Thursday, 31 January 2013

Dragon Warriors Campaign

We started a new mini-campaign at the RP Haven last night. Our Pathfinder DM has gone on holiday for four weeks, so we needed something to fill in for those sessions he is absent. Our ranger said that he would run a game from the early 80s called Dragon Warriors. He sent out the character creation rules, we rolled up our characters and started a new adventure in a land that resembles medieval Europe around the 11/1200s (except for the fay magic).

A picture of the cover of the 2008 updated version of the game...

The campaign world put me in mind of a couple of books on Anglo-Saxon magic I read many years ago; The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates and its follow up The Real Middle Earth. Giving these books a swift re-read will be on my agenda in the coming weeks, especially when I heard that the former has become available for the Kindle reader.

Session 1: A Kidnapping in Worsted (30th January 2013)

The Dragon Warriors
Aethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
The Silent Man - Assassin

The Village of Worsted, Glissom (1st Day - morning)

Aethefrith, a huscarl from Thuland, downed his mead in one gulp after winning his bet against the effete Sir Geoffrey. He placed his prize, an amulet made of silver, into his pouch and began to rise from the mead bench. He did not make it very far, and slumped back onto the bench, his head swimming.

The next second he awoke, standing on the edge of a small stone pool with a battle raging all around him. Naturally he reached for his spear and shield but they were gone. He also noticed that his usual chain hauberk and woollen tunic and trews had been replaced by a monk’s habit. At least the amulet he had won in his bet was still there, but was now hanging around his neck.

At that moment a huge roar went up from a gigantic cat. It was chasing a score of ill-demeaned armed men out of the village in which Aethelfrith had just appeared. Ahead of Aethelfrith were a well-dressed noble-looking man, and two men dressed similarly in monk’s attire; one slight and shifty, the other haughty and imperious looking. Behind him was a crowd of nervous looking villagers armed with a variety of pitchforks and wheat flails.

After taking stock of his immediate surroundings and realising there was not much to threaten him except for the huge feline, he yelled for his arms and armour, boasting of what he would do to whoever it was that had stolen them from him. The cat had by now chased the bandits from the village; several corpses littered the way along the road leading south. The peasants behind him were still cowering wondering what to do, whilst the rich-looking man beckoned him and the two other men dressed as he was to the nearby tavern. Suspecting a trick, the two large men, Aethelfrith and Sir Erich of Barton, looked around for ways in which to arm themselves. The third person in monk’s robes somehow seemed to be perpetually half-hidden. The two warriors managed to strip some of the corpses of some of their weapons and a little leather armour. The villagers took their cue and began to do the same but only when the new arrivals had taken what they needed and vacated the area. The accumulation of weapons calmed the two warriors’ edginess, so they agreed to follow the stranger into the tavern.

The noble grabbed a table and ordered drinks for them all. He then proceeded to answer their questions. There was not a lot he could tell them other than he had come into town with the Rievers, had fulfilled his role and was now at liberty to do what he wished. When asked what his role was, he replied that he had resurrected the three of them from being held as stone statues around the pool at the temple. Sir Erich enquired as to the date, and they found out that they had been statues for several years (Aethelfrith for nine years, the other two for five)! Luckily none of them had aged any since the moment they were abducted.

During this conversation, the villagers and cottars had realised that the new comers were not a threat to their safety and their nervousness had dissipated to be replaced by curiosity as the tale of their rescuers unfurled. Throughout the conversation the nobleman tried to divest the warriors of their amulets. He almost managed to get Aethelfrith’s but would not stump up his sword as collateral. The three of them realised that their amulets were special, most likely linked to why they were brought to Worsted, and were different only in the writing on the back of them which none of them, the noble included, could read. The three companions in fate decided they would not part with their amulets and the nobleman left them in a huff, after narrowly avoiding fisticuffs with Aethelfrith, to book a room from the tavern keeper.

After the noble had gone, the three began to talk to the villagers. They found out that the church they appeared by was built by the brothers of the order in whose likeness they were dressed (in fact they had been summoned to life from the statues that surrounded the pool), but this was only remembered by the eldest of the townsfolk from their youth. No priests were present anymore, but the church was well-maintained they admitted.

They also found out that the mayor of the village had been kidnapped only a few days previously by the Rievers. It was the mayor who had brought the large cat from his homelands far to the south and had chased off the Rievers originally. The villagers wanted their mayor back as it had been trouble free from when he rescued the village until he had been kidnapped.

The Beckett’s Store

The newly arrived warriors decided amongst themselves that they would help out the villagers in getting their mayor back, but would need to be suitably armed and armoured. Unfortunately none of them had much money, except the few coins they had scavenged from the bandits’ bodies when they collected their weapons. The villagers suggested that they paid a visit on the Beckett’s, who could supply many of their needs without an up front payment!

The three companions decided to see what they could get and headed down the lane to the store. They were confronted by a middle-aged man and two young adults sweeping the already tidy floor, who stared at them as they entered. The party ordered up what they could from the store keeper and were bound over to pay for the equipment within a month or lose the amulets that they had handed over as collateral. Aethelfrith grabbed a spear, shield and some travelling clothes, whilst Sir Erich and the Silent Man grabbed what they required from the store man’s stocks.

Realising that they had now had to earn their honour, they headed to the temple to look for some clues. They found nothing important in the temple other than it was well-kept, had a couple of rows of about four sets of fine quality wooden pews and there was a linen altar cloth also of reasonable quality on the altar itself. The stained glass windows showed some money and effort was spent on raising the building, as well as the fact it was only one of three all-stone buildings in the village (the rest only had stone foundations).

As there were only a few hours of light left, the party decided not to set out on the trail of the Rievers to rescue the mayor yet, as the trail of dead bodies should prove easy to follow when they picked up the trail the next morning.

Into the Wilderness (Day 2 to Day 8)

The small band of warriors set out at first light and followed the trail into the forest. It was easy to follow to begin with, but after a while the signs became more confusing and Sir Erich finally lost his way later in the day. Aethelfrith used his forest craft to forage for their food whilst Sir Erich tried to pick up the trail again.

Towards the end of the first day, Aethelfrith came across a bush laden with fat, juicy berries; more than enough to feed them all that evening. As he bent down to pick the first clutch of succulent fruit, the bush struck out at him. He managed to dodge back quickly enough but his returned spear lunge was also somehow avoided by this animated bush. Sir Erich thrust his spear at the daemon-possessed plant but an arrow from the Silent Man’s bow flew wide. Aethelfrith moved back in and dispatched the possessed shrubbery with his spear.

For seven days the party quartered the land looking for the trail but they failed to find any sign of it. The only other beings they encountered were faerie creatures which arrived during the night whilst they all slept or otherwise did not notice, caused a bit of mischief by tying bootlaces together and generally rearranging everyone’s belongings. Running out of luck and wishing to rest up for a bit, they returned to the village to report their findings to the villagers.

Animal Encounters (Day 9 to Day 12)

After a good night’s sleep and a hearty meal, the party headed out into the wilderness again to try to pick up the trail of the Rievers. It had gone cold, so rather than head for the forest they had already explored they decided to go into the hills.

That very same evening, Sir Erich was on watch when he heard some snuffling noises. He awoke his companions and they all crept towards the source of the noise. They found that it emanated from a very large musk ox and his small herd. Aethelfrith had hunted these creatures in the past and realised that the beasts were too strong for the party to take down with their current weapon haul. They would go without meat for a short while longer.

After a few more days of having no luck in the hills, they decided to head back into the forest at a point they had not been to before.

They had only been searching for the trail for a few hours when their senses were assaulted by a strong carrion smell. They followed the scent and found that their way opened onto a small glade. In the centre of the glade were two bodies surrounded by a pack of ravenous wolves. Upon noticing the party, the matriarch called them together to face their human adversaries, but she did not have the nerve to charge at the newcomers as men were known to be dangerous foes.

Sir Erich and the Silent Man loaded their bows and shot at the wolf pack. One of the arrows flew true and struck the matriarch. She howled in rage and the rest of the pack joined her in attacking the humans.

Sir Erich still needed to ready his spear and even though Aethelfrith desperately tried to protect them both with his shield, they were both badly bitten by the raging wolves. The Silent Man had moved off into the surrounding trees and let off another arrow that struck one of the wolves. A couple stopped their attacks against the two stalwart warriors and ran towards the other assailant who had separated from the human pack.

The reduction in numbers allowed Aethelfrith to quickly kill the matriarch with his spear and Sir Erich managed to wound one too, but not before each of the companions was bitten again. A final surge of fury and a cry to his war-gods had Aethelfrith spit another wolf on his mighty ash shaft. With two of their number down, and several wounded, the wolves called it a day and ran off.

The party approached the bodies in the centre of the clearing only to find that the bodies were not fresh kills but had most likely been killed several days before when their quarry had originally passed through. They were back on the trail, but sorely hurt.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Carrion Crown - Session X

Session 10: The Dungeon of Harrowstone III (23rd January 2013)

This is the final session of the first adventure module in the Carrion Crown series: The Haunting of Harrowstone.
Harrowstone Prison - used without permission

Our GM will be taking a break for the next few weeks whilst he returns home to a land Down Under. Our ranger has said he would run a short game to fill in until our next foray into Ustalav. I think he said it was a chivalry and sorcery type game involving knight and wizards. Sounds fun, and I am looking forward to it.

Anway, here is the write up of the final session in this particular module...

The Pathfinders
Arsok – Half-Orc Conjurer
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger
Zirul – Half-Elf Cleric

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys (Day 13 – morning)

I awoke late this morning to a knocking at the door. The effects of the celebrations from the night before left me feeling a little worse for wear, and I slowly staggered downstairs to see the sheriff at the door. It seems another letter had been scrawled in blood upon one of the walls of the buildings in the town centre. We were not overly concerned with this news as this was only the fourth letter of the warden’s wife’s very long name, Vesorianna, and we had plenty of time to spare before we had to resolve the problem of Harrowstone.

When I readied myself for our next foray to the prison on the hill, I noticed that the hand-axe had gone. I searched for it frantically but could find it nowhere. Moebius suggested I spoke to Father Grimburrow about the axe and left me to it. So, when we made our way to the prison for, hopefully, our final visit, we called off at the temple of Pharasma. Father Grimburrow and his acolytes were hard at work renovating their garden; the sack of gold I gave them yesterday was being well spent.

Father took me into the temple and up to the altar, above which I espied my hand axe. I made to grab for it but Father Grimburrow was quicker. He tripped me, my head hit the font, and he grabbed the hand axe from the shelf. He then purposefully lowered the axe into the font of Holy Water. I watched in horror, but after a few moments my head seemed to clear and I saw the axe in a different light; the curse had been lifted.

The Reaper’s Hold

We all headed up to the prison to continue with our quest. We made it back to the central room in the basement which had the plaques above each door. We decided to head through the door marked The Reaper’s Hold. Beyond was a short corridor ending in a portcullis that was in the down position. On either side of the corridor was a door. We opened the door on the right and entered what looked like a guard room. Inside we found the winch that activated the portcullis and decided to raise it and then wedge it in the open position. We decided to ignore the room opposite and made our way into the room beyond the portcullis. Inside we found several cells with their iron doors ajar, but all turned out to be empty. In the far corner of the room we found a door that led into a further room beyond.

The room beyond appeared to be a torture chamber, in the centre of which there was a rack with a skeleton in guard uniform upon it. Around the room were a variety of torture implements and a massive iron maiden. We split up and investigated what was there. Zef removed a large disk from the racked corpse’s mouth and found a set of keys beneath it. He grabbed them and stuffed them into his pocket. Nothing else was found in the room, so we decided we should return to the room in the corridor we had missed. It was then that a couple of us noticed that there was something unusual with the wall to our left upon entering. Zef was able to quickly pop the secret door open and we all entered a narrow, winding corridor that led into the darkness for about thirty or so feet. I was bringing up the rear, so would have been last to enter the room beyond if things didn’t take a strange turn.

The Splatter Man

Moments after entering the room, my companions began to beat at the wall opposite with their weapons and a few began to panic, fear spreading across their faces. Not wanting to join in with the madness, I decided to keep watch in case anything came out of the water-filled oubliette in the centre of the room. Zirul poured Holy Water into the oubliette and Zef started to hit the wall with the Hammer from the set of artefacts that were supposed to help us against the five dangerous prisoners. After a while, the wall began to shudder as my companions began to throw spells at it. All this was strange to my eyes, I could see no reason why they would attack a blank wall, but I later found out that something was affecting their judgment and that they could see their names being written in blood, letter by letter, upon the wall in front of them. Whenever they struck the wall by might or magic, their names started to erase, so they all wished to erase their names from the wall. It seemed that at a point when all of their names were erased, there appeared a ghostly apparition from the oubliette.

Dressed in prison uniform and incorporeal to look at, the apparition began to cast a spell. My companions turned their attention to the new arrival just as five large rats appeared within the chamber. All hell then broke loose as the magicians in the party fired off many spells and summoned an array of beings from beyond this plane. Zef got to work with his bow but was struck a mighty blow that almost killed him there and then, and I tried to pick some of the rats off with my crossbow. I managed to pin one to the wall but it was proving difficult to take down the Splatter Man. The air was full of magical discharge and the battle continued for several minutes before we realised that it may have been better to attack his rat minions instead. These were taken out very quickly but not before they were magically grown in size. I managed to stab and kill one from behind at the same time as a couple of the others were destroyed by Zef and the mages. Zirul used his Blessed sword and chopped the Splatter Man in half. It seemed that the Splatter Man could indeed be hurt more by hitting his minions than his ethereal body.

Zef and the others were seriously injured, so Zirul healed them whilst I jumped into the oubliette and swam to the bottom to retrieve the Splatter Man’s corpse. I also found some magical items at the bottom of the flooded pit. I kept the magical ring of protection and a magical mithril dagger, but gave the magical sword to our cleric as he would be best suited to using it.

The Warden’s Safe

We decided to rest up a bit so returned to the warden’s safe room to see if the keys that Zef had found fitted the lock. The safe opened when we found the right key and inside we found a pile of legal papers, a sack of gold coins and several magical potions. We put these into a sack and loaded them onto Moebius’s mule waiting patiently outside.

We next returned to visit the wardens’ wife to ask if we had indeed put an end to the Splatter Man. Vesorianna responded that we had indeed put paid to him but she reminded us that there was still one more to destroy before she could finally rest in peace. We assured her we would be heading back into the prison depths directly to complete our mission.

The Marshwater Marauder

There were only two more rooms to check in the dungeon so we decided to check out the one opposite the portcullis control room first as we had already been that way and it seemed the quietest. Famous last words!

Zef pushed open the door to a medium sized chamber. Inside it appeared to be a guard room. Several suits of armour and weapons were stacked against the walls. In the centre of the room was a table; upon which was the body of a dwarf. On another table were a large hammer and three skulls, with pieces broken off and put together in attempt to make a fourth skull.

As soon as Zef set foot into the room, the leathery body of the long dead dwarf on the table stirred into un-life. The dwarf began to attack and the three skulls upon the table rose up and flew towards us. Zef was hit by the Marauder and he staggered under the force of the blow. A piece of his skull flew off to fill a gap in one of the ones flying around the room. Zirul summoned the power of his god and cast it at the skulls which all exploded in a shower of fragments. I managed to squeeze between the combatants and caught the Marshwater Marauder unawares with the dagger I had picked up in the other room. He collapsed to the floor.

After the tough fights we had had the day before, this fight was a bit of an anti-climax. We had destroyed all of the ghostly prison ringleaders.

We didn’t find anything in the room itself but noticed the faint outline of a secret door in one of the walls. We managed to open it without mishap and entered an armoury beyond. The room was full of all types of masterwork arms and armour, as well as several magical items.

We shared these amongst ourselves and investigated the final room in the lower level. Inside we found that the room was burnt out by the fire the prisoners had set when they attempted their breakout. We headed back upstairs to the warden’s wife’s room and, as we entered, the warden’s wife appeared and smiled at us. She confirmed that the last of the prisoners had been defeated and she was now at liberty to pass over to the other side. She thanked us, sighed and dissipated before our eyes.

All of the armaments were loaded onto Moebius’s mule and we headed back into town. We noticed that the birds had started to return to the prison grounds and began to sing. As we walked trough the town centre, we were mobbed by the townsfolk, congratulating us and wanting to hear our stories. The mayor managed to guide us back home safely and requested our presence at the Town Hall the following day for a presentation.

We rested, healed, and divvied up the treasure we had found in the dungeon over the course of the rest of the day. Zef, Zirul, Moebius and I also headed to the merchant’s place and traded our treasure for items more suited to our personal needs whilst Arsok visited Gibbs in prison and found that he was no longer screaming and no longer possessed. In fact, he seemed unaware of his surroundings and couldn’t remember why he was in prison.

The Reward (Day 14 – morning)

The following morning, after our usual poor breakfast of gruel, we headed to the Town Hall. There was a long, boring ceremony in which we were given a hefty sum of gold as a reward for ridding the town of its curse and promised we would always find a warm welcome in Ravengro. Zef, wriggled with embarrassment and it was easy to see he was not comfortable with the situation.

Once the ceremony was over, we found we still had a couple of weeks left to make good our promise to the professor. We spent the next two weeks looking after Kendra before finally packing our bags, collecting up the professor’s books and heading off to Lepistadt to fulfil the final part of our pledge in his memory.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Hordes of the Things - GW Goblin Archers

I have finally, I think, finished a 24AP Orc and Goblin army for use with Hordes of the Things. It has only taken about two years to get to this point after starting the project! I would like to add some kind of Magician base and a Hero-type base to the total, but it is usable as an army as of now.

Base 1 - Goblin Archers...

Base 2 - Goblin Archers...
Base 3 - Goblin Archers...
Unfortunately they are huge compared to the old school metal minis I have been using for the rest of the army, but I am not going to let that worry me - the army is going to be a conglomeration of orcs and goblins from a great variety of tribes and races. Anyway, the army now consists of the following units/bases...
3 bases Harboth's Black Mountain Boys (Blades x3)  = 6AP
3 bases GW Goblin Archers (Shooters x3)                  = 6AP
2 bases GW Goblins (Spear x2)                                   = 4AP
2 bases Goblin Tusker Riders (Riders x2)                    = 4AP
1 base Trolls (Behemoth x1)                                        = 4AP
1 base Lesser Goblins (Horde x1)                                = 1AP
Total                                                                             = 25AP
I also have a box of GW Night Goblins to glue and paint up. These will provide as many Warbands as I can get from the box alongside some old Citadel Night Goblins I can add into the mix. I also have a Heroes of the Dark Ages Orc Shaman that will double up as my magician. I need to just buy some bats to go on that base to make it look good, some more small gobbos to use as Hordes, and maybe I need some sort of Orc Warboss on some kind of giant hog or the like to be the Hero and/or General stand. These should go well against my Barbarian army. Let's hope I can get a few games in with these soon.
Here is something else I started working on over the weekend. Not sure how my finger got in the way on this shot, what with my camera being a digital SLR and all, but there you go...
I thought I would get started on some more of my Lord of the Rings stuff. I already have a big bunch of Riders and Warriors of Rohan painted up, so they need someone to fight. I decided to put together a box of Easterlings with metal command to give 22 warriors, a banner bearer and a captain. Rohan will need a couple of captains to round out the force before use, and this bunch of Easterlings will require some mounted support. I have Kamul and eleven Kataphracts (5 metal, 6 plastic) to add to this force. I have tons of orcs and Warg Riders too, to make up numbers if necessary.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Carrion Crown - Session IX

Session 9: The Dungeon of Harrowstone II (16th January 2013)

The Pathfinders
Arsok – Half-Orc Conjurer
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger
Zirul – Half-Elf Cleric

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys (Day 12 – morning)

Just as we started to make our way into the corridor, we were brought to a halt by another “Hallo” from above. An enormous Half-Orc with a great axe slung across his back joined us in the chamber and introduced himself. At first, we were taken aback by his appearance but his reassurance that he knew the professor and had rushed to join us put our minds at ease. Another companion is always of great comfort at times like this.

The Plaque Room

Zef and I scouted ahead of the rest of the party and very soon we emerged into a largish room with a door in each wall located at each of the cardinal points. In the middle of the room was a pile of rubble surrounding a staircase going up to the level above, and several skeletons were scattered around the room. The rest of the party entered the room and we started to search about for anything of value. As soon as the last of us entered the room, the piles of bones began to move. Zef quickly put a couple of arrows into one of them and I stabbed one with the point of my rapier before Zirul, our cleric, called upon the power of Iomedae. All the skeletons crumbled to dust in the shower of golden light that appeared all around us.

We now had the time to read the brass plaques above each door; North read Oubliette, East read Reaver’s Hold, South (from where we entered) read Nevermore, and West read Hell’s basement. We decided to carry on in a straight line and passed through the door marked Oubliette. Beyond the door we entered through was a short corridor with further doors at the far end and half way along the corridor on the left. Whilst I scouted forward towards the door at the far end of the corridor, Zef entered the room on the left. He pushed the door aside and entered the room. The room I found myself in was guarded by a drop down portcullis (still up) and inside was a circular grille over what looked like a deep pit in the centre of the room. A rope led from out of the pit and through the grille. The walls of the room were lined with metal cell doors. I checked the portcullis over for traps, and finding none proceeded to tap a spike into the door frame to stop the portcullis from dropping and trapping us within the room.

The Pit and the Lopper

Whilst banging in the spike with my hammer, I heard the sounds of combat come from the room Zef had entered. A blazing orange glow also came from the room. I got on with my job whilst my companions resolved the difficulties they came across in the side room. A sudden flash of golden light accompanied by prayers to Iomedae told me that their foe had been overcome. I had secured the portcullis by now and ventured into the room towards the pit in the floor; the oubliette named on the plaque above the door. As soon as I reached the grille, I dropped a stone over the side. It landed a short while later (indicating about a twenty foot drop) on something soft. I peered over the rim of the pit with torch in hand, but two massively long arms reached up, grabbed me, and pulled me through the grille. I wasn’t squeezed between the bars but was somehow transported through them without touching them. I was now face-to-face with a huge assailant with an enormous axe; the third of our evil prisoner ring leaders. I screamed out what I saw to my colleagues above and threw a vial of Holy Water at the apparition. This didn’t seem to have any effect and I was severely wounded by a blow from his axe.

Arsok suddenly appeared next to me in the pit with the silver axe we had found amongst the tools that should aid us in killing the five deadly prisoners. With great horror I saw some of my life’s blood leave my wounds and make its way towards the ghoul who had struck me. The surprise at seeing my blood leaving my wound allowed the ghoul to hit me again with his axe and I passed out with the pain and loss of blood.

I think some magic was cast by our cleric as I awoke again some moments later, only to see the Lopper spring up through the grate and into the room above. I found that my more serious wounds had closed with the application of the magic spell and I was able to participate more in the combat. Arsok, beside me, began casting a spell.

A few moments later, one of my wounds reopened and more blood flew towards the ghoul – he must have been healing himself on my life blood. The sounds of physical and magical combat continued on in the room above, with several magical beings being summoned by our mages. I could hear the priest of Iomedae constantly calling upon aid from his god and the room filled with the flashes and bangs of arcane and divine magic.

I managed to climb up the rope that was hanging into the pit through the grille, and luckily was able to just squeeze through the bars of the grille to get back into the room above. I noticed that the room was in complete turmoil as my head popped above the rim; flashes and bangs of magic reverberated around the room, arrows flew from Zef’s bow and summoned creatures howled their rage at the undead fiend. The ghoul had fought his way through my companions and had begun to retreat down the far corridor we had entered the room by, screaming in agony – something our priest threw his way had obviously caused him grief. It was then that I lost more blood to the Lopper. I looked down at my hand to see what I was carrying and noticed that I had somehow taken possession of the hand axe; Arsok must have passed it to me before the Lopper had leapt out of the oubliette. Angry that the fiend was using me and now some of my companions, who had also now been injured, to heal himself I threw the hand axe at him. My aim was off and I struck our cleric in the shoulder – luckily it had not been thrown too well and caused little damage through his armour.

All around me was chaos and magic, but my focus was only on getting the axe back. It felt so good to have in my hands. Whilst my companions carried on with their attacks on the Lopper, I managed to reclaim it from the other side of the room. During this time, the ghoul had spotted the last of us not injured at his hand and teleported back into the melee to attack our Elven mage. Moebius saw the fiend appear, but was able to create more images of himself to confuse it. This diversion of the fiend’s attention allowed me to sneak up behind him and strike with the axe. My first blow went wide due to the crush of bodies around me, but my second strike hit true, separating the fiend’s head from his body.

Return to Ravengro

We all sighed with relief now that the Lopper was finally vanquished. The conjurers dissipated their summoned creatures and we all checked over our wounds. We were sorely beaten and bruised, but otherwise OK. Zef quickly ran off to inspect the cells within the oubliette room but found they were all empty. He then went off to inspect the side room where they now told me they had fought a headless flaming skeleton. I slipped back through the grille and climbed back into the oubliette to check out the contents of the pile of rubbish on the floor at the bottom. I managed to find the Lopper’s bones and a skull, presumably that of the flaming skeleton, which I stuffed into a sack to take back to Father Grimburrow to dispose of. I also managed to pick up from the detritus a small amount of gold, a masterwork Heavy Crossbow, a masterwork Long Sword which I passed to our cleric, a magical mace which I gave to Zef, a Stone of Alarm which I passed to Moebius, and a bunch of keys.

After a brief discussion, we realised that we could not continue on in our current state; we all carried injuries and our spell casters were exhausted of all magicks, so we decided to return to the town for some rest and recuperation. However, that safe in the warden’s office called out to me once more, so we made a quick detour to the office and I tried the keys on the safe – no luck again. They must be on the warden’s body still, and none of the bodies we have found so far could have been the warden.

On our way back to Kendra’s house we called in on Father Grimburrow. I handed over the bones for him to dispose of and he in return healed our wounds. Zirul decided not to take him up on the offer, relying on his own deity to heal him instead. We mentioned all that we had achieved, and he seemed pleased. However, he said that the temple grounds required a bit of work doing on them (hinting that we needed to start paying for some of our post-combat treatment), so I passed him the small sack of gold much to my companions’ chagrin.

After we had bathed our wounds, repaired the rents in our armour, and replaced any missing weapons, we all headed out to the taverns to celebrate our latest escapades and introduce our two new companions to the townsfolk. My magic-using companions returned home early though and spent the rest of the evening studying their books; Moebius worked out the command word for the Stone of Alarm (Canis). Zef hadn’t joined us in the Laughing Demon, preferring the quieter pub he usually frequented. I stayed in the Demon and didn’t have to buy a drink all night! On our way home from the taverns (we both left our respective haunts at the same time; closing time!) we met up at the common, and noticed one of the trees was full of small black birds – whipper whorls or something Zef called them.

I mentioned this to our companions back at our hostel and was told that they were servants of Pharasma. They linger around the dead and dying. It was bad luck to kill one as you would be next to replace it! I wasn’t sure if this was an omen of good or ill fortune. Were they lingering around awaiting our deaths or were they back due to the release of souls we had been facilitating with our work in the prison?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Carrion Crown - Session VIII

Session 8: The Dungeon of Harrowstone (9th January 2013)

After a break of around a month, we finally got back round the table to finish up the current adventure module for the Carrion Crown. There is still probbaly another one or two sessions to go that will allow us time to clear out the last level(s) of the dungeon below Harrowstone prison. Unfortunately we lost one of our regular players but we did get the opportunity for three new ones to join us - the club had a big influx of new players seeking games this week. One was able to get his character (Zirul, the cleric) rolled up and so he joined us in the dying minutes of the game, but another was still busy rolling as we completed the session. That said, he was party to all that was going on and was filled in with all the background story so far. A third player was due to turn up but got called away at the last minute - however, he should be rolling up a character during the week in readiness for joining our little band of brave adventurers as we complete the first adventure module.

The Pathfinders

Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger
Zirul – Half-Elf Cleric

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys (Day 12 – morning)

Last night I had a good night’s sleep that helped me to fully recover from my wounds gained a couple of days ago. When I finally emerged from my bed I found that everyone else was up and had already broken their fasts. I was told by Moebius that Kazimir has left our company as he had other matters to attend to.

Zef and I quickly prepared ourselves and made our way to the hardware store to pick up a few items of equipment and to replenish our stocks of arrows and bolts. We met up again with Moebius on the road up to Harrowstone prison. Upon arrival at the outer walls we noticed that the level of noise here had abated since the last time we came. We stealthily passed through the gates and realised that we could no longer hear the rats in the watch tower. We investigated and found that they had completely gone! That meant one less thing for us to worry about; or was it a sign of something more dangerous arriving and scaring them away?

The Cold Room

We paid a quick visit to the warden’s room so that I could have another go at opening the safe. Unfortunately, even with the aid of my new set of Masterwork tools I was unable to do so. This was one tough lock.

We decided to head into the room that contained the ghost of the warden’s wife to see if she had any updates on the state of the prison for us. We found her floating several inches off the ground but looking a lot more solid than the last time we saw her. Upon asking her about the deathly quiet that we encountered on arriving at the prison, she mentioned that she was slowly regaining her strength and therefore control of the grounds. She confirmed that the two ghosts we slew a few days back were indeed truly gone but the other three still remained. We reiterated that we were going to help her clear out the dungeon level below, starting today.

We quickly said our goodbyes and headed towards the cold room and hopefully the entrance to the levels below. Zef was first through the door but the coldness wrapped its deadly embrace around him so that it slowed him considerably crossing the room. Once across he was able to easily open the door opposite. I crossed the room next, followed by Moebius, but neither of us was affected by the cold too much. We stepped through the door into a room that looked like it may have been an armoury and training room for the prison guards. We noticed that there was a large burnt area on the floor and a large hole descending to the depths below.

Descent into the Depths

Zef and I investigated the hole and realised from the light of our torches that it was around twenty feet deep. I sorted out my silken climbing rope, tied a few knots in it to aid the others climbing and made it fast against a secure beam across the room. Zef shimmied down rather rapidly and started to poke around in the debris in the room at the bottom of the hole.

There were several piles of junk and the remains of an elevator/lift contraption that most likely offered an easier way up and down between the levels. Poking around in the piles of junk though disturbed three more of those flaming skulls that we saw on the night of the Town Hall meeting. One flew directly at Zef but he managed to dodge its path. He then let fly with his arrows and downed one of the other two. Moebius launched one of his frosty spells at the other, but my crossbow bolt missed the mark. Quick as you like, Zef reloaded and shot down a second flaming skull whilst another of Moebius’ frost spells further slowed the remaining one. My second shot with the crossbow brought the final one down.

Moebius and I then proceeded to climb down the rope and join our comrade and took a better look around the room, which was remarkably free of dust. We spotted a partially hidden door at the far end of the room, so we made our way towards it. We had to cross a large puddle of water to get to the opening and just as we began to file through the opening we noticed that the surface of the water behind us began to ripple. Suddenly our ears were accosted by the sound of a thousand voices in torment and two frightful apparitions raised themselves from the water, dripping with malevolence and ectoplasm. Almost straight away, Moebius became enveloped by one of the beings and started screaming in pain as the ectoplasm began to eat away at his flesh. Zef was more than ready for the challenge and had loaded his bow and shot at the ghosts with two of the magical arrows we found in the tomb that the Professor had alluded to in his writings. The apparition not enveloping Moebius screamed and dissipated in a slosh of goo. I poured a vial of Holy Water over Moebius and his attacker, but Moebius was still unable to help himself. Another shot from Zef released the second ghost from its life of eternal torment.

A New Arrival

As we began to wash some of the ectoplasm from Moebius’clothes and equipment, we heard the sounds of movement coming from above. We saw a shape start to descend the rope behind us. I shouted for them to hold and the reply was a friendly greeting from a cleric of Iodemae who said he was here to help us in our quest. He explained that he too was a friend of Professor Lorimor but was held up in his travels and got here regrettably too late for his funeral. To prove his good faith he cast a healing spell over my two injured companions.

We all sighed with relief that we now had the aid of at least one of the gods on our side now and prepared ourselves to re-enter the partially blocked opening.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

Well there goes another year, and what a year it was! Outside of gaming there were all sorts of newsworthy events like the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics and a variety of other sporting and celebrity related events - most of which I pay little or no attention to. There were also many other not-so-nice events that leave a bad taste in the mouth - all the ongoing troubles in the Middle East, the ever continuing world financial problems and so on. However, I'd like to leave all that unsavoury stuff aside and wish everyone around the world a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Image courtesy of Google

A new year generally brings with it a time for reflection and new beginnings. I am going to keep my thoughts gaming based, so here follows my achievements for the last twelve months...

Games played:
This count improved dramatically over the previous few years since I started this blog. I joined a local RPG group and have played in two/three (one still ongoing) major campaigns; two AD&D, the other Pathfinder. I also played a game I haven't played before - All Flesh Must Be Eaten. To add to this total I played a few tabletop games early in the year, namely Songs of Blades and Heroes and its Arthurian variant. This year I hope to carry on playing in the Pathfinder campaign (we have almost finished part 1 of the 6 published adventures), maybe take part in one or two other one-off RPGs I have not had the pleasure of playing before, and hopefully get my number of tabletop battle games played to a higher total than last year. I managed to secure a copy of Talisman during the course of the year, so when I get some table space, that will be coming out and played with the kids.

Figures Painted:
For some reason I lost my painting mojo around springtime and only really got it back in the last few months. The summer is usually when I really get loads done, but for some reason I just didn't get much done at all this year. My plans for next year are to try to plan my painting a bit more and rather than paint figures on an ad-hoc basis, try to paint regiments or armies as a whole. One total that was better than last year was my 15mm count. I aim to continue in that vein and get a few HotT/DBx style armies made up in 15mm. This would certainly suit my lack of playing space as a 2' x 2' board is a lot easier to accommodate than a 4' x 4' one. For 28mm I would like to get either my dwarf or orc/goblin armies for HotT completed so I can start playing it with the kids. It would be great if this could happen by the summer.

Projects planned:
As mentioned above, I'd like to complete a few armies and also a few other gaming related things that have been hanging around for some time, some of which for decades!
HotT Dwarfs: Just a few more bases of Dwarfs should complete a 24AP army.
HotT Goblins/Orcs: Ditto above - I would then have 3 complete 24AP armies to battle it out with.
Historical Armies: I'd like to complete a large Norman army circa 1066-1099. None of these figures have really been started yet, so as a project I'd like to have the following: 40 Norman milites, 40-50 Norman footmen (spears, swords and Dane-axes in a variety of armour), a couple of dozen archers and a couple of dozen crossbowmen. These will then be used for Saga, WAB and any other tabletop gaming rules I like the look of. I also have a few boxes of Gripping Beast Saxons and Vikings for slightly earlier period gaming (Alfredian period - 890s) and a bunch of heavily armoured Romano-Britons to add to my existing unarmoured units.
Fantasy figures: I still have dozens of old school Citadel/Ral Partha/Asgard etc. minis that need cleaning, painting and basing. I am not sure what to use these for other than just getting them painted, but a planned fantasy RPG/tabletop campaign will probably be in the offing sometime in the future.
15mm figures: I have several hundred of these from a variety of periods (but all ancient to medieval) that I was going to use fopr my Doggerland campaign game. The game played out before I could paint a single miniature. That said, I have ideas of a slightly smaller scaled game that would allow me to still use them - most likely based for HotT/DBx (I bought a load of acrylic bases a few years back for the purpose).
Fantasy RPG: I will carry on playing at the club in a variety of fantasy RPGs (Pathfinder being the primary game at the moment) and hopefully develop my own campaign for e-pbm with my oldest gaming chums who are now situated all over the country which makes getting together for a session extremely difficult. This also leads into the game extension for Doggerland which will be an e-pbm and tabletop battle game combined.
Sci-fi gaming: I have a completely developed sub-sector for Traveller rolled up and ready for use - it has been for a few decades and has only been used in anger on one occasion. I am also currently aiding my old Traveller referee in re-writing our old adventures and updating it for modern times with the hope that we can reboot our old universe and start playing in it again. The history is very rich and detailed, so it would make an ideal springboard for new adventures once we have ironed out a few anomalies and issues. I am hoping to get it all typed into the computer rather than having it just on hand-written notes dated from the early 80s to 90s.

So, there is a lot to do and a lot I have planned. Even if I only get half of the above completed I would be very happy. My main aim really though is to get playing more, and all the above painting and administrative stuff is a prerequisite to that. I am one of life's great procrastinators, but I am hoping that this year I keep chipping away at the huge pile of self-imposed work and overcome my lax attitude at the same time.

Here's to another year of gaming, fun and shenanigans (raises glass of single malt to all my readers, friends and family).