I will admit there is a giant difference between group compositions.
I have a Paladin (Oathbound[corruption I believe]), Cleric/Rogue, Swashbuckler/Occultist and a Druid in this group. Hopefully they will get here soon and introduce themselves.
It wouldn't be a Useplanb post without your input there NobodysHome. :)
I am getting two different groups put together to play the Strange Aeons Adventure Path. This post will be for the players to first post their characters and then to eventually post their journals.
Some of those that may be interested in reading these posts may be familiar with my other campaigns. (Sadly most have run out of steam and probably wont be completed. The successful one was my first one, Rise of the Runelords which took 2-years to complete for a party of 8-9 players.)
I was heavily influenced from work done by Order of the Amber Die. I read a quote that I really fell in love with, "...it took years of playing optimized characters to realize that even though it made our PCs better--it didn't make our games better." So after reading through a lot of their posts I have blatantly stole a few of their ideas for this campaign.
My rules for their character creation are core rules only for race. 20-point build, natural characteristic maximum is 20, no evil alignments, and must take one of the campaign traits.
During the campaign I am encouraging each player to post a journal (their first post will be their characters). Journals will give the player a d20 reroll that can be used by them to reroll a d20 or to force me to reroll a d20 that was used against them.
I will intend to deal with character death in the same manner as the Order of the Amber Die in that any starting character will be level 1.
I will occasionally make posts updating certain facts or to share entertaining results from the game. Hope you will enjoy this, I am positive I will as well.
Ah. Thanks for that James! I'll recheck the Bestiary(s).
Being not to familiar with the Cthulhu 'verse I am hoping to run this for some friends that are and want do it right. Owning as many AP's as I do this one has really captured my attention and am thoroughly enjoying it. Even have a 2-hour loop of heavy rain to play in the background for sound ambiance to help keep the players in the moment during Book 2. That or it'll have to make them pee.
Couple of questions I have that other GMs or Adam may be able to answer for me.
pg 51 (map)G6: I am assuming the grey tear drop image in the SW area of the room is the "cave." If so, how are all of the "creatures" going to fit in that space? There are 8 of them. Other than just making the room itself bigger am I missing something?
pg 82 Byakhee stat block. It lists under Special Attacks blood drain (1D2 Constitution), bloodlust. I get the bloodlust but where is the blood drain coming from? Is this a typo from a copy/paste of the star vampire?
Yeah, Im way behind on updating my end of the story and GM rules.
First let me say that doing the everyone roll Perception at the end of a conflict is a great way to go to speed up play. Rather than yell, super loot and heal me, there is a chance for everyone to discover something while patching wounds, checking gear, checking loot, general information gathering etc. It also allows the party to find those random bits that are somewhat hidden in room descriptions that I would feel guilty not giving out because no one said they were investigating "there."
Last week we got back into the game after almost a two-month hiatus for the holidays and family obligations.
We lost our gunslinger as the player wasn't having much fun with the class so he introduced the new sorcerer/wizard (arcanist I believe).
I had him be our first introduction to the rumors of a giant robot in the area as he stumbled upon a witness to its actions. I set the story with him riding a caravan from Hajoth Hakados (he's also an elf and very distantly related to the rogue). Along the way north they come across a Kellid carrying an enormous amount of gear. Essentially everything the guy could retrieve from the ripped apart caravan he came across. The description of all the pack animals being riddled with bullets, as well as the ground and a few of the caravaners. The rest of the caravan was just "missing."
All of this was a set up to how I was going to run a small XP encounter to give the group some XP as the second book said they should be 4th at the start. They are part way through 3rd right now.
The size of the annihilator robot weakened the ground in an area that the group traveled over on their way to Scrapwall. So I set up a trap with a 30 ft fall centered on the group as they walked in a line. The Reflex DC was 12 for the outer members (#1 and 6 in the line), DC 14 for the next inner group (#2 and 5 in the line) and DC 16 for the middle members (#3 and 4 in the line) to avoid the collapsing roof. I used the underground map from the Tech flip mats as the area for these encounters.
I called it the Halls of Fen the Despicable. Where Fen is a NPC codex rebuild of the Battle Mage to a Necromancer with the Fiendish template applied. The area was a mix of various types of Zombies (plague, fast and normal) and Rust Risen (different types here as well). There was also a Yellow Musk Creeper and a few zombie creepers as well. The idea was that Fen was being blocked from getting more test subjects by the Creeper and was building up her group to kill it and clear a path for her to find more Kellids to necro-tize.
So I set up a total of 4 encounters for the group which is an APL of 4. The first two encounters were Challenging CR5, the third being Hard CR6 and the final being Average CR4.
Encounter 1 was 5 Zombies and 1 Rust Risen (metal jaw, steel clad).
They went through it pretty well. The dice got a little cold on me for the night and we had a few crits from the group that just outright murdered what they hit. I enjoyed the fight and the creation of the BBEG as I never make wizards.
I know of one more random encounter I have rolled up before they reach Scrapwall with the possibility of 1 or 2 more before they make it but haven't rolled yet.
I will try and keep up to date again as my time allows. Real life sucks.
Fresh faced and ready to go the group completed the repair on the power coupling. In this case I had Khonnir make the roll with up to two assists being allowed. Since the cleric has Craft: Mechanics I allowed him to add an assist (assuming he made the DC 10 check) and they paid another smith, someone that Khonnir recommended, to being the second helper. This meant that the group was going to head down into Black Hill the next morning. That's when they did something somewhat unexpected. The dwarf decided to try drinking the fluids from the top of Black Hill.
I will admit that I had mentioned it as a joke to the player (dwarf cleric) who will ALWAYS play with a Deck of Many Things that I was surprised he had left it alone. So he marched up the hill and drank a pint. He failed the addiction roll AND rolled poorly on the Side Effects chart taking 4 CON drain. The player was not amused. That's when another player (elf rogue) decided to do the same as a joke to prove that elves were better than dwarves. He succeeded on his addiction roll and was only nauseated for a few hours but otherwise unharmed. They also, now with the level, have the ability to pick the white access card lock on the box they had discovered in C1a. They managed to figure out some of the grenades, but not all of them. Which is when I explained that the fighters offer to open the box with his earthbreaker would have been "interesting" and they understood.
So the group had a late start getting into Black Hill but eventually made it there. Before taking the elevator ride to the Engineering deck, they poked their head into C11, the last room on the Science deck they had not entered. They easily dispatched the medical drone and moved on with only the rogue having taken any damage. (Honestly, I have no idea why, but I can hit his player ALL NIGHT LONG, and he can see my dice rolls. So all I can do is shrug.)
From here we moved to the Engineering deck, the group opting not to try and check the other levels first. I also moved over to 'correctly' using surprise rules and the encounter with the dogs in D1 went well, but rather easy. Again, I used the mini-advance rules on them as well as give them max health. We were 5 players strong at that point with the swashbuckler/investigator arriving at the end of the fight. The 'ding' the elevator making when the door opened explaining to the group why the dogs were alerted to their presence.
They did a quick scout of the long tunnel to the north but stopped after a few minutes to return. From here they went D3/D4 south in order of rooms. In this case they encountered the same number of Fanatics and Scrappers as the AP lists, albeit mini-advanced with max health. It was at this point the dice went ice cold for me. I couldn't even hit the elf, that's how bad they went. Still the Fanatics surprised the group when they didn't fall when they should have. Of course, I did another error here and should have had them fall when their negative HP hit their CON. In the end it didn't matter they were never really a threat with my dice rolls. They enacted 'super-loot' rules, ie me giving them everything on the corpses and the player with the highest Perception roll the room Treasure. In the case of multiple treasures, I will split that loot up among the players with the high rolls so as to include everyone.
Instead of pushing further east, they moved south as I mentioned earlier. Checking the hallway just to the south of D4 then moving to D2 and successfully disabling the "trap." (Great roll by the rogue there.) Then moved down to the next hall before returning to D2 and then moving into D8.
As a GM I was a little torn here as to how this should play out but it worked out rather well in the end. We used the surprise rules since the door opening was obvious to Gruethur although he didn't see anyone. In this case the rogue scouting was working as was his awesome stealth roll. He spotted Gruethur because he is painfully obvious but as far as the rogue could tell he was just another statue, except made of stone. The rogue motioned for the group to follow but kept his eye on the statue since it was so out of place. At that point Gruethur sees the group enter and attacks. I had him speaking in Terran the whole time using words such as "unworthy" since the Terran language is slow to speak. This fight though turned out to be a TOUGH fight. Mostly because the fighter went down early. I had Gruethar spread his attacks out and only focus all his attacks when a character injured him, ie. more than 5 points after DR. This had the rogue down, the fighter down and had almost dropped the cleric. I believe I had chewed a bit into the Bard and Gunslinger, but had ignored the swashbucker/investigator since he wasn't causing any real damage. The humorous part of the evening was Gruethur making a snide remark to the cleric about his god not being worthy here, and then the cleric had a critical hit with his magical hammer (from the original Brigh adventurers) and doing an obscene amount of damage when he only had 3 HP left.
We ended the night there with the group having healed everyone and engaging 'super-loot' phase.
Okay, slight delay in my posts. We played one night, had a week off and then took it back up this past weekend. So I apologize for that.
That being said, our game from a few weeks back was almost a TPK and campaign TPK. There was a lot of frustration at the table, even I was pissed. At the time, we spent a majority of the evening after the game talking about everything and nothing. The evening was a comedy of errors that compounded into the worst night of RP in a long time. We only cleared two rooms. C8 and C12 respectfully.
Two of the harder hitters on the entire level. Error #1 (really just bad luck on the party's part). The group was also really banged up when they entered into C8 and hadn't topped people off (multiple player errors there). Error #2. I misplayed the sneak and initial round of combat. Error #3. Fight ended and then they moved into C12. Error #4, which becomes apparent a few rounds into the combat. No Knowledge check made on encountering the two new robots, Medical drone and Collector robot. Error #5. Semi-good dice rolls on my part and poor dice rolls on players parts. Error #6 (but like #1, just bad luck). Half-way through encounter group learns they have 0 channels and no spells from Cleric or Bard, only the wand of cure light wounds. Error #7 (this was their seventh encounter in a row I think one of the players said). Collector robot Hardness. Error #8. No one was able to *really* hurt the robot. In the end it was the bard who was two-handing his longsword that did a majority of the damage before the fighter finished it off. Almost every player had been in the negatives, multiple times. It was at that point that fingers were pointed (not really) and a lot of bad blood began to boil.
In the end we discussed a great MANY things. From how I introduced character creation, to suggestions on what to do in these types of encounters (i.e., aid another actions). Point here is we spent a lot of time on this.
As a GM I would HIGHLY suggest other GMs running this keep a close eye on party gear to know if they can handle the encounter. If you even think they may not be able to handle the encounter I would suggest removing the Collector robot from the Science deck and replace it with another Medical drone. Maybe just do the mini advance like I talk about in my previous post if you think the encounter would be to easy for your group.
We took a week off the following week for a birthday party game weekend for the player of Moxie in my RotRL campaign and came back refreshed for this past week.
We did a minor critical shift to a few things we had done the last week with the group returning to Torch. Namely it was my error on not being able to find the actual rules on figuring out tech (Kn. Engineering). So with the Cleric making some awesome rolls was able to figure out a majority of what they had found. Sanvil Trett had showed up at the same time as Dolga with their reward for the return of Khonnir. He offered to explain the rest which he *almost* did. Turns out his skill level was similar to the Cleric. So the group paid him for his services and he got to see everything they had found.
In order to do the Torch Event 3 since the group had only just met Trett, I decided to have him sneak in and get caught. We did this in a narrative mechanic as I am trying to push a story and not just mindless dice rolling. The humorous part for this was that the inn was rigged with bear traps. One of the player characters had some for some reason and once Val saw them, she asked if they could use them to keep an eye on the repair drone corpse to make sure it didn't activate again and used the remaining one at the back door to the inn. Which is where Sanvil was caught on his way out with a few of the really expensive items the group had found. In the end they found the note in his pocket as they made sure he hadn't stolen anything else but didn't know what it meant.
Trett was thrown in jail, which was a great RP session and very humorous. A TRUE comedy of errors. The next day the group split their reward and tried to figure out what to do. I suggested they purchase one adamantine weapon, another wand of cure light wounds and split the remaining 250g among the group. It was decided that was a good idea should they encounter another Collector robot. I *think* we convinced the gunslinger to purchase a few adamantine shots as well. But the 66g cost per shot was to expensive. I plan on saying that as long as you can recover the corpse and take a few minutes you can retrieve the adamantine shot and then remake it into a new alchemical charge. This way you can have 10 or so rounds on you for emergencies and only need time to replenish your capabilities rather than gold. Not sure if the player went that route or not.
We spent a majority of the evening in this phase, i.e., maintenance. The great time killer.
When we picked it back up we had a lively RP session with the group interrogating Sanvil and learning what they could. The investigator/swashbuckler was able to smooth talk out some info with some help from Dolga (essentially a written copy of his release should his information pan out, AFTER a hefty fine was paid for his transgression and the required tax for the Technic League). This meant the group would get his monetary wealth and Sanvil would keep his "gear and merchandise." Which in turn meant he would have to sell his merchandise to have some cash. His fear of failure meant that he wouldn't be telling the Technic League what happened but you never know what villains will do in the end. Right now he will be locked up until the end of book 1 at the minimum to ensure the group isn't interrupted. I also seeded the 'anyone could be a Technic League spy.' Not for any particular reason but just to remind the group of how they operate.
With this done the group scouted out the warehouse and then threw me a curve ball. I expected sneaking in and subduing the catwalk guards and then the main altercation with Garmen. They did sneak in and did a great job, but then they pulled out the Bluff card. The investigator/swashbuckler tried to con the two ropefists to leave as he had orders from Garmen. What the player didn't know was that Garmen was in the warehouse. They did the assault/scout during the early afternoon. I figured there would be a 50/50 chance he would be there if they had gone at night.
Well the Bluff was amazing but the fact Garmen was there had them pensive. It also didn't help that more and more of the party slowly walked in. Suddenly the two ropefists were outnumbered and unsure what was happening. The player then stepped into the stairwell in the office area and then started a new bluff trying to convince Garmen that his character was an unscrupulous technic league spy offering to keep silent on his dealings if he turns over all his "tech." This roll wasn't as good and we roll played a fair amount before it turned into a fight.
All I did was mini advance the four ropefist thugs and Garmen, As well as give them max hit points. The fight went rather well with a few sneak attacks from the thugs, and the fact they punch rather hard made it interesting. The only player that went down was the investigator/swashbuckler when Garmen feint attacked him twice, one of them a critical. He almost died to be honest. The Bard and Cleric were able to immediately take care of the damage the thugs caused when they hit. Garmin was pretty bad assed but they got him when the fighters dice woke up. That player has a rotten time with luck and dice.
So when we pick up this weekend we will be starting with the group completing the repairs on the power coupling and then returning to the tunnels under Black Hill.
Also the group was around 400 xp away from 3rd level so I had them level their characters then but the characters were still down the 400 from level but this way it wouldn't slow down the next week and we could get going with little delay.
So this week started Part IV and the Science deck.
A small amendment to my last post. Seems two weeks of downtime muddles the brain. I had forgot that after the near TPK with the advanced Kasatha skeleton the group pulled back to Torch to rest for the night and exhausting their spells for the day. They had gone back in the next morning encountering the last Kasatha skeleton along the path about 24 hours after the last encounter with one of the Kasatha skeletons. Key word here being "24 hours." Then their encounter with Hetuath with which healing was done with wands. Not a huge change but important none-the-less.
As a GM I made a minor error here, and the best advice I can give any GM is to always read every sidebar in the AP before the start of every session. I don't know what it is about sidebars but I always forget that info and it always bites me in the ass down the road. Even though the doors require a black key-card on the science deck level they are not, in fact, all locked. Something I forgot to mention to my players and as such we played the whole night assuming everything was locked. It wasn't until the encounters in C6/C7 that I realized this when I wondered how the vegepygmy's got around. So I did a minor ret/con with the players later on for their journal entries and we will alter how we deal with doors from now on.
I also introduced a new rule I am trying out. In order to manage the super-loot (as we call it) phase of the game, I have every player roll a perception check at the end of the encounter. Then as the next few minutes of non-combat play out the characters will discover or find those "room only items." Looking over the dead is always going to happen so that loot is almost always going to be found. Other players may be tending the wounded or investigating something important to their character. In the course of those actions they may then discover those "treasures" that are in the rooms beyond whatever the BBEG was carrying. I will run this for the rest of the first book and try to report how this worked out at the wrap up of the last encounter of book.
The group entered into C1 and began poking about. Turns out the bloody northern doors creeped them out the most and was the driving force to make them follow the path of blood.
The length of C2 just added to the horror and as a GM there was a perverse sense of pleasure in describing somewhat clean areas marred by bloody violence. The feel of those two rooms for an entering party was well done by Paizo and I would encourage any GM to really play up fear of what caused the violence and how it looks to have ended.
The group continued on into C4 and I admit I enjoyed this encounter as well. The description of the curiously cleaned floor leading from one door to the next made the encounter with Fungus creepy cool. It also helped when the creature is described as a child asking questions. Then you are just playing up the horror movie stereotypes. I left the creature alone, opting not to increase the difficulty of the encounter any and leaving it instead at maximum health. It did its damage and the group only had to use minor resources to continue. They did find the box with the 3 timeworn flare guns, but are not sure exactly what they are. Other than single shot weapons of some sort the group has decided to bank them and their first real discovery that might lead them to Sanvil Trett.
I thought the group was going to go directly into C11 when they decided to clear out behind them, "just in case." So they entered into C5 and I enjoyed reading off random bits of goo tube food ideas, settling on Teriyaki Grablaw (since it may taste like chicken but isn't an actual chicken). I'd love to see a list of goo tube flavors somewhere to use as a percentile chart. I allowed the cleric who has the technologist feat a chance to figure out how to turn off the stove and he did so, slowly lowering the heat of the room. Everyone took some, mostly I think to sell as they might bring in a fair amount of cash, but I think some of the more adventurous players might keep them to eat. The humorous thing here is that I could in fact make a few goo tubes toothpaste and they would probably still eat it not knowing exactly what it is, other than minty.
From there they entered into C3 and instead of two CR1 boilborns I made them two CR2 plagueborns with maximum hit points. I also really played up the goopy, slimy nature of the creatures and their sounds and effects of damage caused to them. Much hilarity ensued when the fighter crushed one with his earthbreaker sending a massive pile of diseased acid everywhere. A note here for GMs, diseases are not able to be treated until the affliction becomes apparent (onset). The group made their knowledge check and knew that they carried disease but they really have no way of knowing that anyone is afflicted until someone becomes sick. Having a 3 month calendar available will help you plan out when the affliction manifests. Since the Golarion calendar mirrors our own with different words for days and months its easy to print these out to have on hand. I started our campaign on the day we actually started playing in real life.
From here the went into C9 and a few horrible rolls later by both the cleric and rogue at attempting to remove the coupling for repairs, they decided to leave it and return to C1 where they entered into the side room finding its contents but being unable to open the white pass-card box. The fighter offered to open it with his earth breaker but the group declined his offer of assistance. That would have been very interesting to play out. They returned to the "lift" and finally succeeded in removing the coupling for repairs before continuing on.
From here they took the side passage into C7 and I altered to room somewhat so that the weedwhip would be able to use its camouflage ability. No one made the DC 15 check and everyone moved into the room before it attacked leaving the rogue, fighter and swashbuckler/investigator sickened and poisoned. I did the half advance I mentioned in my last post to the creature with max health. So instead of a flat +2 to all rolls its only +1 and instead of the +4 AC/CMD its +2 (For XP rewards I just put it the halfway point between the rewards for CR. So if it was CR2, 600 XP and I half advanced it I would give 700 XP as CR 3 is 800 XP). I expected the encounter to be a little more difficult but at max health of 28, the cleric ran in hitting it with his warhammer for 2 reducing it to 26 and the gunslinger moved in and fired rolling a natural 20 and backing the threat up. He caused 27 damage. Sooo, I described the shot shattering the central stalk and the round ricocheting off the back wall and back into the weedwhip effectively cutting it in half. That was round 1. /blink blink
The vegepygmies showed up in round 4 while the group was still working out the poisons and sickness and after a quick but lively scrum the group succeeded in killing them off. Again I did a half advance with max health on all the vegepygmies. We ended the night with the group gathering the loot from the rooms and the now dead followers of Brigh.
Sorry for the late post we took a small hiatus from the game to test out Monte Cook's new game The Strange and because of that I took a break from updating my post.
We began the evening with the Torch Event and the meeting of Garmen Ulreth. I enjoyed the initial role play of the messenger and his being nervous. I am unsure as to why the Adventure Path listed him as being such but I assume it was either a) being sent by Garmen to do a task, b) having to meet a hard group that came back out from the tunnels or c) the guy was just useless. Either way the group took their time before going up and were each surprised to get a 100 gold voucher.
I decided to use the Dungeon Masters Guidebook for the gambling test and we did the Roll the Bones. In theory the players win 48% of the time. In reality they win every time. Whats the saying thirty percent of the time it works every time? In order to not bog the night down with rolls I allowed only a few rolls for each player. What I erred in was allowing there to be a one hundred gold per roll table. That aside, you would still think I wouldn't fail at rolling higher than a 6 on a d20. On the plus side it worked in the players favor. They used the excess winnings to purchase a lot of bullets for the gunslinger and a wand of cure light wounds since healing was an issue. More on that later.
They once again returned into the tunnels and other than the feeling of being watched by the Skulks they knew to be in the area but never seeing they entered into the Habitat Dome unmolested. What is interesting to me is the insane ability for our player who is running the rogue to continually get the wrong end of the stick. It happened when they encountered the repair drone in B2. They determined that it wasn't a threat as it wasn't attacking them but were wary of it. None of them made the connection with the card opening the door and when the rogue attempted to pick the lock the drone activated and walloped him something fierce. A quick fight later they progressed into B3 and only searched through B4 and the cages in B3. B5 was simple and it wasn't until we did the encounter at B6 that I may have made some errors.
Understanding the timing of the Ghelarn is key for a GM to make this encounter work. I made a few errors at the beginning of the encounter but what ended up happening is everyone failing their check to be entangled and then making their escape artist check to get out ended their turn. It made the fight drag on and made the encounter a little hard to stomach for the players. Part of that was my fault and I will have to double check the timing of the encounter again in case they encounter any more in the course of the campaign. They ended up destroying the creature with combined ranged fire from the gunslinger after the fighter sundered the shell.
So the group entered into the dome itself and began their search opting to follow the footprints of the previous expeditions. I decided to advance the kasatha skeletons and was surprised that the group essentially one-shotted the first two with out them ever swinging back. I ran the encounter by general initiative as there was no surprise as the skeleton would pull itself from the sand when they approached within 10 ft. The first two encounters was a player beating its initiative and proceeding to crit the creature and one shot it. Even with max advanced health they only had 10 hp. Although on the first creature I forgot their DR when the swashbuckler attacked. The third one though almost wiped out the party. As a GM I would strongly advise any GM from not advancing these. As a first level party will have a difficult time hitting it for one, getting past its DR, and weathering its four attacks. I would suggest maybe doing a half advance if you have a party size above 5 players and give the creature a flat +2 to CMD/AC and a +1 hit and damage. Increase the XP from 200 per to 300 instead of the advanced 400. The next fight I left them as is and they went down rather easily but the players were a little off put as we discussed the advancing rules for a good portion of the night.
The "illusion" of B10 was an enjoyable RP part of the game when we got back on track and the rogue lucked out and disabled the malfunctioning "trap" in B11. He waited for the pulse, ran in, and began attempting to fix the trap. He rolled his d4 for the number of rounds it would take and I rolled my pulse timer. I rolled max both times and he made it out successfully before the trap hit him. It took two attempts but they got passed the trap.
They proceeded into B12 where the player of the bard ran in and pushed a random flashing button on the console much to the dismay of the cleric. The chart at the beginning of the AP was used and we had some fun RP but no one was willing to touch anything after the threat of violence from the cleric if that was done again.
So they entered into B13 and I was worried about this encounter after reading some of the forum posts and his ability to TK parties. After having done Rise of the Runelords and watching that possibility almost happen to our group from an early boss fight below Thistletop I decided to leave Hetuath alone. He did some damage but in the end the fight went quickly and although he did some scary things, the swashbuckler's ability to reposte his attacks slowed his damage output. I think in retrospect a half advance would have been good. Definitely DO NOT full advance him.
Once he was dead, looted and the room searched they used the newly acquired card to open the doors to B14 and proceed to the lower levels. I did a semi GM intervention here for two reasons. I wanted to call it a night as it was late and I was tired, I wanted them to figure out the habitat dome to gain the XP rewards so they could level to 2 and because I wasn't fully ready to run the next part of the adventure.
The did figure out the controls and activated the power but ended the evening there. The group has decided to camp in the dome rather than move back and forth from the tunnels to Torch. That was an interesting decision by the group, we will have to see how that will play out.
Well, we got a lot further along with the game tonight than we did on the starting night.
We started the day following after their altercation with the advanced repair drone. Looking back I believe that I should not have had the encounter be against the advanced version. That aside, they did succeed. Knowing that it was going to be the last encounter for the session was my main reason for leaving it in. All the player resources, granted only three character, could be used to succeed.
So we started with the group getting their Water Breathing by Joram. Having six players meant that even with the Rod of Metamagic (Extended) each player only had four hours of water breathing. From there they made a quick stop off at the general store where they purchased multiple waterproof sacks and then they made their way to the Weeping Pond.
As a description for the pond, I gave the imagery of the multicolored hue of oil on water. Something that is really only seen if the light hits the water correctly. We then formed a party order for entering the pond and making their way down the underwater tunnel. The first two players failed their DC check to advance and I gave the description that between the sensation of being able to breathe in an environment that until now was impossible to do gave their character pause. The third in line made their check and I described that this player, the kellid fighter, sank like a stone to the bottom of the pond where he made his way along the bottom of the tunnel and arriving first ahead of the others. The cleric also had issues and even though he also sank like a stone, he couldn't find his way. I was somewhat worried that constant dice rolls just to make their way down the tunnel would bog down the game with needless rolls and so I only had their first success dictate who arrived on the shore first.
The bard and rogue both failed their constitution checks for contact with the contaminated waters and were at a small disadvantage when the fire beetles attacks. For this fight I did make all three beetles advanced and with max hit points. The group managed to remove the threat rather quickly but my dice were not kind to the rogue who was rather quickly reduced to zero hit points and was staggered for the fight. Regardless of the advanced template the beetles would have hit, just not as hard. The combat was also interesting because it meant the gunslinger could not use his weapon as it was wrapped tightly up in a waterproof sack. Sadly for that player, his dice were not as kind as they typically are and he spent a majority of the evening missing. Spending seven gold per shot at 1st level meant he chose those shots carefully.
They then took the tunnel through A3 and discovered the body of the dead half-orc. A few of the players recognized the corpse and decided to leave it alone. Not wanting to metagame the fact that I had a large print-out of the entire map printed out they moved into A4 with the intention of moving back through A2 to make sure they did not miss Khonnir's body should it be there.
As the attack from the Blindhelm started, the Swashbuckler yelled out not to kill it as he wanted a pet. It was made in jest and I made it part of the game considering the creatures past. I also had it initially attack him. Looking the creature over I had initially decided to make it advanced but decided against this when I realized how difficult it would be to hit and how easily it would shred the party with its massive amount of attacks. The only modification was to make it full health. Once again, the rogue found himself on the mean end of my dice and only the bard was blinded by the creature. He was also the only one to have a chance to know what it was. I gave him a chance to know with a higher DC check after the encounter as he did see it right before he was blinded and since he was working from memory. He made the roll and knew that the blindness was not permanent. They did discover the brand and the cleric was the only one of the group that spoke Undercommon. Even though the Blindhelm doesn't have a language per se, the use of the word 'pet' was something it knew, at least in inflection.
After heals the group pressed on with the rogue stealthing into A2 with the fighter following along. The slime molds moved forward into them after they moved further into the room. Once again, I kept the encounter at three molds and advanced them with full HP. Again the rogue had a bad dice day by me. The boons the players had, of which there were three, were almost all used by this point. Regardless the party managed to kill them and top everyone off mostly. The rogue decided to hang back for a while and allow the other members of the party to scout ahead.
As a GM, I failed here. Massively. One of the rules I have adopted from another campaign I play in is to have the rogue give one roll for stealth. It only resets after a combat encounter. This way we don't bog the night down with constant rolls and detract from the story. My failure was forgetting the nature of stealth and forgetting to allow him to scout ahead possibly not being seen. In the case of the molds they did move forward but it was because of the obvious fighter in heavy armor sloshing along behind the rogue. The stealth roll didn't make the rogue invisible but I did have two of the molds attack the fighter while only one of the molds attacked the rogue. The attack was also made after the rogue had stabbed at it. So even if he was unseen, he was obvious at that point. Regardless, it is an area I will have to manage better as a GM.
They then moved on into A5 where they poked around a little and discovered nothing but the drawings on the walls. The rogue did get a fairly high Perception check while watching the SE tunnel but not high enough to realize that a skulk was there and moving slowly away from them to warn the others. So I just explained that he felt as if he was being watched but didn't know why or from where.
They then pushed on into A6 and the group didn't push on into the room. The fighter was leading the way and made a Knowledge: Dungeoneering roll recognizing the brown mold and how dangerous it was. They also used rope that the rogue had to fashion a noose and succeeded in recovering Gerrol's corpse. They discovered the odd markings and again the fighter made a Dungeoneering roll recognizing the russet mold. They took what they could off the body and left him in the room knowing they needed to research more about russet mold before removing the body.
Backing out of the room they made their way through A5 into A7 and made contact with the skulk tribe. The elected group that went was the gunslinger who did the negotiation, the cleric and swashbuckler. The others remained behind and minded their manners.
All dialog that I did, first with Luepel and then with Sef was done in a broken common, although I did make Sef a little more competent with the language. They agreed to Sef's terms and made their way into the gremlin caves.
Again I messed up, it was a little late, and I had them attacked by all three gremlins after the fighter triggered the trap in the first room. I had them all dimension door in and begin their attack. Again I was going to make them advanced until I realized that would make them damn near impossible to hit. Even deadlier with their DR, so they only had max health. Their low damage meant that they only could do 1 point of damage as they never got a flank with the small confines of the room. In fact the rogue moved through the caves to get behind them and was able to get past the DR with the additional back stab damage.
Throughout the encounters the bards Inspire Courage ability really helped the group get past difficult combats so his ability was invaluable. They eventually made it to A11 and Jazvit. His advanced nature was giving them problems to hit even with the dog pile the combat became. The gunslinger finally gave up and just did a grapple check and succeeded at holding him down. He was 1 player away from dimension dooring it out of there when the swashbuckler got a critical hit killing him.
We finished the evening with the group collecting their end of the bargain in silverdisks and the brown colored cards, as well as returning to Torch to rest for the night after speaking with people in town with what they found (Dolga/Emelia/Joram). In my campaign I have decided to alter the weight of silverdisks. I was not a big fan of each disk being one pound, so they are .25 lbs per disk instead. I believe this still implies its technological nature and uniqueness to standard coinage. I am also trying to decide on what I am going to do with them for actual loot. As tech they are valued at 10 gold each. So I either make them that in trade or as something that needs to be sold for 5 gold only.
I was a bit rusty on the running of the game but I hope to make up for my mistakes the next week. No one died and the encounters were all epic in small but memorable ways, and the players all agreed they had fun. Lets hope next week is better and their journal entries are enjoyable to read.
EDIT: I forgot to add, that after a critical hit is confirmed I play this from my laptop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA0erM_B3CA
I love that backstory. I hope you got something extra for that work :)
Work? Extra? Hell's no he didn't. He gets the pleasure of my company. :)
That aside, I've asked them to come up with a backstory, ie. their motivation for coming to Torch, and reveal that during the game to their new found friends. Its also why they are using the /spoiler tag. I've asked that the other players not read that part as it will spoil their roleplay throughout the campaign.
I really need to get Kallidos to post his 'actual' backstory as its equally as long and well written. Then I have to teach these guys about using a character alias for their posts like Morgrym did. He is the half-orc ranger from my Rise of the Runelords game with the other group.
I should mention that when I get a chance I am going to work on some simple rules for gambling games that I will introduce here for those times spent in Silverdisk Hall. The Dungeon Masters Guide, or whatever its actually called, talks about some things to do but I wasn't sold and think I can generate a few things on my own.
Only one player is a carry over from the Tuesday group. This is another group of friends. They are all young and full of hope, soon to be squashed. /snicker Which is funny because I am one of the youngest of the 10 man group on Tuesdays. Of course they are only about ten years younger than me but I have to lord something over them. :)
I should note that I was also not allowing certain races, android specifically. (Which surprised some of the players as they didn't know the race existed.) I will allow for the android race to be played in the game should a character die and are more experienced with the setting. Hopefully this won't need to happen but dice are dice.
I am currently running a Iron Gods campaign for a group of friends and have set this up for their journals and my GM notes for other GMs to read for information and ideas.
When I started up the campaign, I initially didn't give the players any information as to what the campaign was going to be or where. I only asked them to answer one long question. Do you want your characters to be from the town the campaign will begin in, the country the campaign is set in, or from outside the country? I told them not to think about races or classes and instead think of a background ideal. Where is your character's investment in the campaign?
The next week we all got together and I explained that we would build the characters in one setting. Otherwise they have a tendency to waffle around and when the game officially starts everyone is something other than what they had started as.
In order to help curb the power creep that I have noticed in the latter part of campaigns, where the term 'rocket tag' begins to take effect, I put limitations on character building. I have a group of six players which already sets the party number to two higher than the campaign is designed for. (Personally I would love to see Paizo start including CR upgrades in their campaigns for larger party sizes. I think that would be a HUGE boon for any GM and a nice feather in the cap for Paizo's customer service.)
The first thing was character maximums and minimums. We went with a 20-point build. The only stipulation I put on this was that AFTER character racials were applied, the maximum a stat could be was 18 and the minimum a stat could be was 8. The other change that was made will not come into play until level 8 and beyond. I am giving a flat stat maximum of 20 to any stat. (I am not worried about the Aging rules, as they aren't going to come up.) This forces the players to put points in those 'dump stats' or at least bring up their shortfalls. I tried to enforce the idea that the players shouldn't be looking at building a character to solve a puzzle, but instead build a character that will interact within a story.
All to often at character creation people will build, me included, a character that is the best at what they can do. Every trait, feat, stat and to some extent skill, is created to make that character the best at what they do. I feel that this detracts from the other characters in some way and limits character growth. Characters in stories don't develop along an idea of what they want to be, but are shaped around the story as well. In the case of Iron Gods, the Technologist feat and introduction of technology as a whole should vastly change a characters growth.
So I asked the players to keep this in mind during character creation. Whether they actually did this is entirely up to them, but one-trick ponies get boring real quick for the player and I want them to be invested in the game so that everyone, including me, has a great time.
The other thing I did was create my own Players Guide. Using my design tools as a graphic designer I was able to cut/paste a lot of the information that I wanted the players to know about Numeria as a whole. So a general timeline was included, monthly temperature averages, etc. I included a lot of my own write-ups as well. I also set a few limits on the actual Campaign Traits.
All the characters that were from Torch and Numeria were able to pick any of the campaign traits. Those that were from outside Numeria were only allowed to pick Against the Technic League and Stargazer. This gave the characters outside Numeria specific traits that would lure them to Numeria for some reason. Hopefully as the players include their player info and stories you will see those individual choices.
The campaign started for me with all those not from Torch starting in Hajoth Hakados and joining a caravan of smiths and merchants traveling north to Torch. Its on that journey of six days that the players find 'kindred spirits' of a sort and become quick friends. They actually arrived in Torch four days before the torch goes out. When using the timeline provided in Fires of Creation that gives the characters ten days to become acquainted with the players from Torch.
Right now I am going to give every creature the Advanced Template with maximum hit points and not increase their numbers. (My Rise of the Runelords campaign with nine players was nuts enough with advanced everything and increased numbers, larger maps to accomodate everything...ugh.)
So far the only encounter was with the malfunctioning repair drone. Also the great PC monkeywrench had only three PCs fight it as the others had gone off to make preparations for going to the tunnels. In the end the unchained rogue killed it with a flanking buddy, the gunslinger was a hit point speed bump and knocked unconscious, while the bard dished out some bonuses and revived the gunslinger for the flank.
The player list is currently a dwarven cleric of Brigh, a human gunslinger, and elven unchained rogue, a human swashbuckler(/soon to be investigator), a variant multiclassing Bard with clerical tendencies, and a human two-hand fighter archetype.
I am giving all players a boon if they write their stories here like I did with my Rise of the Runelords campaign. A free d20 reroll that they can use for themselves, another player or to make me reroll a d20.
Hopefully other GMs will enjoy the read, and Pathfinder lovers will enjoy the stories. I encourage anyone to post within the thread to ask questions to me or the players. I ask that we keep the spoilers of future events limited to PMs. Thanks and enjoy! o/
Well, our stats have been tweaked by the GM for his game. (He's notorious for doing so.) Which is also why I worked on the Druid of Gorum (class/archetype?). Other than making one other tweak to the class as I had posted, right now he's been holding his own next to the others. So my fears that the class might be broken have so far not been true. The further along we go I will have to see.
captain yesterday wrote:
Glad you are enjoying the read. Also, I'm the small one. Macer and Lugh are stronger. :)
That being said I have an Ulfgaght cousin in the wings should I die that is bigger.
I should post that we jokingly invented a new Swallowtail Festival event in the aftermath of the Rise of the Runelord campaign.
We called it "The Paladin's Path." Its a race for kids to follow the path taken by Rikert the day the giants attacked Sandpoint. The first to follow the long route from The Rusty Dragon Inn up to the north gate and back down through and crossing the bridge wins. The prize is a small stuffed animal of a warhorse.
The idea came about as we gave the player that played Rikert in the RotRL game a hard time about getting back to his horse Hickory who had been stabled in Sandpoint for multiple weeks in our new campaign.
I should note that I had made a small update to the Druid of Gorum archetype/class. If someone who is reading these posts decides to make and play the class, I have included it for completeness sake.
So in the end you gain 3 extra combat feats over and above the normal feat listing. The standard druid is gaining increased Wild Shapes per day at those levels, so this didn’t seem to break the class any.
I would like to say that so far, because of an incredibly high STR score, I am doing well at keeping up with the martial minded of the classes. We have two, the Cavalier and the Brawler. Last week the dice were ice cold, much like our temperatures, and I couldn’t roll a 10+ on a d20 with three rolls.
The minor casting has come into play as extra healing to help offset Atz being forced into trying to keep eight characters and two-three NPCs up. Lots of wands with this group. Birgun is currently at 4th level and has gained enough money to enchant his armor to +1 (not the spikes, only made them masterworked through the spell) and enchanted his greatsword to +1 as well. Currently sitting on 2k gold and is saving for a Lesser Rod of Metamagic, Extend. This should help the buff spells last a fair amount of time.
For those keeping track at home, our starting kids were essentially one free level of rogue (so +8 hit points; 8 skill ranks using the rogue class skills and one free feat that we had to meet the requirements for—which wasn’t easy when our stats were generally in the 6-10 range). We also get +2 skill ranks per level that can only go in Craft/Profession/Knowledge skills. This is something I have started doing in multiple games because it allows for the fluff side of character skills to not be set aside with low skill rank characters.
Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght:
Human, Druid of Gorum
Initiative: +2; Senses Perception +10
Under the rules for polymorph is the sentence, If the form you choose grants these benefits, or a greater ability of the same type, you gain the listed benefit.
So my question is, if Beast Shape says, for example, Swim 30 feet and the animal you are morphing into has a swim speed of 40 feet, what is your swim speed?
I assumed the swim speed was 30 feet because the spell caps(?) at 30 feet, but the rules for polymorph seem to contradict this. Hence my confusion.
Anyone able to assist me on this one or am I just misreading this? (Which I bet I am doing like normal.)
It didn’t take long to save the horses and there was a good chance that the stable was going to be saved but the inn wasn’t going to make it. Once the horses were safe I returned to the gathering of people outside the inn and quickly began putting my armor on. There was horn and the goblins had fallen back but I was unsure if they were going to regroup and attack again. Atz saw to my wounds as my curative magics were out, and then Lugh, Atz and I moved about the people and tended to their wounds as best we could. Thankfully most of the wounds were minor, most of the people having suffered only from inhaling the smoke.
Once we had gathered up it was obvious that Vex wasn’t with us, but Macer said he had chased after the goblins and was probably rooting out their hiding spots. He didn’t seem concerned so I wasn’t worried. After an hour the goblins didn’t return and I decided to once again strip out of my armor and get some rest. My body was still pretty tore up from the first encounter with the little ankle biters, and I was exhausted. Sleep came pretty easy and I awoke to the smells of eggs and sausage late in the morning. After getting my fill of the food being offered it was decided to push on to Sandpoint and take everyone there. Just as we were gathering up our supplies an individual arrived from Magnimar that was looking for Kiara and the same man that Kiara was looking for. The last time I had seen Kiara she was riding off in the direction the goblins took and told the man as much although I wasn’t sure who he was.
It took a day and a half to reach Sandpoint but there were no more encounters with Goblins. Upon reaching Sandpoint we all entered the first inn we saw which was called the Rusty Dragon Inn and filled ourselves on good food and drink. The owner, an Ameiko Kaijitsu was also the individual whose supplies we had guarded on the trip from Magnimar. Her family owned the only glass works shop in the area and they were very well known for producing beautiful stained glass windows. The rest of the afternoon saw most of the group moving out into the town to do some shopping and sight seeing, the rest of us remained in the inn to relax. After a hot bath I returned to the common area to drink and practice Siege against myself. After a while I wondered if Kiara was here and walked next door to the Goblin Squash Stables.
The stables lived up to their name as the rafters were littered with goblin ears. Each one nailed into the rafter with a name carved into each ear. There was even a large jar with the pickled remains of a goblin inside. Looking at the horses, I found hers and her saddle in a stall. Confirming that she was here in town somewhere, I found the proprietor, master Hosk, and paid the man a silver coin to let the owner of the horse know that ‘a serious looking fellow was looking for her at the Halfway Inn the day before.’ Hosk’s eyebrow raised a little. I imagine to him I sounded like I was explaining myself. With a grin I told him, “Not me. Someone else.” Hosk asked where I was staying and when I told him where I was staying he said, “You’ll probably see her there. That’s where she’s staying, but I’ll give her your message.” With that I nodded and returned back to the inn to enjoy a few more games and drink some ale.
I was surprised when a womans arm reached over my shoulder to move a piece on the Siege board and I didn’t hear her approach. Turning I saw Kiara staring back, blank faced as before. “I got your message,” she said as she sat down next to me turning the board to now play against me. Sam and Felu were both still in the inn with me and had taken note of her arrival but didn’t say anything initially. I described to her the man that had arrived that morning looking for her and individual she had named to me when we first met. That’s when Sam said loud enough for us to here, “Falcone, I believe is his name.” Her shoulders slumped a little at that and there was a small sigh but she continued to play the game. “He’s an assassin, like me,” she replied to the board game. So the rumor was true. She was silent for the next couple of minutes as she quickly beat me in the game. Still don’t get the long game.
When we finished she sat back in the chair, Sam and Felu took that opportunity to sit with us. As Felu sat down, she asked Kiara “why do we need to talk?” This surprised me somewhat as I didn’t know they had talked but stayed quiet and listened, pausing only to order a round of drinks for the table. As it turns out, the individual that Kiara was looking for was staying at the Halfway Inn, and that he was ‘possessed.’ When she had killed him, the possessing demon had died along with the man. The essence of the demon had tried to enter Sam but Felu had done something to defeat it. Kiara was interested to know what, but Felu didn’t know. She described seeing Sam convulsing on his bed and a darkness around him, all she did was confront it, yelling at it to leave. Next thing she woke up in the field near the inn. I complimented Felu at standing up for her friends and fighting against the enemy, whatever it was. She seemed pleased to hear that from me and I would imagine that even Gorum would be pleased even though she didn’t use any weapons of iron in doing so. All of this led to Falcone, an assassin who was in fact after Kiara, since he no longer needed to kill this possessed man. Kiara explained that if he learned that we knew of her, he would ask very hard questions as to her whereabouts. Still though, she saved my life I think, and I owed her a debt I intended to repay. Kiara finished her drink, and left to go upstairs.
By mid afternoon I had talked a little with Ameiko and inquired about the spices she used for her lunch so she took me back into the kitchen to show me some of her spices and little tricks she had learned. We were back there for a few minutes when an elven woman dressed in leathers and armed with a bow rushed in saying, “Falcone is in town, we need to warn Kiara!” She tried to brush me aside with a shove of her hand as she told Ameiko this and when I didn’t move she turned and looked up at me a little surprised. I smiled at her, thanked Ameiko for her help and excused myself. As I sat down at the table with Lugh he was laughing and saying that the elf was ‘checking you out. She was staring at your ass.” I earned a round of guffaws when I replied, “Of course she was, I have a great ass. I work out a lot.”
As a group we then spent the next few hours drinking, eating, and laughing. A local gnome woman came down to the immediate cat calls and whistles of the locals and began singing and dancing about the room. Even though it was hard to catch sight of her at times since she is so small, she made a good impression on the patrons. That’s when I saw Falcone enter into the inn and look around. He saw our group but continued his gaze of all those in the room. Thats when Kelyn asked if ‘that’s the guy you were talking about,’ and pointed directly at Falcone. Falcone noticed Kelyn’s finger and started to make his way over to us. Lugh stood up, moving to intercept Falcone and began fast talking about hearing of someone that ‘had seen this Kiara.’ After a few moments you could see that Falcone was getting tired of Lugh and he asked rather abruptly, “WHO has seen her?” I stood up and said, “I have seen her. I have a feeling that she would not like it if you were to find her and since she saved my life the other night I won’t tell you where or when I saw her. So why don’t you just leave.” It was at this time that I noticed that the patrons of the inn were fixated on this Moxie woman and were oblivious to the seriousness of the situation brewing between Falcone and our group. Even Ameiko was standing near us. Everyone had a very serious expression on their faces and Falcone knew when to retreat. I said, “I don’t want any trouble tonight, not in this inn, but you have to understand I am not going to tell you anything.” Falcone nodded his head and slowly backed out keeping us all in sight. I returned his nod and before he had left the inn had sat back down and forgotten him. That’s also when Macer said, “What in the nine hells just happened. Who was that guy and who is Kiara?” Seems Macer has never seen Kiara and had no clue about any of this, so I spent the rest of the evening explaining everything. Even though there was some discussion of how we could have handled the situation differently, I will not change how I handle threats to my friends and allies. I will not go gently into the night.
The next morning we decided to pool some of our gold from the escort job and Oona’s personal remaining wealth to purchase a wand of healing for Atz to carry. The goblins had taken their toll on us in our prior meetings and healing was scare. Going after their nest means we needed more healing available to us, more than what few divine spells we had. After purchasing the wand we headed back out on the Lost Coast road towards Magnimar. Vex said that he could find their cave entrance easily enough when we neared the area of the former Halfway Inn. Just before dusk a small group of goblins led by a brutish orc ambushed our group. The little bastards are hard to spot so I was surprised by the suddenness of the attack. Quicker on my feet this time I moved to head off the orc who had attacked Felu. Drawing my sword I cursed at him in dwarven, saying “Fight something worth fighting you worthless pig!” I didn’t know orcish, and the dwarves back in the Linnorm Lands explained that dwarves and orcs have fought since time began, so I hoped it understood my insult and would leave Felu alone. It seemed to work, because he looked at me and replied in dwarven, “BATTLE!” That’s when Lugh appeared opposite me and flanked the orc. For the next several seconds the orc realized his predicament and kept trying to move away to prevent Lugh and I from double teaming him down quickly. My great sword, Lughs spear and a revenge shot from Felu’s bang stick ended his threat at the same time as the rest of the group had finished off the goblins. Nothing like a nice little battle before bed.
We went about setting up camp and Lugh and I moved through the group making sure the wounds suffered earlier in the day were cleaned and redressed. Sam’s tattooed, shirtless body had taken a beating and I let him know that “women loved scars on men.” He just gave me a blank look, turned to look at Felu who was nodding. “See?” I said, “they dig em.” I know Sam wouldn’t openly worship Gorum, but you never know. Scars are the story of your martial prowess. When you meet that grizzled old guy covered in scars, you know he’s been around and learned how to fight.
Lugh and I took first watch for the caravan and picked opposite sides of the camp to watch for any more approaching goblins. The only noise was the small pops of wood from the low kept campfires, the occasional snort from one of the horses and general snoring. I heard goblins can see in the dark, if that’s true they can see and hear us. Even trying to be quiet, the caravan is pretty loud in the cool night air. I began hearing the sound of a large group coming up the road heading in our same direction. As they got closer I could see it was another caravan so I used a small blessing from Gorum to cast light on my swords pommel and moved up to great them.
At the front of the caravan was a woman who dismounted and greeted me. Even in the light of the minor spell I could see she was somewhat attractive, and had that look to her that spoke of martial proficiency. She introduced herself as Kiara and asked if she could rest by our fires. I pointed to where she could drop her bedroll and introduced myself, “Birgun, and sure. Just try not to wake anyone as they just got off to sleep.” As she began removing the saddle from her horse I asked if they had encountered any goblins. She shook her head but did say she had seen the aftermath of our earlier encounter. She mentioned that she was looking for someone but I didn’t recognize the name so I shrugged and told her I didn’t know of them.
As she finished getting her horse taken care of I moved up to the caravan and discovered that they were ‘protected’ by people who looked like the scarni scum that tried to take over our offer of protection. I pointed to an area a distance away from ours as I didn’t want any trouble and told them to set up there. Their late arrival would likely piss off those trying to rest and I wanted to minimize any noise. Thats when I saw that a member of their group was a half-orc who was looking at me. Then it hit me, “By Torag’s beard! Bags!” That response was all he needed to produce an ear to ear grin and he came over to give me a warriors hand shake and hug. We talked for a bit with him giving me a rundown of the others of our old gang that he knew of. I was surprised to learn that Epher had left Magnimar at the same time as Oona did. I was also surprised to learn that Oona’s family had also left as well. Bag’s figured that Oona and Epher had run off together and I laughed telling him, “That didn’t happen.” When he looked at me quizzically I told him I would tell him in the morning and invited him to come over for a quick breakfast of trail rations, as the others would want to see him as well.
In the morning I did my prayers to Gorum and finished with a breakfast and more stories. We started a little later than the caravan wanted but the inn was only four hours down the road. Bags was going to be leaving later than us so we agreed to buy a round for him when he arrived as more stories would have to be told. The rest of the trip though was uneventful, although we did spot a large group of goblins, all they did was watch. Once the inn was in sight Lugh and I had discussed heading back to meet up with Bag’s caravan in case they were the target. Everyone went along accept Felu and Sam who continued on to the inn. As it turns out the goblins allowed this caravan to also pass unmolested, possibly because of our arrival. Along the way Bags mentioned that he knew there was a group of “working women” on their way to Sandpoint and they were probably staying at the inn. Lugh took great interest in that news and was immediately punched in the stomach by Oona for his ‘outburst.’ Laughing at Lugh’s discomfort and lack of air, I commented that I bet Felu would have the women wrapped around her finger when we arrived. When we arrived at the inn we found Sam, Felu and five women sitting together and chatting.
The evening went by comfortably with plenty of drink and conversation. The only ‘stain’ on the evening was when some of Bag’s scarni thugs came in loudly questioned, “why do you got all the whores?” I inwardly cringed at that comment and kept my seat as things began to escalate. Macer did his part by defending the honor of the women, both ours and the actual “working women,” and asked for them to ‘rethink their approach.” These scarni aren’t to bright. In Gorum’s name we outnumbered them three to one, as there were sixteen of us sitting together. Kelyn stood quickly and in one fluid motion had drawn his rapier and moved to stand between the scarni and Nina. With an almost imperceptive movement, Sam made a quick motion with his hands and muttered something in an unknown language. Suddenly the loud mouth seemed to calm down and gained a look of sadness. He seemed to try and apologize for his actions, but another of the scarni stepped up and reached out to grab at Sam. He missed but noticed the sudden appearance of Felu’s bang stick pointing at his head. Things were rapidly beginning to spiral into bloodshed so I just put my hand over my newly delivered ale and said, “I would sure hate for you guys to knock over my ale and cause me to beat you all to death.” The statement was true and factual as there was no glory to be found here in Gorum’s name. The man visibly blanched and his eyes grew as he suddenly noticed how many of us there were. The other three men sighed as the newly bold scarni began stammering and backing up. The original blow hard again began apologizing and trying to leave the inn. Oona in all her disturbing beauty had stood and with a petulant look that immediately switched to an evil grin (again, there is that grin) said, “So we aren’t going to dance?” Which was answered with more stammering and apologies. Just before the scarni reached the door I yelled out without looking at them, “that sound you hear is your dick shriveling.” Which then brought the tension of the room to laughter instead of violence as everyone within earshot began laughing. Through grinning tusks, Bag’s said that he had heard from some other scarni that they had been intimidated by a big man the previous morning and now he was sure he knew who did it. I grinned at that and again turned to Lugh, “I remembered them being meaner.” “And bigger,” Lugh finished.
We rounded out the evening with several games of siege and learned that quite a few of us were talented in thinking out long term strategies. I had grown to love the game while in Linnorm Lands when I would play against my uncle and some of the other fighters. It was a simple enough game to learn but a difficult one to master. Learning how to sacrifice a great piece for a win further in the game was something I was still learning. I even spent some time out in the yard practicing with Macer and Lugh. Despite my size they are every bit as strong as I am and admittedly, my size meant I was generally easier to land a hit on. I went to bed that evening with a smile on my face and a full belly and soul.
I awoke on the other hand to darkness, smoke and shouting. My roommate Atz had just woken me up by yelling, “FIRE!” Generally a word you don’t want to hear when in a wooden building. By the amount of smoke in the room already and the glow coming from the hall as Atz had opened the door the window was going to be our only escape. Thankfully, months of preparation had taught me to bundle my armor up for hasty departures when awakened suddenly. So I grabbed my armor and sundry bits of gear and tossed it out the window. As I turned to grab my backpack I heard the armor hit and the sound was not armor hitting ground, but armor hitting a person. Grimacing at the apology I was going to have to make I turned to yell at Atz only to find him already climbing out the window. Grabbing up my great sword I cast light on the pommel again and hurdled through the window oblivious to the danger of the height. Unlike all those years ago leaving Oona’s bedroom I landed on my feet. I also found impaled on the spikes of my armor and squashed underneath it the body of a now dead goblin. I imagined that somewhere Gorum was laughing at that luck.
I then heard Sam’s strained voice for my help as he was trying to lower an unconscious Felu to the ground. I then heard Atz asking for help and when I turned I saw a rather stout looking orc bearing down on Atz. Gravity or killing monster? “Sorry Sam, let her drop! The fall won’t kill her but this orc will kill Atz!” was all I could say as I moved to engage the orc. I heard Sam scream “she’ll kill me if she finds out I did this!” and began laughing as I hit the unsuspecting orc in the upper shoulder and leaving a nasty deep gash in his thick hide. He turned and in rapid succession slammed his rather large mace into me multiple times before I could attempt to counter. Damn he was fast. Finding all the glory I had wanted in combat I laid into him with all I had but before I could finish him off an arrow hit him right between his eyes driving deep into neck. As the orc slowly fell, I turned to see Kiara on the upper most floor holding a bow. Dropping my sword I told her to jump and that I would catch her. She moved into the darkness and yelled for me to head to the stables, as the horses needed my help more than she did. Taking her advice I moved around the burning inn to find a burning stable. Cursing the goblins and apparently orcs, I ran forward to aid the others.
We spent the next week on the barge to Magnimar discussing what we had done over the years, the people we had met and of course the days spent as kids. The voyage was relaxing enough but I could feel that tug that all true Gorumites feel when their skills were not being tested. Hopefully that urge would be scratched soon enough.
When I could finally see Magnimar in the distance I found myself becoming more anxious and excited at finally being home after such a long journey of self discovery. The sights of the myriad of sails, colorful flags and pennants blowing in the wind. The smells of the salt air overpowering any latent smell of the marshes. The sounds of the fishermen and seamen barking orders and hawking their wares. I found myself arriving home. I turned to see Atz standing next to me, both of us entranced by the vision of it all. “Nice to be home,” Atz said. All I could do was slowly nod while smiling.
When we finally docked, I helped Atz carry some of his goods back to his home in the Dockway. I stayed for a few minutes talking with his family, but their desire was to talk with Atz and I didn’t want to delay their family reunion any more that I wanted to delay my own. Telling Atz, “I’ll come by tomorrow to see if you want to get together and look any of the others up.” With that I turned and made my way up to the Naos district and my home.
The home looked no different from when I had left three years ago. I did stutter as I stopped at the door, not knowing if I should knock before entering. Fate decided for me as I suddenly heard a squealing girls voice, “Birgun!” Turning around I saw my younger sister running towards me. I barely had enough time to set my sword down before she did her best to engulf me in a bear hug. My younger sister, who was now eleven years old, stood a little over five feet tall and looked so much like our mother. After setting her back down she took me in where my mother had a more reserved, but equal reaction to my sister. Father was not at home as he was returning from Kalsgard with more copper and should be home within the month.
I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon telling tales of my journey from Kalsgard. While my sister made a sour face when I showed them my left hand and the loss of a few finger tips my mother just shook her head and smiled. She definitely noticed my holy symbol I wore, but made no mention of it. I began wondering again if my parents really had met in those pits all those years ago. As I was finishing up dinner and helping to clean the dishes I heard multiple knocks on the front door. As I got closer I could hear drunken laughter and shushing voices. When I opened the door I found Macer standing at the door with Kelyn right next to him with Nina, Felu, Sam and Vex behind both of them. Macer and Kelyn’s eyes shot wide when they saw me. “Birgun?” Macer asked. “Holy cow you really ‘are’ huge.” Both Nina and Felu gave a squeal as I had to duck through the door to step outside and was immediately bear hug mauled by the two of them. “Come out drinking with us!” the girls yelled. I wasn’t even able to respond before I heard my mothers voice from behind laughing and telling me to go out with my friends.
Falling in step with the others I told them that Atz had arrived this morning with me and so we made our way their first before going to see if Lugh was back as well. Falling in step, I turned and smiled to Vex and asked, “How’s the treasure hoard coming?” He gave me a small wicked little grin and I started when I thought to myself, “there’s that grin again.” He had that same evil little grin that Oona’s father and that orc gave me. Then he laughed and the moment was over. Even though the girls prattled on like old ladies but at a much more rapid pace, I could see that both Sam and Kelyn had developed more than just friendships with them. “Good for them,” I thought. Both Kelyn and Sam were cool with their families and both Nina and Felu could use a good man in their lives. We arrived at Atz’s family house a little after ‘too late to come knocking.’ The girls though seemed to make our late arrival palatable and soon Atz was with the rest of us as we went to Lugh’s home.
Remembering the stories of Lugh’s father I thought it best that I knock on the door. Hopefully my size would deter any anger at such a late hour. His father did open the door and even though he initially looked upset his demeanor changed when he saw us. “Booyo!” was all he yelled over his shoulder. Before he turned to go back into the house he noticed my holy symbol and smiled. “Yer goot good taste der booyo,” and he slapped my arm. By then Lugh had showed up and boy was he a lot tanner than before, even his hair was bleached from the sun. Looks of surprise around at our changes in appearance aside, the initial reunion went quickly. When he learned we were going out he yelled for Oona. I gave him a surprised look and raised an eyebrow and he quickly, but subtly shook his head no. I swear every dog in Magnimar heard the squeal from the girls when Oona came to the door. As we walked to find a tavern I could see that Lugh was taking a very protective stance and was within arms reach of her the whole night. She still wore the Sarenrae pendant Lugh gave her all those years ago and I got the impression that Lugh was still going to protect her from her father if needed.
We settled on the Captain’s Club for our tavern of the evening. The initial door staff was not going to allow us to enter until the owner, Leruu Whitelips allowed us in. Not sure why, but this was a rather upscale tavern for the likes of us. We received a few odd stares from others in the tavern but when Macer bought a round of drinks for everyone, the establishment quickly turned friendly. We spent almost four hours talking about everything and anything. At one point, I swore I laughed so hard that I thought I cracked a rib. With our talks winding down, the general question of ‘what grand adventure were we going to have’ came up. Vex mentioned issues with goblins in the sewers growing, but the girls wrinkled their noses at that. Macer heard that goblin attacks on the Lost Coast road were increasing and that several caravans were needing help. Everyone seemed to mull that over and the lot of us found ourselves nodding at that prospect. Since we decided to leave in the morning I decided to call it an evening and stumble on home for some rest.
In the morning we met by the gate near the Lost Coast road and learned that the Lost Coast Trading Co. was the caravan company that was having the problems. Sam talked with the owners and agreed on escorting a caravan to the way point between Magnimar and Sandpoint. Along the way if we were to learn anything about what was going on we would get paid extra. All this on top of a bounty for goblin ears. Just as we were getting ready to leave the town with the caravan, a group of punk thugs on horses rode up and said that ‘they’ were the ones that was going to escort the caravan. Looking to Lugh he gave me a smirk and nodded his head in their direction. So I walked up to their leader and told him, “I don’t think you understand. You’re not escorting anyone, so piss off!” The leader visibly blanched and I could hear the snicker from some of our group behind me. Trying to save face he scowled but rode off. When I turned around several of the group were outright laughing as I walked up to Lugh and said, “I remember thugs being meaner . . . and bigger.” With that Lugh busted out laughing.
We began our walk out of town with most of my time spent talking with Lugh that I wasn’t aware that his father was a follower of Gorum. After an hour of walking along the wagon train we were suddenly jumped by a large group of goblins. Those little bastards are sneaky and we were immediately surrounded. Before I could even pinpoint one of the little green skins I had already had an arrow sticking in my arm. Macer had ridden forward with Vex and was laying into the small band in front of us while all the others were engaging a group to our right. Only Felu and her pistol engaged the group on our left. Drawing my sword I moved forward but the little buggers backed off and kept shooting. So I had to run in amongst them to prevent their constant falling back and thats when they leapt onto me in rabid fashion. I cursed their luck at penetrating my armor with their tiny knives while laughing, but with two swings of my sword and the sudden appearance of Vex the remaining three goblins fell, in wonderful gory fashion.
Posted for the player who plays Atz.
The party brushed our selves off. We said our good-byes and I headed home. I hope we all cross paths again someday.
Quick question I hope.
Do you gain the abilities of animals when wildshaping at higher levels?
For example, the Compsognathus is a Tiny creature (Beast Shape II) has Poison which is not listed under Beast Shape II. But when the druid is able to use Beast Shape III, Poison is listed as a ability that can be gained. So at that level does the Compsognathus then have the Poison ability?
The party was a lavish affair and there was a large number of people there. Her mother was in rare form, vapid and odd. Her father continued with that malevolence that I can’t put my finger on and it didn’t matter when you looked at him, he was always looking back as if he knew you were going to look at him. After a while it turned into our typical party attendance with our group near the food and/or each other and just passing the time with idle chatter. Oona came over and there was a look in her eyes that caused me to pause, a sort of feral fear. Something an animal does when it knows its cornered.
She asked me to go up to her room and get her bags and then meet her at the Usher’s Hall. When I asked why, she just said that she had to get out of here. Forever. Considering how I feel about her parents I just nodded and said okay. With that I excused myself from the others and made my way from the party to the grand stairs at the front of the house. Just as I was reaching the stairs I found Lugh in step behind me. It looked like he was using me departure as a reason to leave. I quickly told him what Oona had told me and asked if he would help me get her bags. I admit I was afraid her “bags” would be a trunk or something similar and Lugh would definitely be needed. When I got to her room I found the door locked. Lugh checked a door next to Oona’s room just in case there was another way in and immediately closed the door, shaking his head that it wasn’t the way in. He suggested getting Kelyn to help with the lock and I agreed.
I decided to pass the time looking at some of the books in a near by bookcase when I unconsciously found my hand in my belt pouch fingering the boars head key I had found all those years ago in the Shadow Clock. I had never found a use for the key and had kept it for sentimental reasons. I pulled the key out of my pouch and stared at the lock for a few seconds before I thought, why not? Sticking the key in the door I was surprised when I heard the door unlock. Quickly moving inside and closing the door behind me I had to wait until I could see anything since the room was dark. When I could finally look about I only found one bag, and it wasn’t packed correctly. There was nothing in it she was going to need if she was in fact running away. So I began looking about her room and grabbing anything I would take if I was the one leaving. About half way through I was surprised when Kelyn and Lugh entered inside. Kelyn looked a little miffed about having left the party and more importantly, Nina. Lugh told him what we were doing and soon we were all finding things to add. Using an empty pillow case we added what would no longer fit inside her backpack.
Kelyn suggested leaving through the windows and dropping down to avoid anyone seeing us. Both Lugh and Kelyn climbed down easy enough, I tried to drop down and twisted my ankle something fierce. In time we made it to Usher’s Hall and only had to wait a short while before everyone arrived. I explained to Oona that there wasn’t enough money so I had added what I had to it and hoped it would be enough. She only absently nodded her thanks and said that we had to keep going. When we all looked at her and said “we?” she said that her father would hunt her down and we had to leave Magnimar. Thats when Lugh suggested we head to his gods temple in Underbridge and figure out the next step there.
Along the way to Underbridge a couple of street thugs jumped us. Our fancy clothes and preoccupied thoughts allowed their little ambush to even succeed. Drawing my dagger and yelling “Like Hells you are!” I leapt at the closest man. He managed to stab me rather deep with his short sword but my repeated strikes with the dagger, as well as the others, dropped him. I had to be forceably pulled off his corpse by Sam as I ranted at his interruption while helping my friends and continued to stab the dead man. I seem to remember hearing the word, vampire which caused the others to stop what they were doing. Soon though we were all moving again, Macer helping me along as I was bleeding badly.
After arriving at the temple I collapsed in the corner and tried to bind my wounds using my new shirt. Oddly enough the wounds seemed to stop bleeding by the time I had removed my vest and shirt. Thats when Oona explained that she thought her dad was a vampire. Some evil sorcerer that used his magics to become immortal. His power and influence had allowed him to worm his way into the politics of Magnimar and his influence was far and wide. I didn’t really understand to much of what she said, the loss of blood was making my head swim and I just wanted to sleep. I must have fallen asleep because I awoke to the cries of alarm from the others as someone tried to break down the door to the temple. By the time I was able to get to my feet the door had been ripped open and there stood Oona’s father. I tried to move forward to interpose myself between him and her but he said just a few words and I found myself frozen in place unable to move, and then he was gone. Looking about I saw that all of us had been held in place some how but Oona was still with us. I still don’t know what happened, but the power of Sarenrae seemed to keep us safe. Before I left I knelt and gave thanks to Sarenrae for her intervention.
I had explained to my mother everything that had happened that night. I didn’t look to bad, as Kelyn had done his magics that cleaned the blood from my clothes and my wounds had closed while I had slept somehow. Mother listened and never once did she seem angry or shocked at what I told her, she just stared at me intently. I told her that the others talked about leaving, that Lugh talked about going to the deserts of the south and Oona would accompany him as far as Absalom. Sam mentioned that his uncle was coming to take him somewhere. Even Kelyn mentioned heading to Taldor for some reason. I then asked if she would allow me to go north to see our homeland and she agreed. A week later I boarded a longboat piloted by a trusted Ulfen my family hires when he is in port and set sail to the Lands of the Linnorm Kings.
Several years later I believe I have finally stopped growing. I now stand as tall as my uncle Gwelrwar and maybe a tad taller than my father. The weight and muscle came from working in the copper mines alongside the dwarves. Dwarves are a hardy and sturdy lot that appreciate hard work and craftsmanship. Our family copper mines are exclusively mined by dwarves and my uncle. My father was always more business savvy and even though he spent his time working the mines in his youth as well, he was better at selling the ores for substantial profits. My grandfather was the original figurehead of the mines but he had died many years before my birth in a collapse.
I spent my days working the mines and the evenings drinking with Gwelrwar and the dwarves. It was during this time that I learned of Gorum and his teachings. My uncle was a follower of Gorum as were some of the dwarves. On the weekends the larger mine pits were turned into small brawling arenas, and it was here that I learned to take a proper beating. The group of fighters was easily almost a hundred men and women, and they would meet to challenge each other in hand to hand combat. No tempers were ever lost, no pride was ever stung, it was just combat in its purest form. After a few years of this my body had become hard like the iron of Our Lord and it wasn’t long before I was one of the top fighters. I was easily one of the top five, but there were some hard ass bastards in that group, and two of them were women. I began to wonder if this is where my father met my mother and that the story I was told in my youth was true, to a point.
Eventually though my father said that it was time for me to return home. It wasn’t until he said home and meant Magnimar that I realized that for me it was home. As much as I was an Ulfen, these lands were not my true home and these people were not my childhood friends that I had many adventures with. The Ulfen had always accepted me and as I had learned while in Kalsgard, were very accepting of any race, even half-orcs. I heard there was an island chain ruled by a powerful Ulfen woman named Estrid along with the linnorm she subdued to claim the title of king. That sounds like a woman I would love to meet.
But in the end I didn’t feel totally ready to return to my home as my journey wasn’t complete. I had always felt there was a purpose to my life beyond learning where I came from. I had learned as much as I could about the Lord in Iron. Learned the tales of warriors in his name doing great deeds, and that someday I hoped to be spoken of by others in great reverence for my deeds. But what I had become wasn’t where I had to be. So I convinced my father that I would return to Magnimar within one year and in that time I was going to travel on foot and alone until I learned what I had to become.
As a gift for my work in the mines the dwarves crafted an impressive suit of spiked banded mail armor for me to wear. The patterns etched into the armor showed a seamless blend of Ulfen and Dwarven designs. The armor matched in scope the look and feel of most Ulfen armors and yet stood apart by the obvious dwarven craftsmanship. My father and uncle gave me a master forged great sword with the stamp and seal of Gorum on the blade near the pommel. Spending a fair amount of gold I equipped myself as best I could and headed out from Kalsgard to the east.
My journey took me through the frozen lands of Irrisen where I continued to follow the great Kodar mountains to the south. This path took me through the Realm of the Mammoth Lords where I eventually came upon a strange man using the magics of the wilds to stop a large group of orcs from capturing some animals. He was in dire need of help and seeing that he was outnumbered I could honor Gorum in glorious battle against difficult odds. My initial assault killed two of the orcs before they realized there was a new player in the game and their leader turned to face the new threat. It was then that I noticed that he too wore a great symbol of Gorum from his neck. Noticing mine about my neck he grinned a wicked evil grin, one that reminded me of Oona’s father after he had tore the doors off the small temple those many years ago, and saluted. The other orcs backed away and stopped their assault on the little man to watch what was about to unfold between their leader and I. Nodding to him I raised the great sword and charged. When it was over the orc had lost his head, and I had lost a few teeth and my top two fingers from my left hand. Not to mention quite a few broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, a broken nose, and my right eye had swollen shut. With the death of their leader the orcs lost their stomach to fight, although it did take a little more convincing before they ran off.
The little man introduced himself as Arypp, and that he was a Shoanti and a Druid. He tended my wounds and freed the creatures the orcs had trapped. Arypp explained that the orcs from the south came into these lands to capture animals for food and battle and that he just couldn’t abide that behavior. In all my years in Magnimar, I had seen a few Shoanti warriors fight in the Serpent’s Run and even met a few that had become accustomed to city life within Magnimar. Arypp was yet another exception to the rule. He stood no taller than I had in my youth when I had entered the Gecko piling of the Irespan. He was festooned with Shoanti tattoos and was bald as many of their warriors often do but was very personable and . . . well . . . small. For several months he taught me the ways of the wilds and of his people. Arypp was an outcast of the Sklar-Quah, and he left with no malice towards his peoples. His calling was nature and its protection and we spent many nights debating the merits of Gorum and Gozreh. I suppose I would have throttled anyone else, but his demeanor was his greatest quality. He became a fast friend and one I will always miss, but it was this new friend that brought my mind back to my old friends and a desire to return home.
For a few months more we journeyed together through the Hold of Belkzen towards Varisia, and over the Kodar Mountains. From there we parted ways with Arypp retuning back to where we had met while I followed the rivers south east along the Storval Plateau. Using my new found abilities I was able to avoid the dangers on the plateau and eventually made it to a little town called Turtleback Ferry where I booked passage to Magnimar with the small amount of money I had remaining. It will be good to see my mother and sister again.
Posted for the player who plays Atz.
It seemed like it took forever but as we finally reached the top, rocks came in a hit some of the party like Macer. I couldn’t see everything going on because of my shortness but as it turned out Macer and Sam got the best of two goblins and one fell off the roof! When I finally got on the roof there was feathers everywhere and some coins! I had never seen so much money! We each took some and Kelyn got a cool necklace out of a box he opened with the key he found, it looked kinda holy. It was getting late so we left the tower after we went down all those rickety stairs and walkways. We decided to take the necklace to a church to be looked at by a priest.
While we were there Lugh decided to leave some money on the religious statue and funny thing is, something told me to too! I was almost like my grandfather was saying it to me but not. Anyway, I left some silver pieces from the goblins at the base of the statue like Lugh did. After that we had to get home before we all got into trouble. I have to find somewhere to hide my money.
“Doors, stairs and a wagon” he replied. “Otherwise nothing.”
“Well, the wagon probably has what they are looking for so lets be the heroes.” Stepping inside I slowly made my way to the wagon using the light of the torch to push back at the darkness, which was considerable. Lugh followed in my wake and it wasn’t long before our noses were assaulted with the smell of death, or maybe Vex finally farted from that bad food he ate.
When I got to the wagon, I could tell that the smell was coming from there. Looking in the back I saw a tiny green leg. Like if Bags was a kid kinda small. Problem was thats all there was, a leg. Nothing else was attached except for a bunch of really big maggots that were munching away. “Ugh.” I said which brought the others closer. “I hope this isn’t what they are after because its gross.” My body went into one of those icky spasms you get when your ugly friends mother tries to give you a kiss on the cheek or a bug is crawling around in your clothes. Macer wondered how many maggots were there and Lugh told him to count them. It was then that Lugh and I went over to a large pile of rubble to see if something was in there.
The others had spread out around the base of the tower. There were several smaller rooms in the bottom of the tower but it looked like their roofs fell in and all the doors were barely hanging on. Everyone picked a room and began sifting through the rubble and found odds and ends. Lugh and I found the coolest thing though. We found a glass flask with a colored water in it. Kelyn said it was a magical healing potion. I had to trust his word on that, his folks love to do magic tricks, not so much Kelyn. But we also found a really big arm. When Lugh and I first found it, we started a bit but then realized that it was just an arm, no body or nothing. It was bigger than my dads arm by a lot and he’s the biggest man I know next to my uncle that visits on occasion. The arm also looked like it was made or something. There were lots of stitches in it holding it together. The leathers were different colors and it didn’t smell like the green leg in the wagon. After a few minutes I was able to dig it out with Lugh’s help and then picked it up, it was really heavy.
I then ran towards Nina and Felu with the arm yelling, “I found something! Here let me give you a hand.” The girls squealed and ran away and I chased them about for a little bit, but the arm was really heavy. Not to mention Sam and Kelyn were giving me the stink eye. I didn’t chase after Oona, she gets really angry when she is picked on. A wicked grin later I dropped the arm off by door out of the tower. I bet that shop would pay a lot of gold for that arm if they were willing to give us gold for our skeezix parts. By the time I had returned to Lugh, he had found a pipe and some blank parchment.
Looking at everything we had found, there was a small silver key that Kelyn had discovered. Looking about the only choice left was up. So with grins on all our faces we started up the stairs. We had heard stories that people had tried to go up here in the past but they kept falling and dying. Probably because they are big fat adults. Kids don’t have those problems. So Macer went first with me second holding the torch out and Lugh close behind with his home made spear and shield. The rest fell in behind us with Sam and the girls at the back.
The stairs were a little rickety, and they swayed a little bit if we all bunched up so we made sure no one stood on the same stair as anyone else. That seemed the smartest thing to do. We climbed and climbed and climbed. There were even a couple of parts where the stairs were missing, probably from the fat adult breaking them and falling. So Macer used the metal spike things in his bag and with the hammer he had pounded hand holds for us to cross the gaps. While we waited for him to do that, Lugh and I practiced at spitting and sucking it back up. Lugh beat me this time though.
Eventually we made it all the way up to the top where the bells were. They were HUGE and there was four of them. All of a sudden I heard Macer yell out in pain and grabbed at his face. When I asked what happened he said that someone had thrown a rock at him. That bastard Bags probably did it. He and Epher were here and ahead of us. Those jerks. That could have caused Macer to fall, or worse knock some of us off the edge if Macer had fallen. Moving out onto the landing I saw that the stairs moved to the outside of the tower and continued up. Except I was shocked when I didn’t see Epher or Bags but two really skinny goblins! “Crap!” I yelled, “there’s goblins up here.”
They were really small and probably only stood as high as my belly. They were really scrawny though and had really big heads. So I ran up to one and took a swing with my sword while yelling at them, “You foul creatures are going to die for that!” Macer and Lugh followed suit but the little green skins were pretty hard to hit. Using rocks they had found they bashed Macer and Lugh pretty good, but they managed to keep their feet. I then cracked one good over the head with my sword and I saw its eyes roll about in its sockets. Macer then followed suit and hit him in the knees and the goblin fell off the tower. SPLAT! Lugh had stuck the other goblin really good and then a blast of really cold air went past all of us and hit the goblin in the chest. It clutched at its chest and fell over backward, his chest showing signs of frostbite I think. We all turned and saw Sam standing there looking pleased and scared all in one face. Thats when Lugh shouted, “YOU MANIFESTED!” To which Sam screamed back at all of us, “Don’t tell my parents!”
It was then that we noticed that we were all standing on some of the same pieces of wood and quickly made our way up a little more and into a room where there was a lot of dead pigeons, well, just the bones. There was also a battered chest with a LOT of coins in it. There was also another small wooden box that they couldn’t open and it had the symbol of Sarenhay on it. Kelyn gave the box and the key to Lugh and he opened it to find a really nice looking necklace of a woman with wings and a halo holding her arms out wide. We continued looking and found our way up to the roof were I found another key made of iron with a pigs head on it. Don’t know what that led to but I kept it anyway. I also grabbed a pigeon bone to keep as a trophy. A goblin bone would probably get me in trouble. Macer drank the potion we found and sure enough the cuts on his face disappeared. WOW! We need to find lots of those.
It took a long time but we were able to get the chest and the coins down to the bottom. We only spilled a few of them, but we think we found them all and put them back in. Spending a long time, we huddled over the chest and tried to make sure everyone got the same amount of coins. Lugh said he just wanted the box, but I told him that he should take the coins as well. Everyone nodded and so he got some of them as well. When we got ready to leave the girls thought that we should leave the arm as it might lead back to us if I tried to sell it. So with Kelyns advice we built a funny trap to scare the old ladies that were going to come here. Running outside we picked up the remains of the dead goblin and put it in the hand of the huge arm. We then closed its hand into a fist, sort of, and then rigged it up to fall from above the door when someone came in. Too bad we can’t watch, it was getting late and we had to get home.
Before we split up though, we stopped off at the abandoned temple of Sarenhay and Lugh was going to leave the box. Then he started talking to someone that I couldn’t see and turned to us and said he was going to keep the necklace and the box. Even though I don’t worship Sarenhay, I left a silver coin at the altar. We just found a LOT of coins so I could do that easily enough.
Once that was done we all made our way out of Underbridge and split off to go home. I was probably going to get a whipping from mom for being so late.
Many years have passed and I have continued to grow. I now stand a few fists shorter than my dad and I can look my mother in the eyes. I even have a pretty good beard now as well. Felu said that I looked like a man now and some of the others have tried to grow one but apparently Ulfen don’t have any trouble doing so. I wonder a lot about the lands my parents are from. I find myself wanting to ask my father if I could go with him on one of his trips, but mother wants me here. I have a little sister now as well. She is about eight years old and looks just like mom. I gave her my old goblin killing wooden sword and she runs around the house with it swinging wildly. She has even managed to break a few pots in the house. Mom though doesn’t scold her like she did me. In fact, I even get in some trouble when it happens and have to help clean it up.
I still hang out with the same kids I always have. Although I don’t see much of Epher, Edwin, Arryn and Bags. The girls though still hang out with us. I now understand why Sam and Kelyn liked Felu and Nina so much. I have “learned” to appreciate the other sex. But I have never been interested in Felu or Nina in that way, they are to much like adopted sisters, and thinking of them in any other way is creepy. In the end its okay, they have lots of other pretty girl friends I get to meet and I enjoy looking at them in that way.
Nina and Felu’s families hold a lot of parties and we are always invited. I clean up as best I can and go, although in the end its just our gang hanging out in the back. I’m still bigger than any of the others although Lugh is pretty damn big as well. He is more broad where I am taller. Macer is also pretty big but unfortunately Vex hasn’t grown much. I’ve heard dragons live a really long time, so I guess its going to take a really long time for him to grow. Oona has grown into a beautiful young woman but her family gives me the creeps, and Oona has also gotten to be pretty strong. Atz has grown as well, but he’s not much bigger than Vex. I occasionally see him talking to someone that isn’t there, but I know his grandfathers death all those years ago hit him hard. So if thats what he does to cope, I am cool with that. Kelyn is still Kelyn. Grown up and pretty damn sneaky and still hates his family.
I have gotten pretty good at cooking over the years. Mom has me making dinner more and more. Rabbit stew is one of my best. I have learned how to make a pretty good garlic gravy for it. Course if the potatoes are not in season the stew is a little lackluster on filling the belly. Bread can only go so far. I have even learned how to scrimshaw. Its become something I do with my mom on those rainy days instead of hanging out with my friends. She doesn’t do any scrimshawing, but she does a lot of knitting and she helps me with Ulfen patterns and such. Again I find myself thinking back on my homeland. I’m just going to have to get up the courage to ask my mother to let me go.
Birgun the Huge
Sam and I met Epher and 'Bags' down by the Golem workshop, and Epher wouldn't say where he was planning for us to go until the rest of the gang showed up. It took a while but everyone showed up except Atz and Oona. Guess they were grounded or had to many things to do. That's when Epher said his plan was to check out one of the large stone towers holding up the big bridge in town. More specifically the haunted one known as the gecko, whatever that is.
My eyes shot wide at that suggestion. I even saw a small smirk from Bags at my fear of going there. Even Sam didn't think going there was a smart idea. Of course it didn't help when Sam said he had heard of giant spiders things that were rumored to be in the upper parts of the bridge. But as it tends to happen, you get enough of us together and we throw caution to the wind. So we made our way to the top of the bridge.
Once we reached the top we were stopped by one of the guards who questioned why were there and it turns out he knew Macer. He let us go and gave us the "look" that adults do right after telling us to stay out of trouble. With this group, I'm always in trouble, we just never get caught.
Moving over to the edge of the bridge the water below was really, really far away. The boats and ships in the harbor looked really small. Finding a rock I dropped it off the side and quickly lost sight of it before it ever reached the water. Sure would be cool to fly. That's when I noticed that the other had found a way in. Epher had been talking with Bags and then pointed to where we needed to go and within a few moments Kelyn and Nina had found a way down to a small window that led inside.
Looking over the edge there was a small ledge that led down to a many sided window. Both Kelyn and Nina found a statue inside that they could crawl down once inside. By the time I had gotten there to go down, they had found some rope and tied it off outside on the ledge so we could climb out. Whatever this gecko is, it looks like a gigantic lizard. I can only hope the statue isn't as big as the real thing. Something that big would eat Vex.
The rest of the gang had found a backpack inside that looked really old and that's where they had found the rope. There was also some torches which was good since it was pretty dark inside the room. Finding some flint and steel I tried to light the torches but no amount of rubbing them together would light the torches. In a moment of frustration I slammed them together and got a big ole spark. Once I figured out how it worked I was able to light the torches so we could see. Unfortunately, I finally got to see what was in the the bag they had also found. Inside was some rotten food and Vex was eating it all up. It almost made me vomit. I bet he is going to fart really bad later. Too bad for Macer.
Using one of the torches I made my way to the only door in the room and found that it led into someones house. Well, there was a bed, table and chair. The table had some candles on it so we lit one just to have some more light. Sam and Keyln grabbed the other two candles and we looked about the room. There was only one other door in this room and it led into a huge circular room with a really high ceiling. There was other doors in here as well and stairs leading down. There was even a trapdoor high up in the ceiling but I had no idea of how to get up there. Thats when I again noticed Bags and Epher talking. Epher seemed to be taking directions from Bags. Epher had noticed the trapdoor as well and when he looked to Bags he shook his head.
So I began to wonder if Bags was running the show instead of Epher. So I asked Bags what in the nine hells was going on. He looked surprised at my forceful question. So I let the green skin know that if he was not on the up and up I was going to punch him in the nose. He seemed to shrink at that threat. It was then that I heard some of the other laughing as they tried to spit down the stairs shaft and suck it back up. So I had to show them all up. Lugh was laughing so hard he almost peed his pants.
After we all had a good laugh we checked the other doors and found them all to be locked. The doors all had a locking bar on the inside, so whoever closed them are still in there. I hope they're dead by now. We moved down the stairs until we got to the next floor and found that the room was shaped just like the floor above. The first two doors we checked were locked, the next one though was unlocked and looked to be set up like the room upstairs except there was food in this one and still good. Couple of the guys started eating some of the hard bread they found but I decided against it. This room had a couple of doors in them with the slide bars so I opened one up and saw the biggest damn spider I had ever seen! With a yell and an immediate apology to my absent mother for cursing, I slammed the door shut and did everything I could to hold it closed before the inevitable rush of the creature bull rushing the door open and sending me flying across the room.
The others looked at me in alarm and with questioning eyes, but I still stood there frozen in terror at what I had just seen. It was about then that I realized that the creature hadn't tried to slam open the door and make its escape. So when the others gathered up and asked what was going on I told them, "big damn spider." Again I apologized to my absent mother for cursing and Sam said, "See! I told you guys there was spiders here, they're called skeezix or something." We stood there as a group, me holding back a non-existent monster from trying to get out and the others wanting to see. Once again, throwing caution to the wind, I reopened the door, but slowly and with my torch ready to bash it in.
Sure enough, it was a really big looking spider but it didn't look like the ones that crawl around the garden and occasionally get in the house. This one was just a foot or so shorter than me but easily three times my weight. And it didn't have a normal looking spider head, but something . . . more intelligent looking. Thankfully it was dead. I could tell that easily enough because of the large burned hole in its forehead. We heard a couple of ew's from the girls but the curiosity of it drew them in, the rest of us moved in to poke and prod it. The corpse was old and dried out. Mostly crumbling to dust where we touched. The chitinous parts though were still good so I snapped a long tooth off from its mouth. Must have been almost a foot long. Now I had proof that I had been in the gecko, and once I had done that the others did the same, each grabbing some piece of the dead skeezix to claim as a prize.
Moving back out into the other room we wondered aloud if we should keep going or leave and we thought to look in a few more rooms first. At the next door though I heard something as Kelyn was reaching up to the locking bar. It sounded like a heavy skitter. I reached up to stop him and said, "Don't. I think there is one of those skeezix alive in there." That's when whatever it was on the other side of the door spoke some weird language. Parts of it sounded familiar, parts of it sounded Varisian, but in the end it sounded . . . wrong. So we stepped away from the door.
Suddenly we heard a very heavy slam of a door from down below. Followed closely behind hit was the footsteps of something big. I remember seeing the golem parades and the heavy footfalls of the largest metal golems sounded just like what I was hearing, and the footsteps were getting closer. I also faintly heard the slamming of a door from up above us as well. "Run!" I screamed at the others and made my way to the stairs up. Turning I tried to get them to go past before heading up and thankfully none of them refused and we all ran as fast as we could back upstairs to the room with the statue.
Being one of the tallest kids I helped the others as they started the climb up and out. The statue was four feet above the floor and thankfully the others had secured the rope for us to get out with. Once we were all out I saw that Macer was staying on the statue, straining to see what was coming. "Its not a smart idea to wait Macer, you need to run!" So he did, again. As I made it out I grabbed up the rope and pulled it up in case the thing following us up the stairs got the idea of using the rope to reach us. With that done, I collapsed on the bridge along with everyone else. My hands were shaking something fierce but then it stopped and we all began laughing at what had happened. We were heroes! We went into the haunted piling and lived.
From there we went down to the markets for some flavored frozen cream created by some AWESOME wizard I assume. We laughed and talked about who was the most scared, who ran the fastest and what we all thought the creature was. My copper is still on a golem. One of those big metal ones. I also heard the guys talking about having seen a goblin running out just before the first of us made it to the window. I don't really know anything about that as I didn't see it, but who knows, there are rumors of them down in Underbridge as well.
As we talked a man saw us all comparing our spider parts and asked where we got them from just as I was telling the others that I bet a wizard would pay a hundred gold for my skeezix fang for some nasty spell. Kelyn immediately said that we had bought them from a store and for a couple of silver he would lead the man there. He agreed so we all went to this odd shop that Kelyn says his parents go to all the time, of course he wouldn't go inside. Even after we found out that the shop keeper would pay us more than twenty gold for each piece we had. A lot of us sold their parts, and I admit I thought about it for a while but I was rather proud that I had found it and wanted to keep the fang to remind me of the adventure. Who knows maybe I'll even carve some Ulfen decorations in it.
By then it was late and I was going to have to run all the way home for lunch. We decided to head to the big bell tower that afternoon. Nina wanted to check it out and that meant that Kelyn was in. Don't know why he is so interested in her, she has coodees. All girls do. Well . . . maybe not Nina and Felu since they are pretty cool and all but still . . . ew.
After finishing my chores I ran back down intending to meet them at the tower when I found most of them waiting by the bottom of the ramp from the upper part of Magnimar. Just as we started heading out we heard Oona yelling for us to "wait up!" She arrived late and ran up to us. We could see some guys who were following her probably to snatch her but they left when they saw all of us. Epher and Bags didn't make come but that's probably because they are scared. They bet I wouldn't run into the tower the last time and I called them on it. Easiest two copper I have ever made. Although I was scared, I just didn't let them know I was.
Along the way Lugh asked if we could stop off at an old abandoned temple. He said his mom worshiped this god and she is from the far south, past the great sea. He told us about how the original priests had been killed and the temple sat empty, but there was this light that always shined out of the roof. Sounded pretty cool to me so we went. Inside it looked like someone was keeping the place cleaned up. Well, as best they could, it was Underbridge after all. We didn't find anything special although there was a really bright light shining from the altar. Lugh said something softly and left a few coins in offering. My family worships Desna and although I have gone to temple with them a few times I wasn't a very good worshiper. I didn't leave any money for this Sarenhay person, but I don't think the god minded us being there.
We left and eventually made our way to the tower. Nina was positively giddy with excitement. This has been the best day ever.
Backstory from the player that brought you Sheldor the Snow Elf
I used to have a grandfather who lived with us, he was my father’s dad, Gramps was a lot of fun and we spent hours together fishing at the pier and him spinning yarns about of our kin and some of the significant acts of bravery and accomplishments they are credited with way back in the day. Sadly he passed away last year in the spring.
It wasn’t too long after we buried Gramps that one day while I was visiting his grave, I was attacked and thrown into a box and placed in a freshly dug grave by some evil, I am guessing Underbridge ruffians and left for dead. Being as small as I am, they easily bested me. I was bound by my hands and in total darkness. Terror came over me as I knew, no one would find me and I would surely die. It was when I called out to Gramps in my state of panic that something happened. It was like he was there with me, comforting me, calming me down. We talked like we used to and I was soon at peace in my situation because he was with me. Suddenly he was gone, the grave diggers had come back to finish the hole that they had started and freed me from my tomb. It had been what seemed like hours. I ran home and never told my parents what had happened. It was my and Gramps’ secret.
I am somehow different now, I have changed and I can’t really describe it. Since that life altering day, I always have with me a short but stout staff for vicious dogs and other vermin. I have become quite handy with it too. I am ready for any other ruffians and Gramps is too. He told me so.