Sunday, 30 October 2011

WFRP Log: Session I Expose

We actually managed to get a great deal more done in that first (well, technically second since I joined a week late) session of the WFRP campaign which I've recently been posting about. However, the morning after Geheimsnacht seems the natural place to stop for the first promised interlude. Needless to say, certain things will happen in Seigfried's career that he will not be too keen to trumpet for all to see on the pages of a broadsheet. Any such omissions from the "true and honest account", will be revealed in summary's such as this.

So, without further ado here follows the truth behind the eminent scribblings of the scribe Gospard of Nuln thus far.

33rd of Fore-Mystery (The Dwarven Night of Saga's)

A few hours before sunset, Siegfried “von” Schwimmer (as he likes to call himself) is driven off the road by a passing coach and into a ditch where a fellow traveller manages to simultaneously break Siegfried's fall and break Siegfried's favourite (and only) bow. Bertholdt, a rather weedy looking scribe who actually minces as he walks (don't you just love some of the random tables in WFRP character generation?) soon calms the irate young man with promises of a drink at a nearby coaching inn, the Prancing Cock.

The pair soon reach the inn to find it crowded with a variety of strange and unusual looking characters, including a small party of road wardens, a party of rough looking vagabonds (read: other adventurers - these guys will become important later) a noble's entourage (recently disembarked from a certain coach) and a single table occupied by an elf, a man and two dwarfs.

Bertholdt does make a joke and yes, Siegfried does punch him (albiet gently) for his troubles.

Strangely, though such an odd assembly would normally be given a wide berth and sullen looks by all present (being superstitious peasants and surly nobles) they are sat in pride-of-place at the largest table closest to the fire. It seems not even the noblewomen and their escorts have been able to shift them. But given how deep into their cups the two dwarfs are, and how often the locals seem to toast the strange party, perhaps that is not altogether unsurprising.

As the two travelers enter the taproom, the dwarfs appear to be taking turns to sing alternate verses about ancient dwarf heroes, while the other takes the opportunity for a long swig of ale. The human at the table, seemingly another road-warden by the device of Stirland he wears on an armband, taps his foot in time while the elf woman – who appears slight and rather, well, boyish, even for an elf- peers prissily over her spectacles at a large leather bound book.

As the dwarfs seem to be having a rare old time and, given there is not another seat to found anywhere in the taproom, the two young men head over to join this strange group of travelers.

The Road-warden, Dieter (whose players only made the first few sessions due to the publication of his first book and subsequent book tours) quickly brings the two travelers up to speed on the groups recent exploits. He also introduces Siegfried and Bertholdt (soon christened Siggy and Berty by the dwarfs, who don't seem entirely oblivious to the fact that Siggy is, in fact, a girls name) to the rest of his unusual company.

The discussion quickly turns to future travel plans. Happily, all five are travelling south for various reasons and they decide that river travel is a far better option given the unpleasant weather. Alas, the regular boat from the south (which turns round and heads back the way it came at the inn) is already running late. The cash strapped company decide they could save a few pennies off the fare if they happened to rescue the boat from whatever was the cause of the delay and agree to head south on the morrow. Though by this time Mordrin is a little too drunk to actually follow the conversation, let alone agree to anything, so Grundi accepts the plan on his fellow dwarf's behalf.

Before going to bed, Siegfried spends some time getting to know a few of the Vagabonds (adventurers) and Road Wardens, trying to learn a little more about the lay of the land, despite Dieters assurances that he knows the road well. He finds himself forming a very quick bond with another street-wise young traveler in the vagabond party, a somewhat slight and soft-featured fellow named Baur. The stranger is a rather pretty youth, and the handsome young Siegfried suddenly calls the conversation short when he begins to realize that, not only is the youth flirting with him, but he himself seems to be (rather unconsciously) flirting back. Siegfried gets very little sleep that night, being somewhat horrified at himself. Needless to say this part of the tale never makes it into Gospard's papers.

Travelling south through the forest and along the river Stir they next morning, they pass an old ruined, tollbooth which, fearing ghosts, they hurry past. They soon encounter a bedraggled group of monk returning to their priory following the recent march of Sylvania's undead armies through the Province. Many bear wounds which they ascribe to having fought off a group of bandits. Much to the fury of the characters however, they soon find that the so-called bandits were a column of women and children -the real refugee column. Siegfried and Mordrin are all set for tearing off after the real bandits immediately, but the others realise there will be plenty of time to catch up with the rogues. After all, their wagons wont be moving quickly in the muddy roads and heavy downpour. So they set to burying the dead while Siegfried searches around for a new bow and a few arrows to fill his empty quiver.

Bertholdt comes across an elderly frau clutching a piece of blue ribbon and a sealed parchment, already somewhat damp due to the rain. Grundi (the only character with the heal skill, Sigmar save us) does his best to heal the women but only serves to make her condition worse.

(Grundi only has an eighteen percent chance of passing a heal test. Ulric save us. His medical bumbling quickly becomes a running joke throughout the campaign as he consistently manages to reopen healing wounds with his ham-fingers and stuff his dirty fingernails where they shouldn't go).

In true heroic fashion, with her dying breath (or rather breaths. She actually rambles on for quite a bit given the fact Grundi has just killed her with a 00 on his heal check) the frau tells of her young charge, taken by the bandits, a noblemans bastard girl-child by the name of Bianca and begs the group to rescue her.

For reasons that will become apparent later (remember that “von” Siegfried is constantly bandying about) Siegfried in particular is touched by this girls plight, especially considering that, as the Graf's only surviving child, she has been recognised as his daughter and is proclaimed heir. An elevation to which the Fraul's piece of parchment attests (once Bertholdt finally reads it about three sessions later,  that is). "Siggy" is already striding back up the path in a frenzied, angry run before the Frau can gasp out that she recognised the “bandits” as mercenaries in the employ of the girl's uncle, who no doubt hopes to take the Graf's title for himself.

With no further discussion needed, the others quickly follow.

They reach the tollbooth just after nightfall and upon scouting, Siegfried finds it empty save for the corpses of the bandits and a few dead goblins. He kicks a few dead green-skins in despair and is all but inconsolable until Grundi finds a piece of blue ribbon impaled conveniantly on the bare twigs of a nearby tree.

Even Siegfried is not so rash as to pursue the young maiden into the depths of the forest on the Night of Mystery however, and so the party makes camp until morning. For the most part the night is uneventful, save for the creation of dwarf night-soil, yet the group is rudely awakened when a perplexingly happy Seigfired suddenly sits bolts upright in his blanket and shouts: "It was a GIRL!"

In fact,the whole Baur is really a man became a long running IC and OOC joke for years. John
was using the pre-gen PC's from the GM's Pack as NPC vagabonds and had completely failed to notice that "Herr" Baur had breasts. Despite this, he was playing Baur as being a little bit too interested in handsome young Siegfried and played "him" more like a seductive female- so maybe he had subconsciously picked up on the characters true gender after all. Because I made an off-hand comment about Baur "fancying" Siegfried John showed me the picture, whereupon I pointed out that "Herr" Baur had breasts. We all had a good laugh about John's oversight at the time, along with a lot of jokey references to the Blackadder episode when Lord Blackadder falls in love with a woman dressed as a man. We thought nothing of the incident after that - but John wasn't about to let an excellent opportunity such as that go to waste. Expect to find yourself reading a lot more about Baur later in these campaign reports. Although, by this point, only Seigfried has actually figured out IC that he is, in fact, a she. That's Baur's picture at the top of the article, by the way. See? Breasts!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Isle of the Earthshaker Session IV Part II

I've added the second part of Session IV's actual play report to the original session IV article, here, for the sake of keeping everything more organized. If you've already read the first part I urge you to revisit the page. If you haven't, well, why the hell not? Go look at it and then come back.




The campaign is coming along nicely. Some initial concerns I had about lack of space in the new place are unfounded. We were a little cramped, but we still managed to find space for ten players and one DM around the table. Given that our usual skype-attendee was present in person this session, that means I can still have up to eleven players per game. So far, only about fifteen of the 23 people who replied positively that they'd like to join the game have actually been able to attended. But that's more than fine. After all, the idea is that it's a drop-in game after all. Plenty room for all of us.

Next month, because some players have had trouble attending on the days we've been playing, I'm experimenting with Wednesday and Friday sessions every two weeks. Unfortunately, this means at least one of the current regulars is going to miss probably half of those sessions, but it also means that several other players who want to be a regulars will be able to attend at least half next months sessions as well. I'll continue to rotate the actual game nights as much as I can to accommodate as many players as possible, but I really do have to give preference to the players who turn up regularly. It's only fair after all.

Friday, 28 October 2011


Though stout dwarven Moradrin and my most angry Master did solemnly press upon the others the need for haste to come upon those scurrolous dogs who had most foully undertaken this dark and foul deed of theft and murder, t'was Deiter, Alane, Bertholdt and Grundi who prevailed with their council to first search the field for friend and foe.

Thus, when further searching the field of woe and verily preparing both graves and bodies for burial, did the young scribe Bertholdt of Stirland come across the dying form of an elderly Frau still clinging to life and a scrap of blue cloth. Letting out a mighty cry, Bertholdt caused the others to rush to his defence, yet seeing no swordplay was necessary, the brave Grundi, though possessing but little skill in the healing arts (as all his surviving campaigns can repeatedly attest), set to tending the Frau's wounds. Yet it was clear even to young and sheltered Bertholdt (being but eighteen and having led the sheltered life of a scribe) that little could be done.

The dying woman clutched tightly upon the arm of the young man, clawing deep wounds upon his flesh in her icily determined grip upon fading life. She did doth spoke unto him, placing upon the companions a mighty quest to save the life of a young girl, Bianca, the natural born daughter of Graf Von Radiditch in Helmsdorf. Grimly did Bertholdt clutch the a thin sealed parchment produced by the Frau and placed into the hands of the young scribe as the proud and honoured Frau – who had not even spoken her own name unto the heroes- breathed her last.

With young life now at at stake, Siegfried and Mordrin, now even more determined to abandon the efforts of burial in their haste, did press upon the others the need for swift departure. My Masters anger was, he tells me, of the most righteous sort and though in other circumstances a man of certain acquisitiveness and greed, in this dire regard he was driven by no thought's of reward, but bloody vengeance and gentle compassion (something most certainly hard to believe of my master, had not the wise and truthful Bertholdt declared it so. For verily doth he seem a fierce man, and not one given to pity or remorse for any creature, let alone a poor scribe with many hungry mouths in his home to whom he pays only a few coppers a bushel).

In the face of such reasoned and determined argument, the other four companions could not help but acqueas. Though by now light was fading under the dark eaves of the Forest, the six determined souls set off with great speed in the direction from whence they had came, all thoughts of seeking the lost boat driven from their minds by the urgency of this new plight.

Spurred on by swiftly building anger, the group deducted that the Bandit band they had encountered in the guise of innocent travellers would camp by the Tollbooth ruins. In this they were correct, for, although they came upon that sight well into that shadowy twilight period of dusk made most magical by the twinkling reflections of light playing upon shiny leaves and through voids in the woven tapestry of green branches, they could see clearly the many wagons gathered and collect by the foe. Yet Herr Schwimmer, my cunning and wise master and paying patron, was prickled about his neck hairs by the absence of fire and movement from the camp. Leaving the others a short distance away, armed and primed with pistol, crossbow and blunderbuss at the ready, he proceeded to scout the camp in a most brave and worthy manner.

But not at all a great deal of time had passed, perhaps as long as the time required for one of the aforementioned leaves from the topmost branches of the mighty forest to float to its gentle repast upon the earth, before the man of Middenheim, my patron and a true servant of Ulric did enjoinder upon the others to meet him within at the camp.

There their eyes befall a second grisly sight, yet not one which presented much grief, for seemingly all the bandits had been slain, with no trace of any tracks leading away from the camp to safety – save those of goblins and wolves. Pausing only to collect some weapons as might still be useful- and to kick a goblin body or two- the party did search excitedly for some trace of the girl. Though nothing could be found in camp during the dying of the light, it was Grundi who, traipsing morosely into the wounds to relieve himself of his burden of pickled ale pie from that wondrous and cheaply priced coaching inn, the Prancing Cockerel, did come upon a small scrap of blue dress left, quite deliberately it seemed, impaled upon a small yet barren branch ofunderbrush.

Joyfully did Grundi call out to his companions, who remarked that their quarry, or the little girl at least, for they were not so foolish as to think the goblins had left so deliberate a trail, was a canny and resourceful one indeed. Thus, their hopes brightened by the prospect of the continued chase, they were soon dashed by the final setting of the sun and the arrival of nightfall upon the forest.

Thus did my master find himself, on the Night of Mystery, that darkest and most dangerous of times when Daemons may walk the Empires holy earth unhindered, encamped in the darkest forest of the Old World, surrounded by enemies, encamped mere dwarf-throw's away from the scene of a massacre with it's ancient hungry ghosts now joined by the blood of a dozen deservingly murdered bandits.

It was a grim night, though one which, thanks the Gods, passed seemingly without incident, though the heroes were woken often by the howl of wolves and other (often unspeakable) things passing in the night, not the least of which being the hideous bowel movements of a dawrven coachman (which I can attest personally doth rent the air foully with both smell and noise of squishy moistness).

Next Edition:
Fire and Bloodshed. A Hero Falls. A Girl is Saved. Much Celebration and Rejoicing and drinking of ale for a Shilling and a Penny.


(with permission of the Protagonist)
(Sponsored by the Prancing Cockrel and Wolf Runner Coaches)

Yes, you`ve guessed it. This is a WFRP 2nd edition journal. Before you all gasp and recoil in shock and horror, please give it a good read first. I promise you might like it.

It`s not an ongoing campaign, but one of my old campaign journals I uncovered in my archives. Since I know your all a bunch of journal junkies like myself, I thought I`d share it with you. The majority of my notes consists of the journal as written by me, for me. Rather than post them "as is" I`ve decided to present them in the format of a "penny nasty", a cheap serialization as might be found on the Streets of any of the Old World's largest cities. A more traditional journal summary of each session will follow after the serialization of each session.

Please note that John, our DM, kept his own journal on his blog "Roll Dice and Kiss Ass." I`ve included some of his notes, comments, and thoughts, as a matter of interest.

Note that I havent been able to contact him to establish permission to use his material here. But since he posted these comments on his public blog himself, I cant see it becoming a problem. Even so, if parts of this journal are suddenly deleted, you`ll know why.

Game System: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Second Edition.
Time Span - Late 2005 - Early 2007.
Set shortly after the Storm of Chaos.

The Characters (in the words of the DM, as written up after our first few sessions):

Elven wizards apprentice. Witch-born under the Witchling Star and with the unusual background of having been brought up by a human Bright Wizard, a cold and distant old man who couldn't save Alane's mother from a hideous (and as yet undisclosed) fate. A bit nutso with the winds of magic already. Has the lowest fellowship rating in the party. Thinks and acts more like a prissy school marm than a classic elf "babe".

Puny mincing scribe (yes, he actually does mince) from yokel-land with an untranslated dwarven chapbook and a taste for avoiding injury. Tends to keep his mouth shut, except to tell the other characters how stupid they are. Still gets dragged into far too many of Seigfried's escapades for his own comfort.

Imperial Dwarven runerunner with a shady family, a taste for the pipe, and a much cooler temperament than he first gave reason to expect. Younger than Grundi but more reasoned in his actions. Likes to get drunk and chop thigs with his axe (not neccesarily in that order).

Aging dwarf coachman whose life changed forever the day he first smote with Ulric's Fury and clove a mutant near in two. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Also owns a blunderbuss. Nuts. Completly nuts. As in trollslayer nuts. If he was human, he`d be a flagellant. Leading candidate for the frothing mad orange-hair-and-blue-tatoo brigade.

Siegfried (played by me - and one of the most entertaining, fun characters I ever had the priviledge of roleplaying):
Murdering lowlife theiving trash with pretentions to the petty nobility. Has a heart of gold though, big girl's blouse that he is. Born under the sign of The 'Greased Goat'. Cold, ruthless, calculating... and rather too rash for his own good. Tries to be a hard-nosed scum-bag, but has cuddly soft-spot for the weak and downtrodden.

Part the First:

Our tale begins late in the last year of the Storm of Chaos, that terrible period when cities were laid ruin and poor scribes (and even poorer) humble scholars such as I were forced to rummage in the dirt for scraps of parchment and candle stubs with which to pursue their noble endeavour.

Our hero, Seigfried, being a man of good taste and character, and by no means a man desperately fleeing a likely lynching at the hands of an angered husband or pilfered priest, was driven off a roadway in darkest Stirland by the poor and overly-enthusiastic driving of a scurrulous coachman. Who, I have no doubt, worked for those poor and slovenly Altdrof coaching lines, who have so often overcharged me, and not the Wolf Runner coaches whom my patron, the aforementioned good Herr Seigfried, is overly quick and rightfully loud to praise.

There, into the mean ditch, he fell upon the meaner form of a fellow bedraggled traveller. This gentleman, Berthold by name, had taken to alight within said ditch to take shelter from the rain under the broad canopic leaves of the trees therein. It was from this young and worthy scribe that my patron learned of the happy proximity of the Prancing Cockrel coaching inn. A happiness leavened only by the sad knowledge that his favourite bow had been rather ill-treated by the fall and could now serve him best as mere kindling.

Adroitly our determined duo departed the unfortunate dirty ditch in whence they lay and proceeded through the driving rain to the welcome shelter of the inn (where good ale can still be had for but a penny and a shilling).

Therin, within that merry edifice did our two weary chief protagonists find their rest – and also those who would soon join their fine company, bringing it into repute all the more remarkable. For within, the two young men found, seated at the same table, a man, an elf and two dwarves. This, spoke Berthold airily, would make the beginnings of a fine joke. My master, perhaps bedraggled from the rain and the fall, said nothing, but gave gentle Berthold good cause to believe the joke was not to his temper.

With nary another seat in sight, the two youths, heroes bold, took seat beside the strange company and there learned of the strange feats of Dieter, road-warden, Alana the elf maiden (not-so) fair and the stout dwarven folk, Mordrin and Grundi. Already this strange quadrilogy had experienced a fair venture of their own, having saved that very day an innocent man from hanging by the neck until he be veriliy, nay, irretrievably dead. Dead. DEAD!

(Cals note: Me and Berty joined the campaign at the beginning of session 2 after the other characters had all met and foiled a foul plot to hang an innocent man)

And so gentle readers, we have the meeting of our fine warriors in a place of safety and rest and ale and much drinking and merriment did ensue. And, of highest import, the consumption of much, fine ale and wine (for but a shilling and a penny). It seemed this mighty foursome were awaiting the arrival of a river boat, already some days late, with which to carry them to to their destination. Conscious of the driving, nay, never ending rain and the high and unreasonable cost of Altdorf lines coaches, the two young men resolved also to travel via this wondrous floating lump of wood and resolved to set forth southwards themselves (with these four fine others) on the morrow in the hope that travel upon this boat could be procured at a price much more reasonable in return for succour against whatever trials upon the river had delayed its precipitous arrival.

All that is, save for the good dwarf Moradrin, a coachman himself (late of Altdorf lines) but who had sampled one ale at a shilling and a penny too many a day or to before and had perforce to be left behind by his more temperate colleague due to the foul runny-ness of his vitals. Alas, this worthy would again demonstrate his fondness for ale by roaring out dwarven drinking songs at the top of his (not very tall) lungs, leaving it up to his kinsman dwarf, the rather older Grundi, to proclaim his agreement also.

Morning dawned, on the most impropiatus day of Geheimsnacht, when evil and seductive creatures scantily clad in only the shearest silks and leathers prey upon those weak in soul and devotion to Sigmar, bringing them to dark places in the world where they are forced to undertake and participate in unwholesome and pleasurable rites for the dark and distasteful pleasures of their insane half-human captors!

But alas, this lurid, sensual fate did not befall our brave and fateful band (for I would have sold more copies of this broadsheet had it did). Instead, a darker fate awaited them. One which would summon our heroes to the heights of...the heights of heroism?

The merry band set forth from the Prancing Cockrel that very morn, light-hearted. For surely had the rain lessoned somewhat in the face of these mighty warriors, for no rain should fall upon so dedicated and masterful a band, even one led by a man who could do with paying his faithful scribe more than a few coppers a bushel!

They stopped to partake of a fine repast around noon of that fateful day, before carrying on swiftly southwards, mystified that they had not yet come upon the boat heading north to meet them. Sped on by the sound of hungry wolves, the party came upon a ruined watchouse, more a tollbooth my master tells me, where they did not linger despite the fine shelter it would provide. For such ruins are to be avoided, all wise men know, and the hour was still to early for camping.

Shortly thereafter, they came upon a strange procession, a band of wounded monks who had been beset by bandits upon the road and who carried their wounded in covered wagons. These did attest that they had crushed said bandits utterly, and that the travellers need be watchful only for a few wounded remnants of that foul band. Thinking nothing of it, save to loosen swords and axes in their sheathes, the brave band continued southward.

Yet no more or less than a single hour had past (or so my patron tells me) when they did come upon the sight of this “battle,” though massacre it may have been termed in truth. For no bandits had been slain here, only good men and women lay fallen about the trail – and of their wagons, there was no sign.

Though not (or so he tells me) a vengeful man, it seems my patron took great umbrage upon witnessing this sight and wished to set off in immediate pursuit of said brigands. No stranger to violence or even theft he, even at this youthful age of a mere nineteen summers. Yet it seems that for brigands he harboured an especial hatred, having seen many good folk come to ruin at the hands of such folk during the long war against Chaos.

Pausing only to loot, er, I mean search, the bodies that he might acquire a replacement for his tragically shorn bow, my patron and his ilk set off determinedly northwards at a gentle lope (or at least, the taller folk did. Those shorter did needs verily sprint indeed to match the pace set by my good master). More on this to follow.

Now while this humble scribe was informed by no less a personage than the esteemed Berthold himself that his poor master did indeed “chuck up his lunch” at the woeful sight of this wretched caravan so recently left behind in our narrative, I can now reveal the truth (as my master tells it). It seems that the good Herr Schimmer had stuck within his craw a morsel of meat, which chose at the point of coming across said massacre to work itself loose and cause him to appear to gag in disgust at this terrible display of wanton butchery before him. Once again I, Gospard of Nuln, am first to bring the truth of such things to the ears of the discerning public.

More terrible tale of terrifying travels on the back sheet. 

Monday, 24 October 2011

"A She-Prince?": Sessions III and IV of the Earthshaker Campaign

Due to the stresses and strains of moving house and the resultant loss of broadband, session III of the campaign did not receive a proper write-up. So, here's a brief re-cap of events before we continue with session IV:

Session III: Brief Summary
  • Aware that leaving the first floor of the temple (that's the second floor for our American readers) unexplored while a marauding band of trogs was rampaging outside would be a baaad idea decided to clear out and explore the second floor.
  • At several times during their explorations, the party became aware of intruders trying to climb into the buildings first floor from the outside. Yet they never encountered them, despite locating the vine ropes they were using to get in during a quick patrol outside the Temple.
  • The party realized there was something odd about the door to the room the vines led into. Despite the rest of the first floor area being lavishly decorated, this one room had a door of solid bronze. Deducing there might be something dangerous inside, Ki Oman climbed out onto the roof, down through a hole into the roof-space, and cut himself a peep hole. At which point he lost an eye when the ooze creature dwelling inside the room stuck a tendril up through the hole. Wisely, Ki retreated and the party decided to leave this room well alone.
  • While searching quarters belonging to various senior priestesses the party found a number of useful items, not the least of which being a set of sculptors tools, a jewelers anvil (and other tools) and some magical weapons and armor that were quickly divided up between the various fighters. 
  • More mysteriously, in the last room they searched they came across the still warm corpse of a beautiful, scantily clad female warrior peppered with several darts. Going by the agonized look on her face, this woman had been the source of the blood curdling scream they'd heard only a few minutes before. They arrived in time to cut \ rope attached to a grappling hook imbedded in some furniture and heard an annoyed hissing from below. By the time the party reached the window, the trogs had fled under cover of their chameleon racial abilities. Ki Oman took a strange amulet of a female archer that the woman wore about her neck while various other party members helped themselves to her grapple hook and other gear.
Session IV:

The Party (active characters):

Ailil Shadowdancer Elf Male Assassin/Illusionist 1/1.  Played by Ridh
Andros Human (Mycenean) Female Fighter 1. Played by Aimee
Boagris Human (Mycenean) Male Fighter 1. Played by Silv
Euthalia Human (Mycenean) Female Cleric (and Priestess) of Haestia 1. Played by Caroline
Glykeria Human (Mycenean) Female Illusionist 1 and Priestess (non-clerical) of Miranda. Played by Elle
Ki Oman Human (Zaman) Male "Bard" (assassin) 1. Played by Ali
Thanatos Human (Mycenean) Male Assassin 1. Played by Fiona
Thera Human Female (Mycenean) Paladin of Meerax 1. Played by Niall
Thot Half-Elf (Mycenean) Male Magic User/Cleric of Miranda 1/1. Played by Rob.
Xenos Human (Mycenean) Male Fighter1/Magic-User 1. Played by Leoni

Not-Active (players not present/characters guarding temple)

Alexis Human (Mycenean) Male Fighter 1. Played by Larrraitz
Kallisto Human (Mycenean) Female Fighter 1. Played by Jackie
Peliakos Human (Mycenean) Male Fighter 1. Played by Coakley
Sparious Human (Mycenan) Male Fighter 1. Spare character for fatalities.

 Following the final clearance of the temple, the party spent the next two days engaged in various activities. Guarded by the non-active characters, Xenos and Ki Oman set about collecting enough fish to feed the rest of the party. Thot and Euthalia managed to heal all the wounds sustained during the explorations by the next morning, and so Euthali was free to take care of the laundry, cooking etc while Thot set about turning beetle bits into a breastplate and a pair of rudimentary scimitars. Boagris and Thera set about improving the defenses by beginning work on a ditch while Thanatos constructed and placed four more spear traps around the temple grounds. Glykeria and Shadowdancer, meanwhile, were busily swopping spells despite the racket raised by the blacksmith, Andros, busily recasting a few bronze pots to make new shields.

Throughout the two days of relatively peace, not a troglodyte was to be seen (or smelled). The castaways, including the many still recovering from wounds (including the ship's captain) were understandably beginning to think the scalies had given up. Until the morning of the third day:

Loudly rattling his drift-wood club inside a copper cooking pot, Sparious, the castaway on guard at dawn, rocketed into the main temple area screaming "Alarm! Alarm!". While the various Fighter and Paladin types in the party grabbed their weapons and rushed to the doors, the more cerebral characters took the time to find out what all the fuss was about. Thus, the whole party learned at about the same time (some using their eyes, some using their ears to listen to Sparious's frentic explanation) that three Troglodytes were standing outside the main gates.

Of the three, two were unarmed and these, their tails twitching nervously behind them, supported a third troglodyte, clutching a staff, between them. The two flanking trogs were young and clearly strong, with bone necklaces and feather adornments hanging from leather throngs. The third was much older: many of it's scales were missing, show grey, patchy flesh beneath and it's eyes were covered by a filthy bandage of colored canvas.

The three Trogs merely stood there. eerily regarding the dozen or so humans and the lone elf stood at the Temple gates regarding them. After a brief discussion, Euthalia, Ki Oman and Shadowdancer were elected the party spokesmen. Cautiously, they advanced to within about ten paces of the three trogs (Shadowdancer having had the presence of mind to bring along three bowls of fish soup). Ki Oman tried to mime their peaceful intentions with a serious of hand gestures. Hand gestures that were copied exactly by the trogs as soon as the smallest trog had finished hissing in the oldest's ear-hole.

After a few comedic moments, the six negotiators sat down in the sandy soil. Moving slowly (whether from age or in a bid to prevent any alarm), the Elder took a small stone vial from a medicine pouch around it's neck and, dipping a claw into the vial, proceeded to pierce it's tongue with the claw in question. When it spoke, all three party-members heard a translation of it's odd, hissing tongue in their heads.

"We. The People. Come talk peace with bad-smelling ugly flesh-things that have no scales. Agree, Yes?"

Ki Oman reached out to take the proffered vial from the Elder and placed a drop of the strange red liquid on his tongue. While he agreed to talk peace, the three trogs simply looked on him in confusion until the smallest one whispered something in the Elder's ear. At this point, the Elder trog let out a deep sigh, muttered something that sounded vaguely disparaging and then hissed at the third lizard, who snatched the vial from Euthalia (who was preparing to try out a theory) with an angry hiss and passed it back to the old one.

Again, the old lizard repeated his small ritual and hissed: "Stupid flesh-things. No claws to pierce tongue with. Must cut tongue then use potion. See?"

Ki Oman took the vial back, used his dagger to overcome the small obstacle of lacking claws, and began to speak in grand, prosaic terms of the benefits of peace and the groups desire for a peaceful resolution to any problem. The three lizardmen seemed to follow his words for a bit, but then began looking somewhat confused after the first twenty words or so. While Ki Oman passed the vial back, he and Shadowdancer surmised that there must be a limit on how many words the potion could translate and decided to pay careful attention to how many words the lizardman used in his next statement.

"Yes. The People Need Place for Live. People Driven from Home. Came Here. You Get People's Home Back. No War."

From this, the three party members deduced that they could speak perhaps twenty words per exchange, and guessed there was (perhaps) enough potion left for two or three more such exchanges. They also deduced that the cryptic statement that the trogs were offering to leave the temple and it's inhabitants in peace if they would clear out what-ever threat had driven them from their home. This seemed to the negotiators to be a tall order. They estimated from the numbers of camp-fires seen and from the number of warriors they had encountered so far that the tribe could number as many as two hundred trogs (a figure the players came to all by themselves with no DM input. Or, as I would call it, a wild-assed guess). Ki Oman declared in turn that the group wanted peace but that they needed more information before agreeing to undertake this mission and asked what had driven the trogs out.

The old trog replied they had been driven from their cave by plant men.Wishing to conserve the remaining potion, the negotiators them tried to determine what was meant through pantomime and by drawing lines and shapes in the soil. It transpired that there was only one myconid involved (though the three negotiators were never able to establish how "plant men" boiled down to just one myconid. A humerous moment ensued when Ki Oman pantomimed the question "how big" and the Elder responded by getting one of his escorts to lie in the ground, wave his arms over his head, and leave a "sand-myconid" impression in the soil. After a further bit of pantomine, Ki Oman indicated he would remain behind while the other two party members returned to the rest of the group to discuss the matter. The trogs happily tucked into their soup and settled down to wait.

Back at the temple, the three main options that were eventually proposed by the party members were:
1: Help the Trogs re-take their caves in return for trade, weapons and food.
2: Kidnap the three trogs as hostages.
3: Kill the trogs.

Minerva (the NPC High Priestess/Mycenean Princess) proposed that, in keeping with Mycenean tradition, they should vote on such an important issue. To no-ones surprise, the first option won out almost unanimously, the slaver Xenos (who had proposed the second option) eventually electing to vote for the peace and only the ever-paranoid Shadowdancer (still insisting that anything that drove out 200 trogs would easily be a match for the party) voted for option 3. This process took a consierable period of time, however, By the time Shadowdancer and Euthalia returned to Ki Oman the trog elder had been shifting his old bones uncomfortably for some time. The larger of the two escorts had been waving his arms unhappily and hissing his impatience.

Using very nearly the last of the potion, Ki Oman spoke:
"Lasting Peace With All Tribes for Food. Weapons. Equipment. Clear Caves. You Send Warriors to Show Cave Next Sun. Otherwise. No Deal."

To their dismay, the elder lizardmen allowed himself a fit of hissing laughter before replying.
"We teach you Hunt. You Come in Big Canoe. Know Nothing. Like Baby. He, " pointing to the angry warrior "Take to Caves. No Other People."

The elder then took a second, larger dose of potion (before up-ending the vial to show it was empty) and continued to speak. "No Speak for Blue. Yellow. Orange. Green. Pink. Purple. People. Only Speak Brown people. If Deal Good Take Tooth. You Give Your Teeth, Make more Potion."

With hardly so much as a flinch, the blind elder reachex up and matter-of-factly snappx off a tooth, which he presensts to Ki Oman.

At this point laughter erupted around the table at the though of poor, handsome Ki Oman (who'd already lost an eye) having to give up some of his teeth for the greater good. Fortunately Ki Oman's player realized that it didn't have to be his teeth (how would the first potion have worked if it had to be his tooth, after all) and that the party had come across a number of human corpses in the Temple that could provide human teeth just as easily.

Ki Oman took the offered tooth without hesitation, and tried not to blanch too visibly when forty or so trog warriors "de-cloaked" in a rough circle around the negotiating him and his fellow negotiators.

The party spent the remainder of the day in preparation for the expedition, preparing food (either fish stew or, courtesy of Euthalia, flat-bread) preparing poison, cutting and twisting vines to make rope, scraping skins for parchment, cutting wood (for torches) and smearing spare cloth and canvas with fish oil (again to make torches).


 Next morning, the shipwrecked were once again woken by the riotous tumult of Sparious rushing through the halls banging his copper port and screaming "Alarm." On this occasion however, only a single trog stood outside, lazily leaning on one leg and a tail while awaiting the arrival of the smelly flesh-things he was instructed to guide.

As soon as the expedition was ready (conveniently, the characters of all the players who were able to attend this session) their guide began moving off -careful to keep upwind and at least ten feet away from all the PC's at all times, even hissing angrily at anyone (such as Shadowdancer and Ki Oman) who tried to close the gap.

Though the trip took the better part of twelve hours, through (at first) dense jungles and then (finally) a barren, volcanic area of sulfurous fumes and razor sharp obsidian rocks, the judgement of the Wilderness types in the party was that they had traveled only a few miles in that time. The party seemed to believe this was solely due to the nature of the terrain they were traversing.

Spoiler Alert: Actually, the terrain was responsible. At least in part. But it never hurts to keep the players feeling paranoid :D

During one of the infrequent rest-stops their guide permitted, it sunned itself lazily upon a relatively flat (but still murderously sharp) rock while several of the pieces gathered up shards of obsidian. Some, such as Thot and Glykeria, were somewhat enthused by the idea of making arrow and spear heads from the stone. At least, until someone (Thera, I believe) pointed out that none of the wreck survivors (to her knowledge) were nappers.

Finally, at the sun began to set behind them, the guide led them to a small, sulfurous pool of otherwise calm water. Whereupon the guide plonked himself down on a rock and nonchalantly waved them on, towards a small cave entrance partially hidden by a waterfall. Several irate party members had it in their heads that the guide was supposed to accompany them into the cave. A humerus scene ensued when several party members attempted to communicate this complicated idea to the bemused (and somewhat irritated) trog. Eventually giving up on the idea, Thera then attempted to communicate  the notion of the trog drawing a map through the medium of chalk (thoughtfully provided by Shadowdancer). The trog watched with some interest while Thera drew a series of lines and circles on a stone, before hissing and rubbing it's belly in a fit of humor. Moments later, the lizardman had seized the chalk and sketched a artists impression of a spider, perfect to the last detail, which he presented to Thera with a theatrical tail-flourish and loud hissing.

DM (OOC): Ta-dah! That's how you draw a spider. Mother-******

Eventually giving up (after Shadowdancer idly wondered if Troglodytes even understood the concept of a map- and incidentally hitting the nail right on the head) the party began testing the water with a variety of staffs and polearms before gingerly lowering themselves into the pool. Somewhat surprised by the absence of a tentacled monstrosity, scolding hot water, acid or some-sort of horrible aquatic giant spider, the party formed into three ranks - warriors in front- and descended into darkness.

(This being a Hellenistic setting almost everyone has spears or short-swords, so there's plenty room for three people to fight in line. Boagris however, realizes he'll only be able to employ his great club in the larger chambers).

The party followed the course of a stream leading downwards from the pool and easily overcame the obstacle presented by the first of two waterfalls. This small waterfall, which descended about thirty feet, had a thick carpet of fungus on one side which the players were able to use to descend safely. Shortly thereafter, they came across a second waterfall. One lacking a convenient fungal cargo net. However, the sharp-eyed party soon located a circular, stone hatch in one wall. Noticing the presence of a wedge shaped indentation, the party hit upon the idea it might be some sort of key. Fortunately, they had brought along several obsidian darts and javelins "captured" from trogs (mostly "captured" by various PC or NPC body-parts, it has to be said) and hit upon the idea of poking a sharp-end into the indentation. Thereafter, the hatch swings open to expose a spiraling chute heading down into even more darkness.

All to aware that he's the only stealthy party member whose eyes don't really need that much in the way of light to see by, Shadowdancer allows himself to be persuaded into descending the chute. He has no problem slowly inching (rather than sliding) his way down. And it's as well he does. Sticking his head out the bottom hatchway, he is just swift enough to react to two sudden pendulum movements in either side of his field of vision to duck back from a wriggling mass of fungoid tentacles suspended from a circular pod-like object attached to the wall above him on either side.

Reacting to the noise below (including Shadowdancer's shouted warning since, according to Shadowdancer, "being humans they likely have trouble with anything more complex than wiping their own back-sides or picking fleas off one-another. Let alone knowing they're being attacked") the party (with the inevitable exception of Thanatos) rush towards the lip of the waterfall, fighters in front, and peer down. Fortunately for the party, none of the front rank fighters slip or are jostled over the edge. Less fortunately for the party, it transpires that one of the pendulum things manages to attach a tentacle to Boagris' face during the upward part of it's pendulum movement. Alas, for the poor fungus, of all the party-members it has to attach it's sticky, fungal pseudopod to the face of, it has to choose the face of Boagris. Weighing easily three hundred pounds, plus armor, plus weapons (and there are a lot of weapons), gear and everything else, the fungus has no chance of budging the massive warrior. Boagris, meanwhile, roars in agony while the plants weight pulls at the flesh on his face and whacks it with his greatclub. Only to inflict relatively manner damage and have to watch (well, not really watch, there's a great big mass of fungal flesh stuck to his face, after all) his greatclub sink deeply into his attacker. And then stick. Remember that gluey ooze sticking it to your face? Seemingly not. Alas, poor dumb Boagris is too, well, dumb to make the connection (lowest int score in the party by far) and there after decides to punch the foe.

Yes, you heard me. Punch it. Fortunately, by this point he has several more tentacles attached to him and hasn't a hope in hell of hitting anything. Good roleplaying here by Silv though.

Niall OOC: Good god, I hope he doesn't try a grapple!

There follows an exciting combat where the characters who have the best chance of NOT cutting Boagris' head off while trying to free him attack one fungus-pod while the rest of the party concentrate on the threat posed by the second (except Thanatos, who is, er, guarding the rear again) and Shadowdancer (who is, erm, stuck in the chute. Honest). While Xenos blasts the second pod with her magic and Glykeria finds out (to her disgust) that hitting the damn thing with a flaming torch just gets the torch covered in sticky gloop and extinguishes the flame, Ki Oman manages to get a rope to stick to the second creature. Euthalia, Thot and (once she realizes she's not going to get that torch re-lit while it's covered in glue) Glykeria all eventually grab onto the rope. However, the weight is too much for the four of them to hold the fungal plant (imagine how Boagris feels with that same mass trying to rip his face off) and the fungal pod drags all of them off their feet. Except for Euthalia, who clings on for dear life and winds up desperately clinging to the rope while suspended above a thirty foot drop. The other three breathe a sigh of relief. And then a little something they overlooked hits them like a punch from Boagris - the whole party (with the exception of Shadowdancer, who untied himself to crawl down the chute) is roped together. Oops. Thot, Ki Oman, Glykeria, Xenos and even Thanatos (basically, everyone tied onto the rope ether just before or at any point after Euthalia) start sliding towards the edge.

Fortunately, Euthalia works up the courage to let go of the rope and is quickly hauled back over the waterfall by her previously sliding companions. Meanwhile, just as Andros delivers the final blow to the tentacles hugging Boagris's noggin (he's now been struck by several tentacles by this point), Xenos remembers he has a bolas! Biding his time until the two swinging fungal pendulums meet in their arc, he tosses her weapon and strikes true (Natural 20!). The bolas wraps itself around the two gluey monstrosities and binds them both together. They drop down to the limit of their flexible bodies and are thereafter suspended just above the cavern floor, hugging and (presumably) well-and-truly glued to one another. While Boagris rubs his face and moans about loosing his precious great club (not even bothering to thank Euthali for the healing) the others wonder where Shadowdancer is. Feeling mischievous, Ki Oman picks up a rock (picks up, remember, this will be important later) and hurls it down the chute. Shadowdancer doesn't even see it coming, but his howl of pain echoes up the chute to his chortling companions. A few moments later, the angry shidhe appears at the mouth of the chute.

"By the Ever-Queen, which of you damned monkeys kicked a stone at me."

Completely straight faced, Glykeria puts on her most innocent and earnest expression and states (with perfect comedic timing):

"Shadowdancer, I swear by my Goddess. No-one kicked a stone at you!"

(Que a moment of stunned silence at the table. Much laughter, spilling of drinks and throwing of Dorito's and carrot sticks ensue. Yes, we have carrot sticks. We're healthy gamers at my table. Now pass the double chocolate cheese-cake!).

Before descending any further (and all too aware that one slippery chute makes for a very tenuous line of retreat) the party leaves several ropes hanging over the edge of the waterfall before continuing onwards. Several passages lead off from the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and the party decide to scout each as far as the first room before making a decision on their direction of travel.

The north-east passage leads to a wide, tall chamber. However, the party cannot quite discern the room's true dimensions without entering. Why? Because the chamber is packed with many, many pod-like fungal growths. Man-sized in their dimensions, each pulsating pod is lined with semi-transparent veins transporting a gooish ichor from the ceiling to the pod itself. Worse, several such pods seems to have been split open down a vertical seam and display red, flesh-like tissue within.

"Er, we'll come back to this one later, I think"

The more eastern passage leads to a source of blue light. Approaching cautiously, they see the eerie light come from a pool in the centre of a stalactite and stalagmite ridden cavern. Keeping a careful eye out for moving wedge-shaped pieces of stone on the floor and ceiling ( I mean, would I put piercers or ropers here? Would I?) they peek into the chamber from the passageway and note the presence of a blueish liquid dripping down from the ceiling.

Perplexed, they leave to scout the western corridor, which arcs southwards. As they travel, they pass a very humid crack in the passage-way wall. Intrigued, several party members call upon Shadowdancer to squirm down it. He's understandably not impressed - especially after what happened last time. At least until someone points out that the last time Shadowdancer went scouting it was the party who ended up being the targets and not him! Still not entirely convinced, he squirms down the thin tunnel -and recoils in horror at the sight of yet more tentacles flashing towards him through the gloom!

[We ended it there for the evening. I wanted a change of atmosphere this session. The module I'm running has a B-Movie feel to it so I deliberately went for a more relaxed gaming style after the  tension of the first three sessions. Although there were farcical moments, they all furthered the story (rather than detracting from it or wrecking that all important wall). I hope. A very role-play intensive, combat-lite session. I had great fun with it -and I hope you readers did too.]

OOC chat of the Week:

Rhidh: "Scared of us? Yeah, sure they are. They've got Predator-style camo and there's forty of em. I'm sure they're scared of us!'

Rhidh: "Of course he's a bastard (talking about Shadow-dancer)! He's a Shidhe Prince!"
Leoni: "Did you just say he's a she-prince?"
Rhidh: "No! No! A shidhe prince. S.H.I.D.H.E. Shidhe. You know, shidhe. Like a fairy!"
(Sudden pause as Rhidh realizes what he's just said. And why the whole table just erupted in laughter).

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

IT LIVES!!!!!!

My broadband works! Thank the dice gods! Regular service will resume as soon as I recover from the celebratory hang-over I intend to suffer from very shortly!