Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 35 – Across the Waters and Into the Swamp

Sessions 35 happened Tuesday, July 5, 2011.

This campaign used the Dyson’s Delve dungeon pages on A Character for Every Game as a starting point, but has now moved on to new material from the DM-in-training. I heartily recommend Dyson's Delve as a beginning adventure.

Adventuring Group:
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Brek'nok (male dwarf druid)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Suntouched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Midnight (female half-elf witch, cohort of Frankie Hu)
Short John Copper (male halfling expert, hireling)
The Red Keffiyehs (human warriors, followers of Harkaitz)

Evening, June 13, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light guides us.

Today was a busy day in Lagaskia as we made preparations for our travels to the Swamp Gate. While Short John restocked our larder bag of holding, Aziz and I went looking for a ship to carry us down river and across the bay to the swamp. Tre-ba went looking for insect repellant for the group and the others looked to their own needs.

As Aziz and I went about our business, explaining what we needed and why, we also picked up a small cadre of those willing to follow us and assist in our endeavors. We have accepted their oaths of loyalty and outfitted them with matching keffiyeh, white with red stitching in memory of the red-shirted elves who assisted us in the Forest of Angry Elves.

We eventually booked passage on the Orange Crown, a baghlah of good repute, with captain Siraaj Ohannes. The Orange Crown is the ship I once took to reach Aldelle many months ago and it was good to see the captain and crew again.

Shortly after lunch, we assembled at the docks and boarded the Orange Crown. The afternoon passed quietly as we made our way down the river to the bay. We should arrive at the point we want on the swamp coast late in the day tomorrow, cutting off what would have been a week’s travel on foot over the mountains and then across half the swamp. Civilization has many benefits.

Evening, June 14, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who keeps us warm and safe.

As expected, we arrived in sight of the swamp late in the afternoon. After some time checking the charts to verify our location, the captain dropped anchor and we settled in for the night.

Earlier today we saw a group of sharks trawling the waters, looking for a meal. I think they mistook the Orange Crown for a fishing vessel. They made the crew nervous. Luckily they stopped following us around noon. In the afternoon we spotted the immense shell of a dragon turtle off in the distance. It appeared to be leisurely moving through the waters and was quite impressive in size, easily as large as the ship we were in, if not larger.

Now for what may be the last dry sleeping we will be doing for a while.

Evening, June 14, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light shines on all, even in dismal swamps.

We put ashore this morning and said our farewells to the captain and crew of the Orange Crown. The swamp immediately hid all trace of the outside world behind dense vegetation and air so humid it is hard to breathe. Never have I been so happy for the presence of Brek’nok and his life bubble spell. And I once thought the Forest of Angry Elves was damp and humid!

Early in the afternoon we were attacked by swarms of leeches. Some flame to boil the water and some handy trees to climb saved us from the worst of it before we drove them off. As a result of this, when we decided to camp, I used wall of stone to create a raised platform for us to camp on. There is very little “land” here, mostly low hummocks that are thoroughly soggy.

Morning, June 15, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose greets us every day, even if we cannot see him.

Brek’nok cast hide camp over our camp, which saved us some mischief during the night. A small group of will o’ wisps drifted by in the small hours of the night. Without his enchantment, we surely would have had to fight them and might have lost people to their calls.

We should reach the gate area today. Brek’nok is excellent at navigating and getting us to where we want to be. I have utmost confidence in his skills.

Mid-Afternoon, June 15, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light exposes hidden things.

We arrived at the location marked on our map where the gate should be. I cast locate object and pinpointed the exact location. Well, the exact location on the surface (or what passes for it in this swamp) – this gate is somewhere underground as was the Uskar gate. Brek’nok turned into an earth elemental and scouted down around 200 ft, but found nothing. Not good.

We decided to head to the lizardman village which should be a couple hours away. We still have the token of friendship from the lizardmen we helped back in The Delve [Session 6] and they may be able to help us. Along the way, we found something different.

On one of the tallest hillocks around, someone once built a round stone tower. It was once four stories tall or so, but the top is now ruined and the third floor is exposed to the sky. Wednesday led the way, clearing the many traps there (except for one point early on when Brek’nok stepped past her into a trap she hadn’t cleared yet - he learned the error of his ways).

The first floor was an entry hall, the only furniture a foyer table and a painted portrait, both on the far wall. The picture is of a human male who strongly resembles the lich we saw in the Uskar, but still retaining all of his flesh. It also detected as magical and we worked out that it is a locus for a scrying spell. It was also heavily trapped with multiple fireball traps. Once Wednesday disabled the traps on the painting, we set it aside, facing the wall.

Behind the painting was a hidden compartment, also heavily trapped. After Wednesday disabled THAT, we found an oddly shaped key. It appears that this is part of a two-part key, with an additional component that could slide into this one, but the additional component is not here. We suspect that this might eventually grant us access to the lich’s phylactery, but that’s just a guess based on how dangerous the traps protecting it were.

The doors flanking the table led to stairs up. They shared a landing and then continued to the second floor. This upper flight of stairs was, of course, trapped. After our experiences in the drow city, we are ready for this level of paranoia and Wednesday’s skills are up to the challenge. She is an indispensible elf to have around for this sort of thing.

The stair trap is designed to flatten the upper flight of stairs into a ramp, dropping the targets into a trap door on the back wall of the landing that is released as part of the mechanism. Behind that is a pit, about 20 ft deep and spiked. We can see the skeletal remains of a deceased predecessor impaled on the spikes. We lowered Wednesday down on a rope to search the remains and came away with a bag of holding [Type III] and some magical studded leather. She also finds a gas dispenser portion of the trap, designed to release nightmare gas on anyone in the pit. It is partially full, so she removed it and turned it over to Tre-ba for later use. She also retrieved the skull at my request – for either questioning or proper burial as needs present themselves.

The second floor was mostly clear of traps and partly exposed to the sky due to a rent in one wall. There were another two doors with stairs leading up to the third floor, but Frankie used his climbing abilities to bounce up through the hole in the ceiling to scout the third floor. It only contained rubble from the collapsed ceiling and walls and was open to the sky. There was some splintered wood from furniture crushed by the falling stonework, but little of value.

Returning to the first floor, it occurred to us to check the foyer table. Inside a drawer were a scroll and some papers, one of which detected as magical. Wednesday carefully investigated it and determined it was trapped with explosive runes, which she disabled. The scroll is a formula for summoning a bearded devil and the papers are research notes on becoming a lich, with a side reference to the Uskar. We packed these away.

With no other leads, Brek’nok turned into an earth elemental again and searched underneath the tower. We were hoping there was a secret passage down to where ever the gate is, but no luck. I’ve been updating my journal while waiting, but that time is now over. We are off to the home of the lizardmen of the swamp. Hope we are still friends. Luckily, we should now be able to converse in something other than chalk figures on a wall.

*End of Session*

Monday, July 25, 2011

Greyhawk: Wars! The Rules Re-written

I'm planning on using the Greyhawk: Wars! rules for a home campaign as a way of dealing with a continent-wide war in a way that several years of warfare can be handled over a long afternoon.  I tracked down my copy of the rules and, after not reading them for nearly 20 years, I realized they are pretty poorly written.  So, being an editor by profession, I took their rules and started editing them.

Half way through, I realized they were too far gone for that, so I started over.  I re-wrote the rules, jettisoning their text and replacing it with my own.  I also moved stuff around so it was easier to learn how to play the game from the rules.  I completed that and have decided to post it here for folks to see and comment on.

There are some hooks in it for expanding the number of sides.  GH:W is essentially a two player wargame writ large for two factions: good and evil.  I need the opportunity to run 3-5 different factions, so I've switched "alignment" for "faction" or bracketed in "faction", but it is still playable with the original components.

If you are interested, please take a look and leave me some feedback in the comments of this post on how I might improve the text or if I missed anything.  I'll have a new version up by the end of August, earlier if I get feedback.

The link to the file is HERE and I'll put one in the side panel on the main blog page.

Thank you for your time and interest.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A/C Update and a Change in Plans

As you may know, the A/C was out at my home for the last week and a half.  My wife and I were able to put together the funds necessary to get the condenser unit (the box unit that sits outside the house) replaced thatnks to the very kind contributions of friends and family.

Yesterday the actual repair took place and by 9:00 PM, the house had cooled off and the humidity dropped such that we no longer broke into a sweat just standing in the living room.

I'd like to than everyone who helped including Trey, who wanted to help but we couldn't work out a way to get it done.  Thank you.  Thank you all very much.

Now that I'm no longer scrambling to get the work done on my home nor working out ways to beat the heat, I'll be spending most of this weekend writing on my Hero Traveller campaign.  I will be running it from August through October as I promised the players I'd run it at least three months.  After that, I've decided that I will not be running any new campaigns for a while - I'm going to concentrate on my writing for publication plus a short novel I'm about a third through despite working on it off and on for three years.  One of my resolutions this year was to finish it, even if it never sees the light of day.

For 2012, I'll be converting adventure notes into product for Monohedron Games, a game company I started several years ago and never did much with.  Time to change that.  One of the first things I will be completing is a boardgame based on the old Greyhawk Wars! game from TSR.  I've already taken the rules and re-written them to be comprehensible and clear (the originals are pretty awful to read).  I will probably post them via Mediafire (but might not seeing the issues suffered by Trey) and put a link up here.  Next step there is a new map and updating the cards.  Don't know what I'll do about artwork at the moment, but public domain may be my friend here.

After that, I'll be converting adventures and adventure locales to inexpensive PDF products and possibly .mobi files for the Kindle (that's something I'd really like to experiment with).  I'll post more updates on this stuff in November, which is when I plan on switching gears.

Thank you for your time and interest and my apologies for those whom this was mostly spam.


Monday, July 18, 2011

I Need Some Help - UPDATED

The A/C at my house has been out since last Wednesday.  It is the reason my posts have been erratic this week as summer in Houston without A/C is a punch in the gut.  It's mostly covered by home warranty, but they need to replace the condenser (the unit outside the house) and there are $675.00 in costs we still need to make ourselves, $675.00 we don't really have right now and only found out about this morning when they scheduled the service call.

We've been asking all our local friends who can to help but we have not got the payment covered and won't have the money ourselves until payday.  The install team will be here at 10:00 AM US Central time, but only open at 9:00 AM.

So, if you can and would like to help a blogger out by making a partial payment via debit/credit card to the company doing the install and can do so between 9:00 and 10:00 AM Tuesday, July 19, please let me know via e-mail at:   patrickw.writer (at) gmail (dot) com.

I will send you the name of the company, the account contact person, the number to call, and the account to make the payment to (it's in my wife's name).  At this point, any amount will help.

To any who help, thank you ahead of time.


We did get everything fixed, but it did take a few days longer.  Many thanks to everyone who helped.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hero Traveller Sophonts

My house A/C kicked out Wednesday this week and is still down, so I've pushed the starting date of the Hero Traveller game back two weeks.  I'm taken the time provided to put more detail into my notes and catch up on the things I was planning on doing this past week but failed to do due to the emotional roller coaster that took over.

Here are brief descriptions of most of the sophonts (sapient species) I plan on using.  There are two minor races not done yet, but I'll post those later, when I have them complete (and names for them).  You will notice one of the races is more detailed than the others (the Newts).  This is because I'm lifting them mostly wholesale from the Journal of the Traveller's Aid Society (issue 11) where they first appeared.  The rest are my rough notes, adapting material from D&D.  You may recognize what I've lifted.

The Acojah are a human-like species with very dark-skinned (black to a hazy purple hue) due to the strong UV output of their home sun.  They have long, pointed ears for heat dispersion as their world was very warm.  Their hair is usually white or silver and their white eyes appear pupiless.  Acojah tend to be slightly taller and slimmer than humans.

Their culture is misandric, with males limited to labor intensive roles while the females take leadership and scholarly roles.  To maintain this social structure, the government is a police state with several layers of competitive secret police serving the state.  Their government is often aristocratic in nature.

Humans.  What more do you need?

Lante are humanoids that stand almost as tall as humans but are more muscular as their homeworld has a gravity of 1.1 g.  Lante are generally gray-skinned creature with tiny, observant eyes that range in color from orange to red.  Members of the Lante warrior caste are more bestial in appearance, with green-gray skin and greasy black hair.  Lante savants are much shorter and slightly deformed, its scrawny body dwarfed by its wide, ungainly head.

The average Lante stands 5-6 ft tall and averages 160 pounds in weight.  Warrior caste Lante average 6 feet tall and 210 pounds in weight, mostly muscle.  Lante savants stand barely three feet tall.

Lante are a militaristic caste-based society that is very aggressive.  They are willing to use bioengineering to enhance/reinforce caste stereotypes and often experiment on others or themselves.  Despite this, the entire society has an anti-psi attitude, although this is weakest among the savant caste.  Their homeworld is Muulkaan in the Ghec Tor sector.

Drones - the Drone caste performs family and administrative functions in Lante society.
Leaders - The Leader cast manages Lante society in general.
Sports - Sports are the troubleshooters and utility fielders in Lante society and are generally exempt from the caste system. They do whatever is necessary to get the job done.
Technicians - The scientists and research and development caste.
Warriors - genetically manipulated to become larger and more suited to combat.  They are genetically coded to always follow the orders of a Leader caste Lante.
Workers - the Worker cast performs all of the manual labor and mundane things necessary to keep everything working.

Savants - are an offshoot of the Technician caste and the result of a genetic manipulation experiment, the Savant caste provide technology breakthroughs, but are dangerous idiot savants.  They tend to breed true.

Throwbacks - occasionally the genes of a Lante will produce an atavistic throwback to a more primitive state.  These throwbacks appear as another caste until some genetic trigger releases the atavism.  Throwbacks are violent, methodical, and very dangerous.

Also known as Bwaps or Wabs, (from their name for themselves, Bawapakerwaa-a-awapawab), the newts originated on Marhaban, in the Lentuli subsector.

Newts appear to be upright, bipedal lizards and average 1.4 meters in height and weigh between 30 and 50 kilograms.  Their hemoglobin is copper-based, and a deep blue in color. Because of this, their skin shows as a faint greenish-blue in areas where pigmentation is absent. Body markings vary tremendously from clan ("tree") to clan, each one having a distinctive pattern. The pattern is determined by genetic factors and the color determined by careful manipulation of the mother's diet during the formation of the egg.  Greens, browns, yellows and blues are most common, usually in patterns of darker colors over a lighter basic color.

Because their skin must be kept constantly moist, Newts are uncomfortable in humidity of less then 98%. With special clothing, they can exist indefinitely in humidities as low as 25%, provided they have adequate water. This clothing normally consists of a loosely fitting kaftan-like garment and a hood covering the head. The cloth of these garments is permeated with a network of fine tubes, through which water flows and keeps the cloth moist.  In occupations where they must handle papers, or other items which would suffer from moisture. Newts wear thin water-proof gloves. In humidities of less than 25%, they must use sealed environment suits. All clothing is colored with a stylized representation of their body coloring, since recognition of body pattern is an important part of their greeting ritual.

Newts are oviparous, each female incubating a single, non-amniotic egg in a special pouch on her lower abdomen.  After hatching, the young remain in this pouch for several weeks, occasionally coming out to be fed, until they are strong enough to survive outside. The young reach maturity after 14 years.

The Newt world view (which is not really a religion, but nevertheless dominates every part of their life), holds that each individual has a place in his wapawab or tree — a term stemming from their species' habitat, but including phratry, bloodlines, country, and place of duty.  Everything the Newts do
reflects this complex, wheels-within-wheels, patterns-within-patterns outlook.  Each individual takes great pride in being one small, functional and unique cog in a vast, ever-living, everchanging universe of interlinked patterns and cogs.

The few worlds which are completely controlled by the Newts are classed as a religious dictatorship. Law levels are usually very restrictive, representing the Newts obsession with proper behavior.

These pale blue humanoids have bulging white eyes, wild hair, four-fingered hands, and stand an average of 3 ft tall and weigh an average of 70 pounds.  They area subterranean race with a strong racial allergy to sunlight.

The Twigo are primitives who never achieved spaceflight.  They were used by others (notably the Lante) as slave labor, experimental subjects, or scouts in dark areas such as mines and ships or stations without power.  The Twigo picked up many bad habits from the Lante.  Their societies tend to be chaotic and violent.

The Waldi are an older race whose original society collapsed prior to the current era and enclaves of them have been found on widely dispersed number of worlds.  As a result of this dispersal, the Waldi now consist of two sophont species: the High Folk and the Low Folk.  Due to a cultural taboo against strangers seeing their flesh and wear clothing that is almost completely concealing.  Usually only the brow and the solid black eyes are visible.  It is believed the Waldi Low Folk are a degenerated form of the High Folk that breeds true.

Waldi High Folk are tall, frail humanoids with incredibly pale skin.  They constantly wear multiple layers of dark cloth and black body armor, which is always clean and spotless.  Waldi Low Folk stand just under 4 feet tall and weigh 80 pounds. Their flesh is pale and moist, and their eyes are milky white. Waldi Low Folk exude a foul stench of sweat and spoiled food, owing primarily to the fact that they never take off their clothing—instead piling on new layers when the outermost one grows too ragged.

Waldi culture is varied, but they have a tendency to be stand-off-ish with other sophonts.  The Waldi High Folk have a baroquely intricate aristocratic society of prestige based on the past deeds of the individual and the family.  The Waldi Low Folk are more scavengers with a violent bent and their societies are ruled by the strongest (or craftiest) among them.  Oddly, Waldi Low Folk instinctively defer to Waldi High Folk, even on first meeting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 34 – Into the Uskar Desert

Sessions 34 happened Tuesday, June 28, 2011.  The adventure log is a bit long.  Let me know if you'd rather there be a cut to hide it behind and I'll do that next time.

This campaign used the Dyson’s Delve dungeon pages on A Character forEvery Game as a starting point, but has now moved on to new material from the DM-in-training. I heartily recommend Dyson's Delve as a beginning adventure.

Adventuring Group:
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Brek'nok (male dwarf druid)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Luna (female elf sorcerer)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Suntouched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Midnight (female half-elf witch, cohort of Frankie Hu)
Short John Copper (male halfling expert)

Evening, June 6, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light will return.

A sandstorm blew up this morning and has continued all day. I created a small stone hut with wall of stone to protect us. It is cramped, but it is keeping the storm from flaying us.

Early afternoon, June 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who banishes the storm.

The storm finally died near Noon. After getting out to stretch, we packed our gear. We are now resuming our march to the Uskar Gate.

Evening, June 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who leads us true.

Late this afternoon we spotted a black scorpion [a gargantuan vermin] and chose to avoid it, even though Tre-ba was making noise about wanting a sample of its poison.

We came upon a funeral structure just before making camp. We are camping on the far side of a very large sand dune for the night. I’ve used wall of stone to create a low arc of stone to provide a roof and keep sand from sliding down on us.

The structure looks like a place of burial. There is a large rectangular building on a raised stone platform. There are six pillars lining a path from stairs at the edge to the stone doors of the structure. I’m curious as to what we will find here.

Morning, June 8, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light cleanses the world.

Slightly after midnight, an immense flock of undead, mostly skeletons, arose from the sands and started milling about the area. Wednesday, Frankie, and Midnight were on watch and woke me up. After looking around, I could see that the undead were milling around the structure and could not sense us on the far side of the sand dune. Only a few were far enough away from the structure to possibly see this side of the dune and the stone arc was hiding us well enough. I asked that they keep an eye on things and wake me if any of the undead actually noticed us.

Near dawn, the third watch observed the undead all enter the structure ahead of the rising sun. We may have to destroy all those undead during our investigation. There were quite a large number of them, but Aziz and I look forward to putting them down and cleansing the desert of them.

Evening, June 8, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, His light reflects in the most unexpected places.

The structure turned out to be dedicated to Ra! The upper level was the burial places of paladins in the service of Ra along with a few priests and was surprising clear of wandering undead. After verifying that there were no undead in the any of the stone coffins, we followed a set of stone stairs down to a lower level. This level was a temple to Ra with side shrines to honor the departed.

The undead had clearly moved through this area as their tracks greatly disturbed the dust on the floors. There were also the tracks of a lone figure wearing boots. Brek’nok was able to follow the tracks to the main altar where they stopped at the altar. Wednesday cautiously approached the altar and found a hidden compartment. Inside was a blessed scimitar, dedicated to the service of Ra [a +2 holy flaming scimitar to be precise].

We worked out that someone was sending waves of undead into the temple. The compartment the scimitar was in was trapped to disintegrate any evil-aligned entities opening it (Wednesday found the trap itself). After some discussion, we decided to take the scimitar, feeling Ra led us here for a purpose. We swapped it with Aziz's enchanted scimitar, leaving his in the original's scabbard to continue to lure in, and destroy, the undead seeking it.

Finding no gate here nor any further paths to follow, I cast locate object again and found that the temple was on the path to the gate, not the location of the gate itself, more evidence that Ra directed us here for a reason. We left the temple and continued west. Shortly later, we observed a lich walking the crest of a large dune. It also noticed us and, after trading a few verbal barbs, I struck it with a flame strike. The unclean thing responded with a teleportation spell and disappeared. With no immediate counter attack, we could do little else but move on.

Near the end of the duration of the locate object spell, the spell guided me down. There was no entrance visible there or anywhere nearby. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking for an entrance, to no avail.

We are making camp now. Tomorrow I will commune with Ra for guidance. Short John is cooking a stew for the evening's meal. The air was terribly hot when he started, but once the sun went down, the temperature dropped with it. By the time it is done, the warmth will be much appreciated in the cold, cold night. It smells delicious. Hiring Short John as our cook has been well worth the coins.

Morning, June 9, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who sends us unexpected allies.

During the night, a small group of storm giants moved past the camp and Brek'nok went out to talk with them. They are pleasant folk and agreed to help us once we explained what we were up to. They used their ability to manipulate the weather to create a windstorm, which blew the sands continuously away from the area. Near dawn (as the storm died off) we could see...more sand. Brek'nok wild shaped into an earth elemental at this point and earthglided down into the sands. Deep under the sands he encountered an underground structure. He could not enter the worked stone, but he could follow it around and seek a surface entrance. There was none he could find.

At dawn, I communed with Ra. It was an almost indescribable experience to be directly in communion with Him. He confirmed that there was no surface entrance to the buried location of the gate. He also made known that this gate could wait, the swamp gate needed us urgently.

We are packing up camp now to make our way to Lagaskia, a river town where Aziz was born and where we both spent time training to be paladins. While my path led elsewhere, it will be good to see some of the old masters again.

I have asked the storm giants to carry the remains of the pilgrims back to Uru for burial. They have agreed to do this, both for us and for the souls of the pilgrims. They are good people. I should have asked their names before they left.

Evening, June 11, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who blinds our enemies to our presence.

Yesterday was mostly quiet as we marched. We saw the ancient blue dragon fly by again, flying from the west and heading east. Brek'nok cast hide camp and the dragon never saw us.  (It says much about my life now that a dragon flying by is almost mundane.)

Today has been an entirely different thing. The morning started with us fleeing another gargantuan black scorpion, followed by a fire elemental crossing our path. Sarisvati conversed with the elemental in its native speech and convinced it to let us pass unharmed. Near the end of the day, the ancient blue dragon was spotted heading near us, but on a course for Lagaskia! Brek'nok hid our camp again and we observed. Aziz and I were ready and willing to attack the dragon if we could stop it from attacking the town, but, as it turned out, we did not have to.

The dragon landed ahead of us a short ways. Wednesday and Frankie scouted ahead to see what it was doing. From what they saw, it appeared to be landed for the night and was “arranging things” to get comfortable. Needless to say, we are having a cold camp tonight to avoid drawing its attention. Tomorrow, we will either attack it or sneak past to warn the town, whichever seems wisest.

Late Evening, June 12, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who lights our path.

The dragon slept in and so we quietly skirted around it and made best speed for Lagaskia. It was a tiring march and we pushed on at dusk to guarantee we would arrive in one day. When we finally spotted the town, we saw a dragon circling it and thought we were too late!

As it turns out, Lagaskia has a guardian, a bronze dragon named Alatthan. This is new from the last time Aziz and I were here, and we had not expected it. When we realized the difference, we changed our plans again. Aziz took all but Tre-ba and myself in to town. Tre-ba and I went to a rocky outcropping near the town where the dragon landed for the evening. We hailed the dragon and spoke with it in Draconic, which it seemed to appreciate. We warned it the ancient blue dragon was encamped to the southeast of the town. Alatthan seemed to be aware of the situation, but thanked us for the information anyways. He informed us that he had allies nearby (but not going into details) who could keep the blue at bay.

After further pleasantries, Tre-ba and I made our leave and returned to Lagaskia. Alatthan was a very polite host and seems to have the situation in hand. I am suspicious that the blue and the lich are working together, but I have no hard proof, only a suspicion.

Tomorrow we will hire a boat and sail for the Great Swamp. Tonight, Aziz and I are introducing our newest friends to some of our oldest friends. It is a good time to be alive.

*End of Session*

[Half this log was written in Microsoft Word, half in LibreOffice Writer, part of a free office package that comes with Ubuntu 11.04, which I loaded onto a personal laptop. The OS on the laptop was broken and I did not have the CD with the software (its a remaindered laptop from the DayJob), so I'm giving Ubuntu a whirl. Seems OK so far. The interface is a bit more like Apple than Microsoft, so it's taking some getting used to. I'll make more comments as I knock it around and such.]

[UPDATE: 12/22/2019 - I finally fixed the black text on a black background issue.  I had to go into the HTML code and hand-remove the additional text formatting as the Blogger interface failed to touch it in Compose mode.]

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SR50: Final Session – Fall of the Dragon

This session happened Friday, July 1, 2011, and was the only session I ran this past weekend.

Adventuring Group:
Su Bel (human cleric)
– Dame Yasha of Bereste (Su Bel’s human cavalier cohort)
Mog the Doomed (half-orc barbarian)
Tycho von Helmont (elf alchemist)
Agnes Sunbeard (dwarf rogue)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)
 – Kainen (Thorngrim’s human fighter cohort)
 – Halfgrim (Kainen’s stone giant warrior cohort)
Sal Ty (elf wizard) [via Skype]
– Maenwen (Sal’s human wizard cohort)
Alys Kaah (gnome summoner/cavalier) [via Skype]
– Mr. Boodles (Alys’s owlbear-looking eidolon and mount)
– Thomin (Alys’s gnome bard hireling)

Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table and then on my laptop via Skype.

“I really expect a couple of PC deaths this session.” The DM overly optimistic at the dragon's chances

In-game Starting Date: April 1, 23rd Year of King Nikola V

After thoroughly exploring the Banshee Copper Mine and finding the stashed treasure of the previous inhabitants, the adventurers spent the entire month of March having Sal, Maenwen, and Xin craft magic items for the fight against the red dragon, plowing all of their funds into the effort.  It would pay off.

The first morning of April, the magic-item-bedecked adventurers were teleported by Sal to the entrance of the Banshee Copper Mine.  From there, Halfgrim led the group to the Dragon's Mountain, a march of some four hours.  Along the way the group finalized their attack plans.  This conversation took up most of the trip [and a large part of the game session].

Approaching the mountain, the adventurers could see a main entrance low on the mountain and several potential exits up high on the mountain.  There was some discussion of Thorngrim using wall of stone to seal them off, but it was decided to wait on that as a small group [6] of stone giants was exiting the main entrance cave.  These turned out to be giants providing food stuffs for the dragon returning from that errand.  They asked Halfgrim who the short people were.  Kainen took this moment to step forward and declare himself their chief by right of combat, displaying the ruling stone he had taken from the previous chief.

The stone giants as one looked at Halfgrim to see if the runt was serious.  Halfgrim indicated Kainen was serious.  The leader of the stone giant group was skeptical to say the least and stepped forward to take the stone from Kainen and a fight between the two started.  The stone giant was only able to land a single blow, despite the large number thrown, while Kainen was able to hit often and repeatedly trip the giant.  After getting thoroughly bloodied and knocked on his ass, the giant yielded.  He and the other giants agreed to spread word that Kainen was now chief.  Kainen was informed that to make the claim stick, the dragon had to be killed without help from the rest of the tribe.  Also, there were some die-hard supporters of the dragon guarding a stone bridge over a chasm that was the only way to get to the dragon's lair on foot and Kainen would have to kill them before getting to the dragon.  Those giants were arrogant and abusive, so the rest of the tribe would not hold that against their new chief.

With this information and the neutrality of most of the other stone giants secured, the adventurers entered the mountain.  After making their way through the entry caves, they came upon a large cavern cut in two by a VERY deep chasm.  Guarding the stone bridge across it were four stone giants with breastplates, shields, and morningstars.  Kainen stepped forward and announced his claim as chief and the giants sneered.  The expected fight ensued.  Su Bel put up a wall of fire behind the far pair of giants to keep them from fleeing [and burn them some].  Sal summoned a huge earth elemental that wrestled with one of the giants [and got in Mog's way the entire fight] while the rest of the party took out the other giants with a combination of spells and melee attacks.

Once past the sentinels, the adventurers advanced deeper into the mountain to the dragon's lair.  Shortly before they expected to arrive, they cast the last of their preparatory spells and advanced in a rush to confront the dragon.  They found the lair to be an immense cavern with a partially exposed river of magma crossing it.  Tycho and Sal were able to spot the invisible dragon with see invisible and true sight, respectively.  Sal immediately cast greater dispel magic on the dragon, canceling three of the spells it had cast on itself in preparation for the fight.  This was when the dragon really should have fled.  It didn't and paid the price for its arrogance.

The dragon had based its attack plan on being able to fly and a greater invisibility spell.  Sal took out the latter immediately and the former was nullified by potions of flying taken by several of the adventurers, notably Mog.  Mog flew into combat, raging, and buried his huge axe in the dragon's ribcage [150 points of damage on a confirmed critical hit].  The dragon, enraged beyond intelligence attempted to eliminate Mog by concentrating all of its attacks on the half-orc.  Mog laughed like a maniac under the dragon's assault.  Alys, riding Mr. Boodles and wielding a dragon's bane lance gifted to her by her father-in-law-to-be, the Iron Baron, made two successive charges at the dragon, the second one killing the beast.

After the [distressing short – at least to the DM] fight with the dragon, the adventurers searched the adjacent caves for the stone giant hostages the dragon had taken and freed them.  Kainen led the hostages to back to the stone giant village and was confirmed as their new chief.  The adventurers spent the next couple of days ferrying the dragon's treasure back to Drop-off Keep.  Thomin, having been dragged along by Alys, immediately (immediately after a quick change of pants anyways) started composing songs to commemorate the victory against the dragon.

*End of session*

[I have some thoughts on the final game session, but it's been a busy holiday weekend here in the States and I'll need some more time to get all my thoughts written down.]