Saw The Last Jedi a couple of days ago. As a big Star Wars fan, my reaction to it was mixed. For me, it was certainly my least favourite of the most recent movies, and might require a rewatch and some further thought.
Things I Didn’t Like
The Rebels OnThe Run/Armada in Flight plot-line.
I would have preferred a larger, longer running space battle involving larger fleets on both sides – a fighting retreat on the part of the Resistance. It would have been fun to have put Poe back in an X-wing and told his character arc with a few more dogfights rather him stuck on a starship. Fin and Rose’s expedition could have been about uncovering a traitor broadcasting the Resistance’s location rather than a convoluted means of overcoming First Order radar, which leads me to;
Things I Loved
Old Man Luke
Things I’m unsure about
Princess Mary Poppins
I saw it a few days ago. Unfortunately, in Egypt 3D movies are only show in 3D, so like the The Force Awakens, I was forced to watch Rogue One in a poor colour palette. Like TFA, the movie was strong enough that I had a great time despite the murky visuals.
Here are some random thoughts (with spoilers), from the perspective of an avid Star Wars fan:
I was really impressed with the bold decision to eliminate all the heroes. It made the final act particularly tense, as the realisation that everyone might die began to creep past the voice in your head shouting “that doesn’t happen in Star Wars!” Although I’m very anti sequels for sequels’ sake, at the end I was hoping Jyn and Andor might pull through – I would quite like to have seen a Rogue Two.
Mind you, if a sequel is made, it could be quite interesting to have numbered Rogues, each with completely different casts and stand-alone missions.
I enjoyed Peter Cushing’s resurrection. Unlike other posters I thought the voice acting for Tarkin was very good. The CGI didn’t bother me at all, but that might have been more to do with the s*** 3D. Leia at the end did look a little crude, and I think I would have found that scene stronger if they had never showed her face.
I found the ‘fan service’ moments well-judged and unobtrusive, and the reappearance of Red Squadron pilots put a massive smile on my face.
The music was a little bit of a weak link, but not massively so.
Given the overuse of the superweapon trope in Star Wars (Starkiller Base was the only thing that made me groan in TFA), I really enjoyed seeing the Death Star at work and the sense of dread it evoked. Being planetside for a blast of the superlaser on Jedha was really cool.
Director Krennic was great, and I think the moments were things were unravelling for him made a nice counterpoint to the absolute confidence of Vader and Tarkin.
And incidentally Pan – I loved the score to Prince of Thieves!
My revised ranking of the Star Wars canon would be:
I compose songs on the guitar and record them with some friends who play various other instruments. I've recorded a couple of EPs which can be heard here.
It's folky stuff, mainly fingerpicked guitar but I like to get a bit of a groove on.
If we're wandering off-topic to include "movies with swords in them", anyone on these boards who's never seen old Musketeers films starring Michael York and Ollie Reed must immediately seek to rectify this shortcoming in their lives. Fantastically choreographed swashbuckling duels, a brilliant undercurrent of Pythonesque humour (plus Spike Milligan!) and a few surprisingly dark moments.
I'll also raise a toast to Nate and Hayes, loved that movie as a child - British viewers know it as "Savage Isles" (it took me a while to track down because of that). Fun seeing Tommy Lee Jones taking a Harrison Ford-esque role as a dashing pirate.
Someone said wrote:
Event Horizon (prequel to the entire Warhammer 40k universe!)
I'm pretty sure Warhammer 40 K preceded Event Horizon by at least a decade or so.
Male Dhampir Monk (hungry ghost) 7 / Cleric of Zon-Kuthon 3
[HP 74/74 | AC 21 (T 19 | FF 16) CMD 25 | +11 F +13 R +13 W | Init +6 | Perc: +11
DM Thron wrote:
Dismissed as useless by his DM, Morythine weeps pitifully into his tricorn. Happy Year of the Goat everyone!
Doug's Workshop wrote:
I was in the uber cabal for a little while but it was too much hassle. You had to wash your robes by hand or the colour would run, and I spent a small fortune on chalk for the drawing of pentragrams. I drifted away and the rest of them went into politics.
The Story of Tanladvir as told by the fallen wight Arith-Zind: Part 4 – The Fall Of Arith-Zind.
Arith-Zind continues his tale, but now his deathly voice turns whistful.
“After the death of Eladys Stormstar, I continued to sell my sword to the highest bidder. I gathered about a warband of men as skilled and ruthless as I, and enjoyed greater success and further riches. Some of those men still stand in my army now.”
“But with Eladys fallen, I found little pleasure in my good fortune. The only acts that still moved me where those of slaughter. The horrors enacted by my hand grew more terrible still, and my blade was never dry.”
“Yet the weight of my years was starting to drag at my sword-arm, and I despised the erosion of my skill and my senses.”
“And so it was we found ourselves in Ustalav, and an opportunity to fend off my mortality was presented. The Whispering Tyrant had returned, and was seeking minions of evil mien to declare fealty. I made a fine candidate. Through some fell sorcery I was wise enough not to question, I aged no more from that day, and led my warriors in battle against Aroden’s Shining Crusade. Tar-Baphon gave me a new name. I became Arith-Zind.
“But Arith-Zind did not live forever, as he had hoped. My master’s magic could stop the slow decay of aging, but not the killing stroke of a blade. And so came the Battle of Three Sorrows. By then Ulsverd the Unyielding and his terrible sword had gathered a reputation, but I had yet to realise it was Tanladvir in his hands. The weapon’s beauty had been terribly disfigured when Ulsverd bore it into battle against the mighty omox of Lake Encarthan.”
“Jobox. Not even Azlanti steel could withstand that leviathan’s acid blood, as so Tanladvir came to be as you see her today. But her magic remained. She was powerful as ever.”
“On the day of the battle, my warband were instructed to defend the Tyrant’s devastating war machines as a thousand naked skeletons pushed them into position, step by plodding step up the hill known as Grey Tor. The crusaders had recognised the threat they bore, and Ulsverd led a wing of two hundred knights in a flanking action to engage us. They were Taldor’s finest, and I knew we were outmatched. But in his wisdom, the Tyrant saw the threat, and cast a mighty spell. A wall of ice, whirling bone blades and death magic encircled us, and I thought us safe.”
“Then Ulsverd leaned from his horse and swung the greatsword clutched in both hands, and clove Tar-Baphon’s ward. The cavalry fell upon us, and our doom was written. But I had recognised Tanladvir, and who my foe was to be on the slopes of Grey Tor. Ulsverd was mounted, but I managed to cut his destrier from beneath him. As he rose we joined battle.”
Here, Arith-Zind hesitates, and grinds his yellowed teeth together in evident frustration. Even after centuries, his defeat still chafes.
“Not such a warrior, Ulsverd. I should have been able to best him. He might have been able to give me pause, but the result would have been inevitable.”
“If it were not for Tanladvir. She moved faster than I could keep track off, ensuring no opening offered itself to my own sword. Every ringing parry numbed my arms, forcing me to give ground. The dirt seemed to be constantly slipping beneath my boots. Then Ulsverd overreached, and I knew the tide had turned. I made my strike, and thunder shook the world about me.”
Arith-Zind’s finger traces the massive blow that almost bisects his torso. “It was a feint. In my haste, I failed to see it. Tanladvir killed me.”
“But in the end, it was I who walked away from the Battle of Three Sorrows, not Ulsverd the Unyielding. Tanladvir’s curse kept him there, even as the battle turned in Tar-Baphon’s favour. He joined the many heroes of Aroden who fell on that day, and Tanladvir vanished again. Tar-Baphon, in his wisdom, decided he still had use for me, even though my life had fled, so I walked once more to command the dead in his name, and finally to wait alongside them, in one of his many garrisons, for the word to come to march again.”
The Story of Tanladvir as told by the fallen wight Arith-Zind: Part 3 – Those Who Wielded Tanladvir.
“Be warned young warrior,” Arith-Zind addresses Alagor “Many have borne Tanladvir, but it seems a curse of the blade that none wield it for long. The roster of those who have met their doom with Tanladvir in their hands stretches longer than my own knowledge, and all of them were no doubt better men than you.”
“Let me tell you of the ones I know to have carried Tanladvir, but remember this is but a slim selection when cast against the long history of the blade.”
“My battle-sister Eladys Stormstar claimed Tanladvir from the corpse of the dwarven hero Dulrik Gildgaunted whilst his blood was wetting the stones beneath him. In those days I was known by a different name, my master had yet to christen me into his dark army. Of course, the greatsword was my weapon, but it was Eladys’ blow that gutted Dulrik, so the claim was hers to make. We were mercenaries in the truest sense, serving the highest coin, not troubling ourselves with notions of honour and fairplay that the ‘noble’ warriors so swiftly compromise. We were sought out by those rich enough, ambitious enough and audacious enough to hire us, and by all others we were feared.”
“The greatsword was not Eladys’ chosen weapon, she favoured the lighter scimitar, but when Tanladvir was taken from Dulrik I saw in her a love and compassion I’d never before seen inspired in her eyes, not even when she fought at my side or warmed herself in the embrace of her lover Nasmevia. With my tuition, she swiftly taught herself to handle Tanladvir’s greater heft and reach, and soon outstripped my own skill. Though Tanladvir was hers for only four years, she took three dozen lives in that time.”
“But eventually Eladys fell, as I described before, and I was too heartbroken to make my own claim to Tanladvir. But Nasmevia Charthavion was not so bereft, and she stole the sword and fled before the sun had even set on that dark day. That Chelish b#+!% deserved not one of the caresses Eladys bestowed upon her, but a just end found her soon enough.”
“Barely a fortnight after Eladys’ fall, Nasmevia was herself destroyed by a devil that was either able to dominate or masquerade as her eidolon. The fiend took the blade back to Cheliax, and I did not see Tanladvir again until the day of my death.”
“For at least two decades, power-hungry nobles within Westcrown fought and slew each other to lay claim to Tanladvir. But it was a noble paladin named Velriik who brought her out of Cheliax, and carried her northwards as he embarked on the great Taldan Crusade against the Tyrant Returned.”
“Velriik fell swiftly, as most paladins do, in mistakenly challenging one of Tar-Bapon’s champions, and was gravely wounded. With his dying breath, he bequeathed Tanladvir to his squire Ulsverd, who was yet to be known as the Unyielding, who put her to better work against Tar-Baphon’s legions than Velriik had managed.”
In the final instalment, Arith-Zind tells of how he was slain at the hands of Ulsverd the Unyielding wielding Tanladvir.
The Story of Tanladvir as told by the fallen wight Arith-Zind: Part 2 – Of Powers Lost.
Arith-Zind continues his tale.
“But there is more that I can tell, with the authority and clarity of deeds witnessed with my own eyes – when they were blue and shone with life or tears. And the Tanladvir that I saw wielded was flawless, and possessed of mighty magic indeed . . .” the wight sighs heavily, looking longingly on at the weapon “But what has become of you now?”
“If Anaivander was indeed the hand that made Tanladvir, then he certainly knew how to ensorcel a blade. Not the petty magicks commonly found upon a sword – a keener edge, or an aurora of flame or lightning. Tanladvir’s powers were myriad and profound.”
“In the hands of Eladys Stormstar, I saw Tanladvir cleave through arcane walls of fire and invisible force as if they were paper. Eladys claimed the sword could also sunder magical barriers of ice and fire. Everytime Tanladvir struck a blow against its enemies; it struck an echoing, triumphant peal of thunder.” Here Arith-Zind pauses and chuckles. “The last sound I heard in life as it happens.”
“But for all her potency, Tanladvir also asked a high price of her wielders. Those that held her in their hands recovered from their wounds with unnatural swiftness, but if they turned from a battle before it was done, those same wounds would split open again and bleed with malign insistence. It was this curse that finally ended the life of Eladys, when we were forced to retreat from our fight with Klocasiss, the water orm of Vhunsaub.”
“Two other powers were spoken of, but I never saw them used. Supposedly, the bearer of Tanladvir is invulnerable to the breath of dragons, in whatever form it might take. It’s also said that should Tanladvir be sheathed in earth, all those clutching its hilt will find their bodies cast of iron, and virtually impervious to the blows of their enemies until the sword is withdrawn or they release the hilt.”
In the next instalment, Arith-Zind speaks of some of the previous wielders of Tanladvir.
The Story of Tanladvir as told by the fallen wight Arith-Zind: Part 1 – The Forging of Tanladvir.
Arith-Zind begins his tale:
“The tale of its Azlanti forging is told thus. More than 10,000 years ago there lived an Azlanti weaponsmith known only as Anaivander, who lived not upon the earth but below it. To say that Tanladvir was forged perhaps misleads, for Anaivander did not work with fire and anvil. Instead, he bent, shaped and honed metal simply through the force of his magic, turning the iron ore in his mines to a cold liquid which flowed into whatever form he desired, turning gold and silver to water to dance at his command.”
“Tanladvir was made from an alloy of steel and a skymetal of a kind no longer found on Golarion. I’m sure the Azlanti had a name for the stuff, but whatever it was, it has not survived to reach my ears. Still, it’s a claim I believe, for before Jobox it shone with a coppery fire of a hue I’ve not seen elsewhere in all my years of life, nor my longer years of undeath.”
“Anaivander gifted the blade to the dwarves beneath the earth, and perhaps for the only time in history the dwarves recognised a man had outstripped them in skill at weaponsmithing. Of course, after Anaivander and the rest of the Azlanti had long since passed, and the dwarves emerged from the Darklands to exist beneath the sky, they claimed Tanladvir as their own creation.”
Arith-Zind sighs and shrugs. “Makes a good tale, does it not? But even for one such as me, I speak of the distant past. The distance between truth and legend are as the black gulfs between the stars.”
Did a little experiment.
Got the disco ball out of the attic from my unsuccessful years as a weddings, birthdays and barmitzers (sp?) Dee-Jay.
Took it to my bathroom, which has fungi growing on the walls.
Span the disco ball and waved a flashlight at it.
Fungi did not fall off wall.
Ergo, I think the DM wins.
Absorbed in discovering new arcane secrets, Pellius lifts his head from his new book, but sees nothing out there in the darkness.
Btw Bonegrit, I really enjoyed your description of galloping across the wastelands.
Despite an awkward beginning, it’s clear that Agtharda is quite astute and immediately realises Bonegrit’s intention. She puts away her little arcane book and instead draws a roll of parchment, bottle of ink and quill from her sack. As Bonegrit scratches out the outlines of the black mountains that loom ahead of them in the twilight, she tears little strips of paper from her roll and scribbles out the names of each peak; including a mountain named Taxathar’s Bane, under which she adds the notation ‘The Garrison of Arith-Zind’. She stabs one half-orcish finger into the title emphatically; this it would appear, is the party’s destination.
Agtharda marks no water sources en route. Although I’m assuming that the five days trail rations includes water for the adventurers and their animals. Feel free to ask other specific questions of Agtharda in flex-time. Furthermore, anyone with the requisite knowledge skills can make rolls against the following DCs to learn more about the Hungry Mountains.
Also, I’d love to draw you a real map to refer to, but as I’m travelling at present that won’t be possible. Perhaps I can add something in a few days.
Knowledge (Geography or Local) on the Hungry Mountains DC 11:
The Hungry Mountains are so named because of dearth of food or water to be found for those foolish enough to travel into them. The closer one gets to Gallowspire, the less natural life prevails, until finding a scavenger bird sailing over a distant peak or some desiccated lichen clinging to a rock is a discovery. Luckily for the adventurers, the absence of life is far more noticeable on the eastern side of the mountains where they border Ustalav. Closer to Lastwall, foraging is tough but not impossible. As a result, base Survival checks to get along in the wild increase to 15 in the western Hungry Mountains where the PCs will be travelling.
Knowledge (Geography or Local) on the Hungry Mountains DC 16:
Storms are common in the Hungry Mountains, but in the highest peaks these tempests have a destructive, malignant sentience, driven by the undead spirits howling within to send deluges of bloody rain and acidic sleet upon travellers foolish enough to brave their peaks.
Knowledge (History or Local) on Taxathar DC 20:
The mountain known as Taxathar’s Bane derives its name from the red dragon that met its end there centuries ago. Taxathar unwittingly ventured into the demesne of Marrowgarth, the undead dragon once said to be the mount of Tar-Baphon himself. Sallying forth from the ruined city of Adorak, Marrowgarth chased Taxathar across the Hungry Mountains, toying with the lesser red, wearing him down with passing rakes and nips that slowed but did not slay. Disorientated and defeated, Taxathar flew into a mortuary storm crackling above the mountain that would come to bear his name, and smashed unseeing into its precipitous flanks, leaving the ravening Marrowgarth free to descend and despatch the broken dragon at his casual leisure.
Knowledge (History) on Arith-Zind DC 25:
Are you sure you should be sneaking a look in this spoiler? Surely you can’t make this roll! :-p
When Pyotr takes his watch, he also takes the glaive which until recently had belonged to Tanerit, who still lies comatose beside Commor. After attaching his bell, he goes through some spins, slashes and thrusts with the glaive, admiring how deftly it handles despite the weight of its admantine.
[ooc]Pyotr has determined that glaive is fairly cool, but not amazingly awesome.
As his comrades take their turns on watch, Delkaneth thrashes fitfully on his bedroll, in the depths of a fever dream.
Delkaneth’s Third Nightmare:
The sun is setting over the Ghostlake, turning its dark, placid waters crimson. In a circle, the Council stands, its nineteen members up to the waists of their drab brown robes in still lake water.
You chant the words you have been taught, their endless repetition becoming a mantra, the fey syllables sounding closer to calls of birds and beasts than any human speech. For hours it’s been thus, as one by one by one the offerings are brought to fuel the ritual.
Despite the sun’s red glare on the surface, you can still see some of these offerings glittering on the Ghostlake’s bottom. The greatest works of men’s forges and their sorcery, the most brutal killing tools of the orcs, all these civilised anathemas to the Council’s creed, all sacrificed to feed Eranworl’s great work.
In your hands, the mighty greatsword Tanladvir, the last work of man to be surrendered to the Ghostlake and Eranworl’s last gambit. The weapon holds a deceptive beauty, its long blade mottled from a blue-green sheen, the legacy of a battle with the Omox of Lake Encarthan, or so it is said. One might almost regret that such a weapon must be stripped of its magic, but such is the demand placed upon Eranworl by the fey creatures he venerates.
The sun vanished below the horizon, the appointed hour, and you simply let Tanladivr fall, let the Ghostlake swallow both its physical form and all its arcane power.
The chanting continues, unbroken, hour upon hour, and the moon rises full. The water that was before red, then black, now turns silver to reflect the orb above. The ritual has gone on all day, without pause, but still Eranworl continues to lead the Council of Thorns in their ceaseless incantation. Despite all your focus, you can feel your cold, numb legs trembling beneath you and your vision swims as you continue to force your exhausted vocal cords to make their way around and around and around the repetitive sylvan manta.
The moon reaches its zenith, and from his belt, Eranworl draws his own blade. Ithuryssa, is unmistakeable, with its antlered quillions and the spidery fey runes running along the blade all the way to the tip. You are shocked to see that Eranworl would cast it into the Ghostlake, especially as Ithuryssa is not a creation of the world of men, orcs, or even of this plane. Indeed, the hierophant himself seems to falter as he holds out his dreaded longsword, unwilling to make this final sacrifice.
Then … something falls … is it Ithuryssa … or is it you? Your body rebels, your stamina depleted to nothing, you fold into the cold, waiting waters of the Ghostlake.
Delkaneth awakes with a start. Dawn is near.
Delkaneth, when you wake the effects of fatigue have faded, but the previous penalties stemming from your fever remain. Plus, I’d like you to make another Fortitude save.
The rest of the night passes peacefully, until Pellius takes his predawn watch. That, though will have to wait until a later post…
Sorry, I missed your sense motive check on Khozin in the previous post. Here are your thoughts:
Pyotr feels Khozin’s flattery is a genuine attempt to repair some of the damage done by his actions, although there’s no doubt some element of self-preservation is also evident in trying to ingratiate himself with the men who could end up dragging him back to the Freedom Town and the grim fate that likely awaits him.
No mention was made of the purse, so I’m assuming that stays with Pyotr for now.
With the sun beginning to get swallowing in the clouds heavily arrayed above the tallest peaks of the Hungry Mountains, Pellius and Bonegrit turn their steeds about and launch them both into a gallop. At this thundering pace, they rejoin their companions just as twilight is settling over the wastelands.
The horses are hobbled, a small fire lit and the tents set up, things are as comfortable as can be expected for such a desolate place. Delkaneth has already fallen into an exhausted sleep.
With camp set up, Alagor turns to the conscious captive. Commor is still somewhat delirious, but he manages to gather his wits as Alagor begins menacing him. Khozin looks uncomfortable, but plays along with the charade, and by Commor’s wide, fearful eyes, Alagor’s threats do the trick.
“Look,” he blurts “I’m very sorry. If we won we were supposed to kill him (Commor points at Khozin) but only kill the rest of you if we had to. Or if we wanted to. But I didn’t mean to upset anyone! Ser Yevender said that to be a knight I have to fight brigands, and Skaraben Sharpe’s a good friend so I did what he told me because you’re all brigands. But now the half-orc says my sword isn’t heavy enough to be a knight, so I think I want to be a brigand like you guys!”
This is the moment when Bonegrit and Pellius swing back into camp. Our watch order is Alagor, Pyotr, someone else, then someone else (these last two slots filled either by Pellius or Bonegrit). Determine which, state any other actions you wish to fulfil before the turn in for the night. Tomorrow you’ll likely reach your destination. Pellius, if you wish to prepare any specific spells, now’s a good time.
Battlefield control items are always fun, and this one’s no exception. I could certainly picture an earth-themed BBEG having a little arsenal of these and causing havoc! The combining alchemical properties adds some very interesting versatility as well.
I’m surprised theheadkase loves the name so much. I was unmoved. I think it should be called Tyler’s Tureen of Terrible Termite Mounds. Which probably makes my opinion null and void.
NPC Profile: Agiz
Perhaps the strangest member of Dierik’s caravan is its purser and engineer, the diminutive, eccentric ratfolk Agiz. Were the simple fact of his race not enough, Agiz’s overlapping, gauzy robes and penchant for jewellery make him yet more distinctive.
Agiz is one of the old timers in the caravan, having travelled with Dierik for almost a decade. Prior to that, he was an independent trader in his own right, operating principally in the lands south of the Inner Sea. He left his overcrowded warren in Alkenstar with a swarm of his brothers, sisters and cousins, and several years they made a tidy profit as nomad traders, dealing in just about every commodity short of slaves. Tragically an outbreak of the Black Death in Katheer claimed every member of Agiz’s clan in less than half a week. For some reason Agiz was left alone, not succumbing that had overwhelmed his kin.
Dierik and Agiz first crossed paths in Katapesh, where Dierik first employed the ratman on a temporary basis to make sense of his accounts, which, with profits accrued in over a half-dozen currencies and the ambiguous values of trade goods to boot, were giving him quite a headache. By the end of his first week Agiz had the ledgers balanced and presentable, and had also single-handedly put back together a rickety old wagon Dierik had written off as unsalvageable. The contract was extended indefinitely.
Now Agiz is as an established a figure in Dierik’s crew as Santrian or Deramil, and Dierik trusts his handling of the books completely. Whilst Agiz is never afraid to exaggerate the worth of an item in the hopes of getting a little more, being at the other end of a rip-off is something he considers utterly inadmissible. He invariably accompanies Dierik on the finalization of any transaction, large or small, and his employer never puts his seal to a deal without first hearing Agiz’s squeaky whisper in his ear.
Despite his long history with the caravan, Agiz is not as well-liked as Santrian or even Deramil. His eccentricities and the seemingly random favour he occasionally bestows upon his travelling companions makes people wary. Agiz likes some and dislikes others, with no apparent rationale that even those in his esteem can ascertain. He carries particularly disdain for Zriorinta, allegedly for her entourage of cats although many suspect a deeper reason.
His strange behaviour is a common topic of conversation amongst the crew. Particularly popular subjects include how rich the ratman himself maybe (given his skill at the merchant arts and a lifetime of trade, it might outstrip even Dierik), why these days he appears to hide from other ratfolk on the odd occasion he encounters them, and why he hurls platinum coins with his slingshot when the caravan is thrown into battle.
Alagor & Bonegrit
"The Chelaxian ain't known for his kindness. Pits Below, ye seen what he did to Tharkon, yeah?"
"Ouch, it was Chelaxian's moneys they stole?! Wow, you boys are in some trouble now!"
The moment the Chelaxian is mentioned, the faces of both thugs turn sheet white. The bug-eyed thug’s scrabbling in his trousers becomes even more fervent, and suddenly his quivering hand leaps up from between his legs, clutching a money pouch that had been tied around his upper thigh.
“Like I said, we still got most o’ it,” upending the pouch and letting a brief stream of silver, copper, and just a few gold coins loose to scatter on the grass beneath.
This coin amounts to three gold pieces, ten silver pieces and eight copper pieces. Four of the gold pieces stolen were Delkaneth’s, and Lunt also lost some of his own money, though not as much.
"Let's find a way to appease the Chelaxian somehow. I don't want to have devil-stuff again. Last time it was...messy."
As the threats gather about them, both of the young lads are visibly quaking, and the ginger-haired one is blubbing again. “That Wood Devil’s gonna get us,” Frog-Eyes mutters over and over. “We’re such turnips, gonna die for nothing at all.”
"Why did you target Lunt - was it by chance, or...?"
“Nothing personal of course,” responds Frog-Eyes “But gotta make a living, and the boss always expects his cut. Plus my papa can’t work no more after he lost his arm.”
"Who do you know in the city, what have you heard?"
“Okay, okay, okay,” sobs the ginger-haired one, suddenly speaking so fast he’s almost babbling. “Uh, uh, uh, that little girl Elvie didn’t get taken by orcs like they said, her papa Tharazel did her in, Lige Dagmin puts dead rats in his beer vats for taste, they say Squire Commor can’t sleep without a lit candle at his bedside . . . erm, erm, Culler’s the boss of our gang but Black Boils is gonna do him in one day soon, Abram Sharpe keeps a witch in his house, er, please don’t let the Chelaxian get me, Rufus Bothwyn is a woman in disguise, there’s a halfling in town says he can steal fast horses in Vigil and is looking for a gang to help him out, Khozin Ryovaldii don’t really like Skaraben Sharpe and talks s%$&e about him when they ain’t hanging together . . .”
Delkaneth’s Second Nightmare:
As Delkaneth sleeps . . .
It’s night on the marshes. Somewhere out there in the darkness, the drums continue their persistent ominous rhythm. How long until the horde arrives? The Council does not realise how little time they have. The knowledge spurs you on as you slosh towards the Ghostlake, your brown robes sodden, the thorns of the swamp plants clutching as they always do. There is no time to tarry; Harchrist’s message must be delivered before it is too late.
Breathing hard you thrust your way past the last of the entangling vegetation, and the placid waters of the Ghostlake lie in front of you, the fog silver in the moonlight. The fog silver, but beneath it something is wrong. The water is red, clouding with blood . . .
Unless you have something to share before it's too late?
Tharkon begins to sob in desperation.“I’ve been trying to share the location since you caught me! All I ask for is my life and my sword and I will draw you a map. I keep telling you this, why don’t you listen!?”
Delkaneth continues to feel wretched, but at the very least the fever has not worsened.
"You mentioned someone named Navareene. Someone who could help us finding these caves? Who is he and where is he?"
The hermit slurps down the remainder of his mushroom soup, belches softly and then replies.
“Navareene? I think you’ll find that’s a girl’s name! Aye, she’s one to talk to if you wanna find ‘em rotcrowns quickly. I can point you in the right direction, but I’ll wager she can tell you exactly which cave you should be poking around in. Probably save a little searching.”
“Who is she? Well, I guess she’s the witch of the Freedom Town, though I dunno how well she’d take that label if she ‘eard it. She’s my chief customer, buys most of the mushies I gather in Curbril Wood for ‘er concoctions. She’s Abram Sharpe’s creature,” here the hermit pauses to spit on the ground, “an’ ‘e likes to keep ‘er close. ‘E’s got an interest in witchery. Dunno exactly where she resides, cos she comes to see me ‘ere. I don’t set foot inside the Freedom Town no more. But word ‘is, she’s got a nice big residence be’ind the The Court of Knives where all the Sharpes lair.”
Pellius’ memory must be failing. He remembered the name a few days past, though in real life terms it was mentioned in June! Sorry my bad, I had intended to put a little reminder in the previous post on Navareene, but forgot.
Pellius’ recollections of the Freedom Town, page 13 wrote:
Another refugee is Navareene, a midwife of Vigil exposed as a witch who trysted with vodyanov.
it's safe to say they've marked me as that envoy.
Del unlaces his tunic, revealing what lies beneath . . .
“Broadleaves in winter!” curses the hermit loudly, dropping his bowl. His eyes bug out of his head as he stares at Delkaneth’s chest. “I’ve never ‘eard of such a thing. Aye, you’re ina grim predicament to be sure.”
Alarmed, the hermit’s eyes flicker wildly around at the others in the hut, as if expecting them all to unveil similar afflictions.
Then Bonegrit bites his thumb and reaches across to press the digit against the branch protruding from Del’s torso.
As Bonegrit’s blood touches the stump of wood, Delkaneth feels an ecstatic rush pass through his body, and can’t help but let out an orgiastic sigh. For a moment his senses reel as a shudder racks his body, but pleasure rather than fever that precipitates this reaction. At the next breath it’s gone, leaving naught but a warm tingling in his spine.
At the edge of the clearing, a pair of squirrels pause to stare at Alagor, before scuttling along the branches and out of sight into the leaves above. Within the hut, he hears the low, unintelligible murmur of the adventurers’ conversation, then a sudden exclamation of surprise or fear from the hermit: “Broadleaves in winter!”
A few more cents to add to the kitty . . .
Thanks once again for this Painlord; there’s a lot of great advice here. I agree with your assessment of the PbP – for me, after well over a decade of gaming, I feel like I’ve just begun to experience the immersive, narrative driven games I’ve wanted to run since getting into PbP.
My campaign’s just hit a thousand posts after nine months gaming. On one hand, our PCs have only reached second level, fought only five combats, and only a week has passed ‘in-game’. On the other hand, I alone have written in the region of 80,000 words in the gameplay thread, and with the contributions of the players it’s much larger. I feel I know the personalities of the PCs far better than I’ve done in FtF games, and the campaign world is alive with plot hooks, adventure seeds and fun little details. The pace may not be for everyone, but as a ‘grand story’ it’s a very enjoyable experience.
Of course, if it runs to 20th level we’ll be at it for about a decade! This doesn’t bode well for the long list of the other campaigns I’d like to try!
The hook/push concept is a really important one, and just as valid for DMs as it is for players. I realise I sometimes fall down on this one, and need to be more consistent in providing hooks for my players.
It’s also useful to keep in mind that hooks don’t have to Plot related with a capital P. It can be something incidental or amusing happening in the background that nonetheless prompt your players to react and keep the game moving forward. As you said, I believe posting once a day (as much as possible) is vital in keeping momentum.
John’s thoughts about linking are useful and something which could help my own campaign in the future. To help me and my PCs navigate our own PbP, I’ve used the Campaign tab to create an index of posts summarising what happened on each page, as well as diary of daily events and a summary of all the NPCs so far mentioned or encountered (I can’t be bothered to count the last but it must be in triple figures by now!). Link to Follow the Flood Road campaign page.
Predictive posting is also a great way to being efficient as possible in the action/posts ratio, especially in combat.
As for post loss, almost all my posts are written up in word docs then transferred to the forum to avoid those dreaded ‘eaten by the forum ogre’ moments.
Again, thanks everyone for the advice and the observations.
Great thread! I've got a lot of love for the swashbuckling Savage Isles, known in America as Nate and Hayes. The whole movie's great, but the opening scene's a sure fire hit with all the Skulls and Shackles fans. Plus you get to see Tommy Lee Jones doing a cheap Harrison Ford stand-in (who knew a time existed when he was young and dashing rather than the craggy face of weary authority we're more familiar with today).
Someone else mentioned Sorcerer; still one hell of a tense movie a few decades on. Plus it's great that anyone unfamiliar with it will imagine some sword and sorcery Hollywood schlock, but when they go and check it out will discover something quite different (and way cooler).
For those who can handle some subtitles I highly recommend for The Good, The Bad and The Weird ; the best Korean Western (well let's face it, the only) you've ever seen. Cracking action throughout, especially the train hijack and various frontier town brawls near the beginning. On a similar foreign film bent, anyone unfamiliar with the French Brotherhood of the Wolf should certainly check it out, crammed full of great ideas to steal for your RPG campaign.
In my campaign we've got a gnome swashbuckler 2/sorcerer 5 who does 1d4-2 damage with his rapier in melee. He used to have a wand of magic missiles, but it ran out. Still, on occasion his illusions have saved the day.
We've also got a fighter with 13 strength who's invested feats equally in crossbows and shield bashing.
And that's not the worst of it. There are two rogues in our group of five.
But nobody's remotely bothered.
but I will also return at dawn and give you until midday to study this proof. Maybe you'll write a book that will put Eradmenes to shame, eh?"
“Dawn is not a civilised hour for a man of letters. But no matter, this is weakest promise I’ve heard since my last attempt at reparations with the second wife. Even if you should return tomorrow, the opinions of a boy little more than a child are not ones I put much credence in.”
"Secret knowledge a few centuries old sounds well worth the little time we've spent this morning, doesn't it?"
“Still, your claims are intriguing. Offer me this evidence immediately, or at the very least the gold you owe, or suffer the consequences forthwith.”
Sleer does not look very intimidating as he makes his final threat. In fact, he’s reclining in his chair, sucking noisily on the final bottle of beer whilst idly scratching his midriff.