, most recently County Modon

Islo Redgrass – male elf ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Via Roll20

Inserrant – female human musician, player of zills (finger cymbals) and singer

 

Spring

Yggsday, May 21, 56 I.C.

Night

In the barn in Pedino, Anomin shook off the last of the paralytic poison from the trap protecting the wooden box in the hayloft.  She took the heliograph out of the box and stashed it on her person before transforming back into her crow form.

Anomin flew back to the house the teens reported to, attempting to be quiet, but she landed heavily [rolled terrible on her Stealth check].  Luckily no one seemed to have heard her.  She fluttered down to an open window and snuck inside.

Having better luck indoors, Anomin landed silently on the floor.  She then first transformed back into a human and then into her cougar form.  Now that she could see clearly [neither her crow nor human forms can see in the dark], she realized she was in Calliope’s bedroom with Calliope asleep in the bed.

Anomin moved as silently as the big cat she was over to the door.  The door knob proved to be a challenge to open with no thumbs [she spent 3 Hero Points to improve her roll from complete failure to just a success].  The knob unexpectedly squeaked when Anomin turned it, waking up Calliope.  Anomin hunkered down as Calliope looked around in the darkness.

After a tense moment, Calliope started quietly getting out of bed, carrying a large dagger.  In response, Anomin attempted to crawl under the bed, but Calliope kept the dagger between her and Anomin, apparently able to track the cougar's movements.

With no better option, Anomin swatted at Calliope with her claws retracted to avoid murdering the woman.  Anomin hit her hard in the ribs, probably breaking one or two, and stunned Calliope.  Calliope shook off the stun and tried to catch her breath, one hand holding her injured side.

Anomin followed up with a pulled punch to Calliope’s vitals, knocking the woman unconscious but breaking no additional bones.

Anomin immediately took advantage of Calliope being unconscious to go search the rest of the small house, especially the floor in the corner of the living room.  It took Anomin some time [5 minutes and another Hero Point] to locate the well concealed compartment and lift the floor boards covering it.  Inside was the journal she had seen Calliope making notes in.

Anomin pushed the journal around a bit with her paws until she could get a bite on it and lift it out.  She then padded back to the bedroom window and awkwardly and noisily pushed it the rest of the way open before jumping out through it.

Anomin padded quietly to the edge of Pedino with only one barking dog any the wiser to her presence.  Once past the edge of the village, Anomin set the journal down and returned to her human form.  She secured the book on her person and then shifted back into crow form for the long flight back to the caravan.

In the Caravan Camp

The captured and tied-up bandits, 2 human women and 1 human man, were sat down on the edge of the camp.  Tharduk and Kadruth stood aside to discuss how they were going to question the captives.  While they did this, Inserrant started singing and playing her zills, ostensibly to entertain the caravan guards, but really to hide her casting her Mind Control spell on the captives, giving them the command to “Tell the Dwarves everything.”

Once Tharduk and Kadruth approached the captives, the captives were completely ready to spill the beans on anything the dwarves asked about.  The dwarves learned:

  • They do work at the nearby farm to the northwest as cover and for food.
  • They are part of the Green Hand.
  • They use a heliograph to forward information in the morning to guys at the Watch Rock, so the ambush people know what to expect.
  • The Watch Rock is a formation in the hills to the south of the County Road, next to a rock that looks like some guy's nose. 
  • The leader of their team was not here now.

That piece of information prompted Islo and Sorvia to immediately go looking for their leader.

The captives continued to tell the dwarves everything:

  • They gave the 5 names of people they know in the Green Hand, including themselves and their leader, Nikos.
  • They gave a complete description of the other person and where to find them - at the hill fort where ambush guys are from.
  • The hill fort holds 40 to 50 people. 
  • They provided a description of the fort and its whereabouts.

Tharduk was also able to pick out [using the Conversation skill] that in addition to the hill fort, the Green Hand have their own town hidden in the hills south of the County Road, past the Keramidi cross road.  Kadruth asked why the captives were working with bandits and learned the entire Green Hand were once farmers in areas of County Modon that are now under the Sudden Sea.  As they fled the rising waters, merchants kept swindling them or used thugs to outright steal from them with no repercussions.  Eventually they had enough and formed the Green Hand with the intent of raiding the merchants in kind.

Tharduk and Kadruth indicated they were done questioning the captives to Inserrant, who used her high levels of Mind Control to muddle the captives’ memories of the questioning.  The captives were now convinced that Kadruth used some unspeakable dwarven torture devices on them, so horrible that cannot stand to think about it or remember details.

Out in the Grasses Surrounding the Camp

Islo and Sorvia went back to the blind and followed the tracks of the captives when they approached the blind.  It wasn’t hard as they seemed very confident they would not be seen.  Following the tracks along their approach, they found where a fourth set of tracks split off from the group.  These tracks were a little harder to follow, indicating that their leader had some skill.

At a certain point, the leader had stopped, possibly when the trap in the blind had gone off.  He seemed to be serious about not being seen nor tracked after this point.  They lost the tracks for a bit and spread out to reacquire them.  Islo found a spot where the leader stopped for a bit.  It was near the edge of the camp, close to where the captives were questioned, possibly close enough to hear what was said.  After this the tracks moved away from the camp and Islo and Sorvia lost them again.  The two rangers spread out again, but had no luck picking up the trail again.  Failing to reacquire, they returned to camp.

Back in Camp

Kadruth cast his Force Wall spell and placed it around the captives to hold them in.  When the rangers returned to the camp, the group shared information.

Third Watch

Anomin finally returned to the caravan.  She was able to locate the campsite due to the camp fires.  She shared the  information she had acquired and produced the journal for Kadruth to look at.  While Tharduk brought Anomin up to date on the captives and what they had spilled, Kadruth looked over the journal.  It was in some form of code, but he was fairly certain the first column was a notation of date and time, suggesting the journal was a message log.  He will need some time to attempt a decipher.

Anomin, having been up most of the night, went to sleep and Kadruth covered her watch.

End of session


Commentary

[I think I mentioned that I was awarding Hero Points to the players for turning in their session notes.  If I hadn’t mentioned that, I was doing so.  This helped me greatly when it came time to write the blog entries as they recorded things important to them and their characters that I might have missed.  It also meant I could spend more time running the game and less time writing down what was happening.  I believe the complete rules for the use of Hero Points is in the Pulp Hero genre book from Hero Games.]


Sudden Sea Adventures

Sudden Sea Landing Page - Links to all the write-ups for this campaign

Last session: Session 17


Next session: Session 19



Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The Sudden Sea –Session 17

[May 18 to 21 – Caravan Guard Work, Lights, and Prisoners]

[This game uses the Hero System Fifth Revised Edition (FREd) roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened January 8, 2024.]

[This adventure takes place on the continent of Terik, two years after the appearance of the Sudden Sea.  The PCs are refugees seeking a better life through adventuring.]

 

Player Characters

Sorvia of Stavros – female human ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Tharduk Lavabreath – male dwarf glassmaker from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom, had a glass shop in County Modon that is now underwater, literally

Kadruth Worldbender – male dwarf priest, serving He Who Protects, from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom

Anomin – female human shapeshifter, from lots of places, most recently County Modon

Islo Redgrass – male elf ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Via Roll20

Inserrant – female human musician, player of zills (finger cymbals) and singer

 

Spring

Magusday, May 18, 56 I.C.

Tharduk returned to the Merchant Guild with Anomin in crow form.  Tharduk used Guild records to track down the ownership of the farmstead at Pedino, a village west of Mouzaki.  It used to be a waypoint for caravans before the Sudden Sea submerged most of the County.  Pedino officially owes loyalty to the Yorgos, Baron of Mouzaki.

While at the guild, Tharduk went fishing for the next caravan to head west to Grizano.  He wasn’t able to get the information [with all the raiding, the Guild is keeping tighter leash on that information] but he didn't alert anyone that he was looking either [just made his Conversation roll].

Failing at the Guild, Tharduk next went to the regular hiring area for caravan guards and asked around who was hiring.  He eventually tracked down Attor Cerdicson, the leader of the next caravan to leave Mouzaki for Grizano.  He was able to convince Attor that Tharduk’s group were serious bounty hunters with all the capabilities needed.  Once Attor was certain that he will not need to pay Tharduk or his group of bounty hunters, he stated that they will need to bring their own supplies and will fall under the authority of the caravan guards, led by Vagn the Lion.  Attor introduces Tharduk to Vagn and they discuss capabilities.  

Once Vagn was satisfied, Attor started writing up a contract for Tharduk to sign on the group’s behalf.  At this point Anomin whispered into Tharduk’s ear, reminding him to add a clause where the “bounty hunters” were free to leave once they captured bandits.  Tharduk brought this up with Attor and they haggled a bit before Attor agreed to include the clause.

Once Tharduk signed the contract, Attor told him the caravan would be leaving within a week.  Tharduk would need to check in at 4:00 PM each day until told the caravan was ready.  Tharduk’s team would then need to assemble the following dawn with the caravan.  They shook hands and parted.

Afternoon

Tharduk met back up with the adventurers and informed them they had a caravan to use as bait.  Kadruth discussed the details with Tharduk and then worked out placement of the adventurers, especially himself, along the caravan for optimum attack capability.

The adventurers then spent a total of one gold coin buying manacles, rope, and food for four days.


Freysday, May 20, 56 I.C.

4:00 PM

At the regular check-in, Tharduk was told that the caravan would be leaving the next day at dawn.


Yggsday, May 21, 56 I.C.

Dawn

The adventurers arrived as the caravan assembled.  The caravan consisted of 9 wagons with 2 caravan guards on each wagon followed by Vagn and his lieutenant on horseback.  The adventurers situated themselves on the wagons as follows:

  • Sorvia was on Wagon 1
  • Kadruth and Anomin on Wagon 5
  • Tharduk and Inserrant on Wagon 7
  • Islo on Wagon 9

7:00 AM

The caravan left Mouzaki, taking the County Road west to Grizano.

Midday

The caravan passed the village of Pedino.  The adventurers saw that it was an extended farmstead that sat north of the road with multiple crop fields around it.  People could be seen weeding the fields.

Afternoon

Several hours later, Anomin happened to notice a signal light come from Pedino [made a very high Perception roll].  Turning quickly, she caught the return signal in the hills ahead, off to the left.  She whispered to Kadruth, asking the dwarf if she should fly off and investigate the light back at the farmstead.  He said yes and she immediately flew off, back towards Pedino to try and find the source.  Sorvia had also noticed the return signal from the hills ahead and gave a bird whistle signal that alerted the rest of the adventurers...except Inserrant, who wasn’t paying attention [made a terrible Perception roll].

Late Afternoon

The caravan arrived at the regular campsite for this route, which was marked with boundary stones.  The area inside was officially County property, separate from the barony it resided in.  While things were being set up, Islo and Sorvia scouted the area around the campsite.  In addition to signs of other caravans using this site, they also found a blind for observing the campsite just north of the campsite.  Islo set up a spike trap in the blind and Sorvia concealed it.  The trap was designed to injure but not kill and to pin the target in place.  They then returned to the campsite and informed the other adventurers about the blind and where it was located.

Tharduk asked Kadruth for a prayer to bless the campsite and he agreed to do so.  Kadruth’s blessing generated a feeling of safety that seemed to relax the caravan drivers.  The caravan guards set up watches while the adventurers kept their own.

An Hour After Sunset

Anomin arrived at Pedino and looked around.  There were 7 houses, 3 large barns, and a smattering of out-buildings of various types.

She deduced 3 possible locations the heliograph could have been discretely used from: one of the barns and two of the houses.  She checked the barn first and found nothing amiss.  Inside were several draft horses, some cattle, and some goats with hay up in the hayloft.

With nothing incriminating found in the barn, she flew over to the  first house, looking for an open window.  They were all closed until one opened and a person climbed out.  Anomin followed that person discreetly, nearly losing them as they headed over to the barn Anomin had just investigated.

Back At the Campsite

During the first watch, the trap Islo and Sorvia set in the blind went off and someone there cried out in pain.  Islo and Inserrant, on watch for the adventurers, immediately headed out to investigate, bow and xill at the ready.  Tharduk and Sorvia were awoken by the cry and readied their weapons.  Kadruth slept soundly.

Islo reached the blind first and found three humans in the blind, one pierced in the leg by the trap.  Islo whipped out a bolo and entangled one of the free humans with it.  He then shot the other one in the stomach with his bow before any of them could react, leaving that person unconscious and bleeding.  The humans immediately surrendered.

Tharduk woke Kadruth before heading out to the blind, taking rope with him.  He tied up the captives and brought them back to the campsite where Kadruth healed their wounds.

Back at the Barn

Anomin followed the person back to the barn, where they entered through a side door.  Anomin flew around the barn and found an opening she could squeeze through.  Inside the barn, she discovered that the person she had followed was a teenage boy who was hugging a teenage girl up in the hay loft and both were giggling.

After a moment the girl got up and opened the hayloft door to peer out.  The boy walked up behind her, wanting to continue but she told him to stop, a message was coming in.  Anomin glided around so she could see as well and caught the tail end of a flashing light out in the far distance, likely the same hills south of the County Road from earlier in the day.  The girl pulled a heliograph out of a nearby box and used a candle to reply.  She put away the heliograph and made a note on a slip of paper from the box before closing and latching the box.  She stating, “We need to tell Calliope.”  The boy, dejected, agreed.

Anomin made her way out of the barn as quietly as she could and then followed the two over to one of the smaller houses.  The girl knocked quietly and they were let in.  Anomin flew closer and found a window she could peek through.  While she could not hear what was said, she could read their lips enough to get the idea.  She saw a woman older than the teens receive the message and read it.  She then stated that the message would need to be passed along and she dismissed the teens, making the boy wait until after the girl left so the two would not “get up to anything”.

Once the teens left, the woman went over to a corner and did something on the floor that Anomin could not see from the window.  She then walked over to the lit candle holding a book she was not holding earlier and made some notes in it.  She then put the book back and burned the note from the girl with the candle.

After learning what she could, Anomin returned to the barn to steal the heliograph.  Up in the hayloft she turned human to open the box and take the heliograph.  The box was trapped with a needle covered in a paralytic poison, paralyzing Anomin for nearly 10 minutes [thanks to her unusually high Constitution - anyone else would have been paralyzed all night].

End of session


Commentary

[The PCs are learning how the bandits work and have prisoners.  Will the prisoners talk?  I didn’t want to stop in the middle of the action like this, but it was well past our stopping point for the night so we had to.]

[I tried something different when writing up these notes this time.  First I just typed up my notes as is, which are fairly sketchy as I’m busy running the game.  Then I embroidered the notes from the players on that, which seemed to spread the whole thing up.  Previously I have multiple source documents open and combine them as I go, which involves switching back and forth.  This time I just layered text and made modifications to my notes by adding the details the players captured.  That seems easier.  I’ll keep doing it this way for a while to verify.]


Sudden Sea Adventures

Sudden Sea Landing Page - Links to all the write-ups for this campaign 

Last session: Session 16


Next session: Session 18



Monday, April 29, 2024

The Sudden Sea –Session 16

[May 17 – Shopping, Shares, and Commissions]

[This game uses the Hero System Fifth Revised Edition (FREd) roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened December 18, 2023.]

[This adventure takes place on the continent of Terik, two years after the appearance of the Sudden Sea.  The PCs are refugees seeking a better life through adventuring.]

 

Player Characters

Sorvia of Stavros – female human ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Tharduk Lavabreath – male dwarf glassmaker from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom, had a glass shop in County Modon that is now underwater, literally

Kadruth Worldbender – male dwarf priest, serving He Who Protects, from the Northern Dwarven Kingdom

Anomin – female human shapeshifter, from lots of places, most recently County Modon

Islo Redgrass – male elf ranger, local to County Modon (village of Stavros in particular)

Via Roll20

Inserrant – female human musician, player of zills (finger cymbals) and singer

 

Spring

Hernesday, May 17, 56 I.C.

Morning

Tharduk completed his shopping (and selling off loot).  Kadruth was able to purchase some inexpensive leather armor for his legs, finally gaining complete armor coverage of his body.

Next the adventurers split the money they had earned.  This included: the money earned from defeating the wendigo, delivering the mail to Nomi and back, and scouting the Mikro Dasos; money tipped to the group from Lady Michelakis; sale of the bear skin and wendigo claws; and the County Modon and Freegate coins found in the Nicobar manor.  Each member of the group received 24 gold coins with 26 gold coins, 5 silver coins set aside for group expenses.  Sorvia immediately gave Tharduk 4 gold coins to invest for her.

Tharduk held onto the Silverloc and Imperial coins.  Spending freshly minted Imperial coins in the Syrak Alliance, a part of the empire that broke away during the Goblinoid Invasion would draw the wrong kind of attention.  Tharduk felt he could easily exchange the Silverloc coins for local coins at the Merchant’s Guild.

With money in their hands, both Islo and Sorvia were interested in learning what it would take to establish a settlement away from Mouzaki and the enormous refugee camp surrounding it.  As no one knew, the two asked Tharduk to look into it as he seemed to have the best contacts in Mouzaki.  The group then split up to do some shopping.

Tharduk and Islo tracked down an armorer to craft some things from the Nemean Lion’s pelt.  They find Timo Galouni, who is very interested in working with the lion pelt.  After some negotiations they reach an agreement:  Timo will fashion 2 sets of full leather armor, a set of armor for the arms for Sorvia, an archery arm cover [for Islo], a vest made of the Mane for Inserrant, and a shoulder piece for Kadruth.  In exchange, Timo gets to keep the scraps, keeps one of the claws as a deposit (and so he can cut the pelt), and he will be paid 150 gold coins, due June 17, when the work is done.

Islo and Tharduk next tracked down a weaponsmith to turn six of the lion claws into 3 daggers and 3 skinning knives.  These will make a set of “membership knives” for the group, making the group recognizable.  The weaponsmith requests the right to display the blades as they are completed, which Tharduk agrees to.  The blades will be ready by June 17th as well.

After that, the two went to the Merchant’s Guild so Tharduk could exchange the Silverloc coins at the best exchange rate.  He was able to get one 25 gold trade bar and 24 gold coins minted in the various members of the Syrak Alliance [essentially the local currency].

Islo and Tharduk then met up with Sorvia and Kadruth to work out some good locations for a settlement inside County Modon.  Tharduk was able to learn while at the Merchants Guild that the application fee to file for a settlement permit was now 10 gold coins.

Mid Afternoon

Kadruth, Sorvia, and Islo went to the Sheriff’s Office to meet with Sheriff Raptis and discuss their bonuses and the Green Hand bandits.  Sergeant Greenpike was at the front desk with the Nemean Lion claw they gave her mounted in a wooden base.  The sergeant was using it as a letter spike.  She waved the adventurers back over to Sheriff Raptis’ office.

After knocking and being told to enter, the three adventurers entered the sheriff’s office.  Sorvia provided the sheriff with a bottle of wine.  The sheriff accepted the bottle and told her he had good news and bad news.  The good news was that the Count was willing to consider services rendered [meaning clearing the Mikro Dasos of monsters] as good enough reason to rescind the wanted poster for Sorvia’s ward/trainee, Kailor.  The bad news is that they are no longer going to be paid a bounty for the monsters killed.  The adventurers felt that was fair [or at least as fair as they were going to get] and accepted the deal.  The sheriff said it would take a day or two before the wanted posters for Kailor would be pulled.

Interested in the rising bounty on bandits, they asked Sheriff Raptis about it.  The sheriff confided that the bandits were getting organized, organized enough for it to be concerning.  The bandits were collecting weapons from the guards from every caravan they hit, enough now that they were well armed and might be growing in numbers.  Ideally, the Count wants as many of them captured alive as possible, especially their leader, Paraskevi the Green.

The adventurers then asked about what caravans had been hit.  The sheriff told them several caravan masters led caravans from Mouzaki west to Grizano along the remains of the County Road and then south, overland to the small town of Gelanthi, on the border with the Grand Duchy of Mercia.  Viktor Xanthopolous has been most hit, losing three caravans in the last two weeks.  Sarlic Rodorson only lost one of the two caravans he’s taken out and Asta Bonehammer, a dwarf new to the area, took one caravan through that was attacked, but Asta and her guards fought off the bandits and made it through.

Tharduk knew and had met with Viktor Xanthopolous and knew he underpaid his guards, so it was no surprise to Tharduk Viktor had lost 3 caravans.  He had heard of Sarlic Rodorson but never met the person.  Tharduk was of the opinion that Bonehammer was a cover name for a dwarf traveling without the blessing of their clan.  He wanted to speak with the caravan masters and thought he might find them over at the Merchant’s Guild, so the three adventurers said their good-byes to Sheriff Raptis and left.

Sorvia bolted off to the Merchant’s Guild to find and interrogate the caravan masters but was stopped at the entrance.  Not being a member of the guild, she was not allowed in.  She waited outside the doors until Tharduk finally arrived and complained she was not being allowed in.  Tharduk explained that was correct.  He then went and talked to the front clerk.  Once he established he was a member, by displaying his guild badge, he chatted with the front clerk about the bandit situation.  The clerk asked if Tharduk was pro-Green Hands or anti-Green Hands.  Tharduk said "against" and was let into the guildhall.

He asked around the guild to get a better picture of the bandits and the caravan masters.  He learned that Asta’s caravan was still traveling south and not due back for a week or two, Viktor was looking for funds to put together another caravan but was having trouble finding anyone willing to trust him, and Sarlic Rodorson was still out with his second caravan, the one that was not attacked, at Grizano.

Tharduk also learned that the Green Hand bandits take almost everything from the caravans except the lives of the people.  Most of the shipments are basic goods and some foodstuffs that Mouzaki can produce.  With the promising crops planted and growing now, Mouzaki should have plenty of food to trade.

Tharduk spent the rest of the afternoon reading through available guild reports on the bandits.  He was able to learn that the bandits hid in the tall grasses that flanked the road, standing up just past the Y-intersection in the road [which led south to the town of Keramidi] to demand the turnover of all goods, weapons, and armor.  Often there was a fight that triggered even more bandits to appear plus an unknown number armed with bows and slings that stayed hidden in the tall grass.  After a certain number of guards died, the caravans usually surrendered.  The caravans then turned around to return to Mouzaki and never saw where the bandits went with their loot.

During this time, Tharduk noticed a guild posting discussing lumber deliveries both from the Tsepi Forest and the Ygro Dasos.  That stood out to Tharduk due to the huge refugee camp surrounding Mouzaki.  These postings indicated a lot of timber was entering Mouzaki but no housing was being built for the refugees who lived in impromptu shelters and tents.

Late Afternoon

When Tharduk left the guildhall, Sorvia was still waiting, trying unsuccessfully to talk with the guildhall guards.  The two of them exited the town and went to the group’s favorite drinking place to meet up with the others and share information.

With that information, Kadruth assisted Anomin in analyzing attacks [used Deduction].  Anomin [rolled a 3] and deduced that the bandits were watching the road from one of the farmhouses along the road and probably using a heliograph to signal ahead.  All signs pointed to a camp in the hills north of the road, probably the hills adjacent to the Sudden Sea.  The Green Hand might also have a long term lair in the hills south of the road, but neither Anomin nor Kadruth had any idea where.  Kadruth recommended that if the group followed a caravan, the adventurers needed to stay hidden.  Sorvia wanted to find out who owned the most likely farmhouse.

Islo went to the Old Rangers and gave them money: 15 gp for their use and 5gp to stash for Islo.

End of session


Commentary

[I decided to incorporate the day names that I use in other campaigns into Crendia, the campaign world this campaign takes place in.  When I first ran a campaign in this world, I was creating too many other things to keep track of by me and the players, so I kept the real world calendar.  With this group, I’ve used these day names in multiple campaigns, so they are familiar with them and it helps maintain suspension of disbelief.  I probably will not change the month names this time around as those are harder to do, but it will likely happen in a future campaign.]

[The day names being used are: Sunday, Moonday, Hernesday, Magusday, Thorsday, Freysday, Yggsday.  I might adjust the deities days are named after to map better to the campaign world, but that is a low priority.]


Sudden Sea Adventures

Sudden Sea Landing Page - Links to all the write-ups for this campaign 

Last session: Session 15


Next session: Session 17 [Not yet typed up]



Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Working on a New Novel

I started working on a new novel and it is consuming most of my writing time right now.  My goal is to get at least the first draft done as quickly as I can so I can send a copy to my dad while he is still with us.  He's entered hospice care, which is when they do their best to keep the patient comfortable until the end.  This happened after either his chemo or his stage 4 prostate cancer triggered another stroke.

On the plus side, he has come back from those events somewhat and so I have more time than I thought I would at the end of January.  Still have no idea how much time that is, so I am somewhat prioritizing getting the outline done so I can start the actual writing.  I'll post more update on that as I have them.

As to the session notes, those will continue at a sporadic level as a result.  I want to try for twice a month as a minimum, but I'm not certain I can meet that.  Either way, I'll have Session 16 of the Sudden Sea campaign up in the next week.

Later!


REMINDER: PDFs of my OD&D clone, Adventures in the Green, are available for purchase on DriveThruRPG.com.  See the specific links in the sidebar under Downloads.