Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Okay, maybe three things-- the third being rules, especially vis-a-vis character creation. At the moment I'm leaning towards allowing only the PHB and PHB II races and classes, but I'm open to discussion on this point. And let me know what you guys think about methods of character creation. Also, discuss what races and or classes you'd like to play, so we can plan to get a good party composition. I'll read the adventure and see if there is any certain party composition we need and get back to you.
(Of course, it goes without saying that the most important thing we need to figure out is when-- and where).
Monday, December 10, 2007
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced this week that Dungeons & Dragons, a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., is the 2008 Corporate Sponsor for Teen Tech Week, taking place March 2-8. Registration information, resources, products and more can be found at the Teen Tech Week Web site, www.ala.org/teentechweek.
A worldwide pop culture phenomenon for more than 30 years, Dungeons & Dragons is a game played with books, paper, pencils and now your computer. . . .
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
"Is that where you met Mommy," one of them asked.
"No, son," Lummox grinned. "I met her a little bit later."
As he spun the tale of the defeat of Tharizdun, his mind wandered back to the times and travels that came after that great victory:
He and his band had become heroes, but not very many in this land knew of their struggle, and that was all to the better. The life of a ranger should not be complicated by fame. Unfortunately, he knew that the bard would make sure at least some knew the name of Lummox Fairheart, but what else can you expect from a bard. Lummox grinned at the thought of his musical friend and at the memory of his other friends. He wondered if he would ever see them again. He hoped he would.
It had been three days of travel since Verbobonc and so far it was a pretty uneventful trip. It seemed that even the wild creatures who lived in this area were calming after Tharizdun's defeat and he was not bothered by them while camping at night. The most excitement he had seen at all was the young rogue who had shared his fire last night. He was young and unfortunately, foolish. He was worse at picking pockets than Leelu. He had waited for Lummox to settle down for the night and took the first watch. The problem was, he didn't actually make sure the dwarf was sleeping before he tried to pilfer his packs. It wasn't much of a struggle and the knots held for the night. Unfortunately, the poor, thieving thing didn't get much sleep. Lummox released him in the morning and watched him as he disappeared down the road before packing up and taking flight again. But even that wasn't enough to get the dwarf's blood pumping again.
As he flew on, he wished for a real fight. Something he could let loose on. It was another day before he got his wish.
Flying low over a small wooded area, letting Fluffy hunt freely for something to eat, there was a loud scream of pain and rage. Lummox tugged at the reins and pulled the griffin towards the sound. As he neared a small break in the trees, he saw a form burst from the trees and run into the center of the clearing. It was a warrior decked in full armor, heaving a great sword, and wearing a face mask molded into a snarling face, filled with rage. The warrior was short, probably a dwarf as well. Lummox landed the griffin nearby and the warrior turned ready to fight. Lummox dismounted and drew his axe. It gleamed in the sunlight and seemed to take on a glow of it's own.
"Never turn your back on a fight, boy," Lummox shouted at the dwarven warrior as three large owlbears broke the tree line. The warrior turned and raised his sword, ready to spill some blood. Lummox loosed Fluffy's reigns and commanded her to attack the nearest owlbear as he headed for the largest of the group. The third cam directly for his fighting companion, cries of rage issuing from its throat. The warrior issues his own scream of rage, his voice high-pitched and cracking as he advance on the creature at a full run. With flash of sunlight from the shimmering blade held in his hands, he hacked into the shoulder of the owlbear and it shrieks in again and fell back. As it stumbled, the warrior spun and swung his leg at the beast and swept the feet from beneath it. With a thundering crash, the creature landed on it's back, which worked to my advantage, as it distracted the owlbear I was fighting long enough for me to catch him flat-footed. I struck with a lethal hit to the creatures skull and it fell, dead at my feet. Fluffy made short work of hers as well and was happily gnawing on the carcass. I turned to see if our new friend needed some assistance, but he had quickly dispatched the fallen creature and was wiping the blood from his blade.
I strode over to him and extended my hand.
"Good fight, friend. I am Lummox Fairheart."
"Laura," he said unstrapping his helmet.
"Laura? That's a woman's name. What kind of warrior is named Laura?"
As the helmet was removed, it revealed a face of gentle features supporting fierce and firey eyes. "It's not an unusual name for a woman warrior."
"But... but..." Lummox stammered. "You're a girl."
"And you have a short beard," she replied with a wry grin.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
The mention of the dream brought the memory back to him. Hadrian’s wise eyes looking out from a strong face. His muscular frame evident as Jeral assisted him in removing his heavy armor. The cleft in his chin as he leaned forward, lips parted—
There was a brief cry of anguish and a splash as Jeral once again threw himself into the near-icy water.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
As I told you before, my goal in life is to find adventure. That’s how I went from being a free-spirited roamer to getting involved in that whole mess. I fell in with an interesting group in Hommlet, one thing led to another, and before I knew it I was committed to leading them in our quest to preserve creation. At one point I almost left in search of something new, but then I realized that commitment was an adventure I’d never tried. I decided to go all the way with it. My growing fame in Verbobonc brought attention with it and soon a mate. We had a house built and when I wasn’t away on our quest I did my best to become a respected and upstanding citizen in town. I even joined a local church.
That really was a gratifying experience, but it didn’t quench my thirst for new experiences. Many of the area nations were aware of our defeat of Tharizdun and offered us lands and titles as a reward. I had no more desire to be rooted to a single plot of land, however, but instead wanted as a reward access to the wide world. I was able to parley the offer into something more suited to my lifestyle. I now have diplomatic credentials with Perrenland, Furyondy, the Shield Lands, Veluna, Verbobonc, the County of Urnst, the Duchy of Urnst, Nyrond, the Ulek nation states, Keoland, Ket, Gran March, Geoff, Sterich, and Yeomanry. I am guaranteed free travel and the hospitality of the ruler of any large town, small city, large city, or metropolis for up to a month. Once that agreement was in place, it didn’t take long for me to pack my bags and head off in search of excitement.
But Istus, the dear girl, is not the traveling sort. She likes her creature comforts and needs a library and laboratory for her studies. When push came to shove, she chose staying behind over wandering with me. I was all ready to sell the house for traveling funds, but I couldn’t just kick her out in the street after everything we had shared. Instead, I decided to retain ownership of the property and leave it in her care. We remain in contact and I now have a place to stay should I ever need, but it has really become her place in effect. She works out of the laboratory, earning her living by crafting items to sell to area shops as requested. She also takes on boarders from the Silver Consortium and the area bardic community to stave off loneliness. It’s an arrangement that works well for both of us.
Istus is not the only one with new companions. I seem to attract followers wherever I go, and I have collected an assortment of performers and adventurers in my travels and am now the leader of a small troupe. We have been using my diplomatic credentials for lodging, but also perform wherever we go for the sake of legitimacy. I am pleased to say we always leave an impression and are gaining quite a reputation. I have never been content to simply be in the spotlight, though, for I am a curious sort and a collector of lore. I’m sure you understand, Thom, because you are the same. That is why I feel I am a good fit for membership in your Bramblewood Academy. I would learn from the lore you have amassed in your travels and gladly share my own. If you’ll have me, I will be your number one wanderer, gatherer, and performer, and will spread word of the academy throughout the nations. I am yet young and anticipate many interesting adventures before I am through.
Friday, September 21, 2007
"Papa, tell us the story about how you beat the dragon again."
"Well," the dwarf said, leaning back in his chair, "it was not I alone that beat the dragon. Remember, I did have some help with that fight. And that was only a small part of the adventure."
As the story unwound, the dwarf though back on the days that had led him to this one.
He gazed upon his beautiful wife and grinned as the memories overtook him:
Aerin had brought them back to Verbobonc as soon as they were safely away from the carnage and destruction of the battle to keep Tharzidun locked in his prison.
The party had been through much, but as time wore on, each decided it was time to depart and go their separate ways.
After some rest in their home in Verbobonc and after bidding the city guard a fond farewell, he sought his companions to say his good-byes.
Kilminsk had disappeared the night they had returned, but Lummox had already given him his farewells as well as one of the hammerspheres.
Aerin was busy setting up "shop" in the city and had little time for the dwarf, but they parted with a handshake (that undulated strangely in Lummox's palm) and a little well-wishing. As the dwarf was walking away,Aerin called to him.
"I want that arm back, by the way." Lummox grinned.
"Over my dead body," he called back.
He was never sure, but he thought he heard Aerin mumble something like, "That can be arranged."
When he returned to the house, he found Degolar, wicked glint in his eyes as ever, standing in the doorway.
"You," Degolar said, grin in place, "look like a dwarf on a mission. I guess you'll be leaving us soon too?"
"I'm gonna miss you, you pervert," Lummox said with a wry grin. "We had some good times."
"Who knows," Degolar said mischievously, "we may again." They embraced and wished each other a farewell. That night, Lummox left a gift in the bard's room. It was a drum he had been making in secret out of the hide and bone of one of the mindflayers the bard had saved him from. Lummox would remember that day for the rest of his life. The bard, who he had always considered a bit of a deviant, had taken control of his mind to release the grip the mindflayer had taken. He could have kept control and could have had the dwarf as his slave, but instead, he freed him with no lingering effects. A new level of respect grew for the bard and their friendship had grown. Lummox just hoped the bard would like the gift and appreciate the sentiment behind it.
As he headed out to the stables to feed his pet griffin, Fluffy, he heard some rumblings from the hay loft. He moved closer to hear a little better and heard a silvery peel of laughter and the deep rumble of chuckling answer it. He picked up a pitch fork and pounded on the boards overhead.
"Hey, you two," he called up to Leelu and Torias, "get some damn clothes on and get down here." There was a long silence and then the pair broke into hysterical laughter. Lummox grinned wryly and headed off to tend to the griffin.
The first to appear was Torias, shirtless and sweaty. The deep scars that covered his skin was a sad reminder of the way they had found him in that damned place of evil and of what was done to him there. He stepped up next to Lummox and grabbed a grooming brush. They brushed away the dust and hay from the creature as she purred her delight. After some time,Leelu joined them in the barn. They finished grooming and feeding Fluffy and stepped into the yard. Lummox turned to Torias and smiled sadly.
"Lad," Lummox said, "you are a fine warrior. I wish you well in the future and hope for the best for you." He reached to the urgrosh on his back and presented it to the young man. "This is for you. It isn't much, but I want you to have it. It has served me well, as I hope it does you. Take care of yourself, or I will be forced to beat the tar out of you." They shook hands and then embraced for a short time.
He turned to Leelu, and for the briefest moment, his eyes glinted with tears. He blinked and they were gone.
"You, my dearest, I will miss the most. You have come a long way, not just in distance but from the scared, angry child you were. You have become a very brave and very noble lady, and I am proud to call you my friend. As much as I would like to stay and remain your companion on your journeys, I believe you have found a much more appropriate guide." He nodded and grinned at Torias . "I wanted to give you something special but could thing of nothing that could let you know how much you have meant to me. Nothing seemed right, and then it hit me. Can I borrow one of your knives?"
"What makes you think I am carrying one?"
"I have known you far too long for that." She must have seen something in his eyes, because she sighed and pulled a slim dagger from behind her (to Torias ' great surprise) and handed it to the dwarf. Lummox took the knife and looked at it for a moment then did the last thing anyone would have expected. He cut the hair of his beard above the symbol of Moradin until the bottom half of his beard was dangling from his fingers, the symbol of Moradin swinging back and forth. He handed the knife and the lock and symbol to Leelu, looking a little silly with such short whiskers.
"This is yours child. Remember me fondly."
Leelu knelt to hug him, but he stopped her and gently put his hands on the sides of her face and drew her near his. He kissed her lightly on the forehead and then pulled her into a warm hug that lasted quite a while. When they released one another, he patted her shoulder. "You keep the brat, over here..." motioning to Torias, "you keep him out of trouble."
He turned and walked into the house and then out the front door again into the streets of Verbobonc.
When he reached the temple of Pelor and asked to speak to Saint Hadrian, they looked at him as if he were something they had stepped in.
"You are out of luck, little 'friend,'" the closest priest said, "he was here only briefly and has left us for greater things." The two Pelorians turned there backs on the dwarf and continued their conversation. Lummox left and made a mental note to see if he could train his griffin to relieve himself in flight. He was not worried about seeing Hadrian today. He was sure their paths would cross again one of these days.
He decided that he would make one last stop before leaving. He headed to the gnomish district and sought out Mia, the dragon slayer. He found her resting on a door stoop and smoking a pipe.
"I didn't know you smoked."
"When the mood strikes me, you grumpy old dwarf." From anyone else, this would have been an insult, but from Mia, it was a great compliment.
"I brought you something." He grinned and produced a wand crafted of willow and presented it to Mia. "Now you don't have to cast dancing lights for a while. This will do it for you. Well, for 100 times at least."
"Cute," she said, with her tilted smile.
They exchanged their goodbyes and shook hands and as he walked away, a shower of lights pranced and twinkled around Lummox.
On his way out of the city, he looked over his shoulder and wondered how soon he would be back to the city that had encapsulated a large chunk of his life and how soon he would see the people who filled his heart. He turned forward again and urged Fluffy into flight and lifted away from the city and off into the wilderness on his search for the lost Saltheart clan.
to be continued...
Monday, September 17, 2007
Geren heard the rider before he saw him, and didn’t bother to unsheathe his sword or get up from where he sat by the campfire. Neither did any member of his party. They were an experienced group of scouts and warriors, and knew they had little to fear from a single rider, even in this dangerous territory. In a moment, the lone horseman came into view and reined his horse to a stop at the edge of the firelight.
“Greetings friend,” said Geren, standing at last and walking towards the figure.
The man atop the horse pushed back the cowl of his black traveling cloak, and Geren caught just a glimpse of silver at the stranger’s throat as he did so.
“And greetings to you ranger. Is there space at your fireside for a weary traveler?”
“We’d be remiss to turn any away in this country, friend. Please, join us,” said Geren, gesturing towards the fire.
The young man dismounted, exchanging nods with each of the silent men around the campfire, and took a seat. The grizzled scouts sized him up in an instant, he was no threat to them, and they settled into an easy silence as Geren fetched a flagon of mead for the newcomer. The young man thanked Geren for it and drank deeply from the cup. For a moment he warmed his hands by the fire before speaking.
“Your fire is quite refreshing, gentlemen. It is a cold night, with barely a sliver of moon for company.”
Geren looked the young man up and down before responding. “The moon is precious little company in this land, lad. ‘Tis a dangerous road you’ve chosen to ride alone. I’d say you’re either a brave man or a fool to be in these parts without other men at your side.”
The young man laughed. “Fair enough, fair enough. But rarely do we choose our own road. Duty has brought me to this desolate land, and I have not the time to worry about the danger of it.”
“Very well,” responded Geren, “your business is none of mine. But guests are a rare occurrence around this campfire, and you seem like a good sort. You’re welcome to travel with us if you like, at least as far as the Velunan frontier. Trust me, young friend, you’ll be safer for it. This really is no place to be traveling alone.”
The stranger looked thoughtful for a moment, and then nodded. “Thank you ranger, that is much appreciated, much appreciated. But now, gentlemen, I think it is best that you prepare yourselves, because you’re about to have a few more guests, and I hazard you won’t find them as pleasant company as myself.”
The scouts exchanged quick glances and moved their hands towards their sword hilts and bows.
“What do you mean?” asked Geren.
“It’s why I’m here, I’ve been tracking them… and I sense that they are near. Yes, very near. Look to the treeline!”
The scouts looked up the small slope on the north side of their campfire towards the edge of the forest. For a moment they saw nothing, but then they caught glimpses of movement here and there. An instant later a horrific sight met their eyes: lurching from the cover of the trees were the most hideous of abominations, clad in rags with only bits and pieces of rotting flesh clinging to their skeletal frames. In an instant the scouts were on their feet and loosing arrows at the advancing score of the undead. Still, the black clad stranger sat, unperturbed, staring into the fire.
Geren clasped a hand to the stranger’s shoulder urgently “Don’t just sit there, man, get up and fight!”
The young man smiled up at Geren and said “Oh, I intend to friend… it’s just I wanted to savor the moment.”
He rose, and pushed apart his cloak for the first time. Underneath, he wore a mithril breastplate, emblazoned with a symbol that Geren had not seen before: A full moon, inlaid with the shape of a lantern containing a tiny sun. On his left hip swung a small silver lantern which glowed with an ethereal blue light. On his right hip, he wore a heavy mace that sparked slightly as he rose. His garments were all black, with silver trim.
The young man turned away from the fire and walked briskly towards the advancing undead. Around him, the party of scouts continued to loose arrows into their ranks, but to little avail. He stopped, a large grin spreading across his face, raised his right hand and spoke a short incantation. A bluish white mist began to gather around his outstretched hand, glowing from within. The mist began to swirl rapidly and then coalesced into an orb in front of the young man’s raised palm. The orb became denser and appeared almost solid, in each fraction of a second growing brighter and brighter, until it exploded in a brilliant cone of the purest and brightest white light that Geren had ever seen. The skeletal forms advancing across the field disintegrated, screaming as the light reached them, and as soon as it had begun, it was over. The scouts lowered their bows and stared in astonishment as where seconds before twenty undead warriors had stood, now only clouds of dust hung in the air and fragments of bone littered the grass.
The young cleric looked around at the party and shrugged “It’s never quite as fun as you anticipate,” he said. “Still, one does one’s duty.” And without another word, he turned and walked back to the fire.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
The strange adventure had at last come to an end, and the somewhat bewildered Dervish found himself sitting on a nice stone in Verbobonc, pondering recent events. He had, undoubtedly, played an integral role in the destruction of the Temple and the further imprisonment of the thing the rest called Tharizdun, and he had quickly parted ways with his companions. He considered them, briefly, as he had never really had human contact of that nature before. They called themselves a "group," and they were engaged in a "quest," and this entailed severe risks of extreme personal danger. The Dervish chuckled light-heartily at this, and thought, "So, this is what lunatics are like."
The woman, Leelu, had been the first to catch his attention, as she had one more hole than the others. Unfortunately for the Dervish, she only wanted them filled by the man Torias, and they didn't even let him join in or watch. Weirdos.
The Dervish had never been fond of the overtly short creatures, yet he felt differently about the Dwarve Lummox. The Dwarve had a beautiful, magical ring, filled with wonderment and excitement. It was surely one of the most tragic days in the history of the realm when this ring disappeared, never to be seen again. The world was safe from Tharizdun, but was the cost too much? The Dervish was never one to feel pity, but on that day he nearly shed tears for the poor Dwarve.
The bard, Degolar, while rarely visible enough to be easily judged, seemed a bit sexually repressed. Maybe, with a little work, he could come out of his shell. This can also be said of the man Hadrian, whose pious nature implied a singular interest in the male species, which the Dervish could never understand. Also, the Bard had a cat. Nice.
As for the final member of the party, Aerin, there was not much to be said. A more decent, stand-up citizen the Dervish had never met. He thought that surely, that one, would go on to accomplish great things.
The Dervish was shaken from his thoughts by a slight tingle. The fight was finished, yet he had not escaped unchanged. You see, in the scuffle, he had been "cursed." Any pain he dealt would return and travel through his own body. As the Dervish sat, a small squirrel skittered by; his arm shot out and his sickle pierced the small creature. A large grin grew across his face and, he thought, he liked it.
Hedrack and the cult of Tharizdun, the elemental Lord Imix, Lord Haxx, had all been defeated at the party's hands. A soft, glowing nimbus of light appeared, shimmering purest white. After a moment, the nimbus grew to a large oval and a female solar stepped out. She beckoned the party forward into the light, and they followed.
The party found themselves inside a grand white marble hall, a few figures standing as if waiting. Nerull and Beory stood near each other, in conversation with Boccob. Pelor and Rao were talking to a familiar figure, and Incabulous stood alone.
The deities turned to face the party as they entered. Hadrian, now with his own shimmering aura, stood with them. The gods applauded as the party walked toward them, coated in carbon, garments ripped and travel worn. Rao spoke, commending the party for their service, and asking that they return to Verbobonc to meet with Archbishop Hadrigus and the wizard Juelihm. The pair had temporarily taken charge of the city after the former Viscount, Langard, disappeared.
Congratulations, all. The campaign is mostly complete. Take a few days, or longer, and write up a few words about what your characters will do after their adventures together conclude. I'll be happy to make available whatever information you need or want to see. Some of you asked to see what the original campaign looked like before my modifications. I'll be happy to send you the files so you can take a look. A little will look familiar. Names, locations, overall plot. Thanks for letting me DM for the last 4 years. I had a great time.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
We've picked up three additional players and lost one since we started. Mia Dragonslayer has left us, possibly forever. Kilminsk, Aerin Starkewood, and Torias have joined the ranks.
A few old emails I just unearthed: (*The names have been changed for anonymity's sake).
Sent: Sat 11/8/2003 11:03 AM
Subject: RE: d&d
Personally, I was thinking of a half-elf assassin, but I'm flexible.
Sent: Sat 11/8/2003 2:19 PM
Subject: RE: d&d
So I can't be the 23rd level three-headed giant sorcerer king?
Then I suppose I might want to be a half-elf bard, but I can be flexible if the party needs.
Sent: Sat 11/8/2003 2:39 PM
Subject: RE: d&d
Lummox* says he'd like to be a dwarven fighter of some sort, so we're looking fairly balanced so far.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
A few days later, Canon Hazen, a portly, normally jovial, priest in the service of Rao, was having troubled dreams. He slept fitfully, waking twice in the night. The first time, he attributed his restlessness to indigestion, and stumbled sleepily toward the privies. The second time, his vision was so clear and unmistakable he shot up in his bed, his mind roiling with the image of a silvery metal rod studded with gemstones, and what he had to do.
Hours passed. Hazen had recovered the Crook from its resting place in his cathedral’s reliquary and readied himself for travel. He set out with a group of companions, journeying overland from Veluna to the only known outpost of the Cult of Tharizdun. A secret temple near the town of Hommlet. Adventurers, knights, and church soldiers had been here only days before, ridding the town and the region of Tharizdun’s influence. “At least temporarily,” thought Hazen. The group delved deep into the underground temple and the Crook grew white-hot in his hand as Hazen brought it near Tharizdun’s altar.
A swirling ball of black-purple mist coalesced atop the altar, crackling and arcing with purple energy. Hazen, frightened, took a step backward. His unfortunate companion, another cleric, was standing a few steps closer than Hazen now, and was engulfed by the purple-black orb. Hazen, horrified, brandished the Crook unthinkingly at the swirling ball of energy, which seemed to hesitate. Inspiration struck Hazen, and he spoke a powerful malediction, invoking the names of the six deities who created the Crook. The misty ball seemed to condense, then a white corona surrounded it, intensifying in brightness until it completely surrounded the purple-black orb. Six seals popped into existence, each with a deity’s symbol upon it. The seals slowly began circling the now-white orb, gaining speed as they completed each orbit of the sphere, which now seemed to shrink slowly.
Hazen sank back, exhausted. He still held the Crook aloft, and the sphere with its whirling seals dimmed and faded from view, slowly growing more transparent.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
“Are you sure this is necessary, Rao?” a gravelly voice grated. A cadaverous looking man in an orange-trimmed black robe leered, dead-eyed at him.
“I’m afraid so, brother Incabulos.” The cadaverous man sneered at the friendly term. “We must put a stop to this plague of chaos. They have no care for our worshippers, or for any living thing. Tharizdun, the eldest of us all, must be stopped. Everything we have worked for would be ash. We cannot directly intervene, so we must give Men the tools.”
Incabulos nodded, already knowing the argument for creating the artifact. His blue-tinged face looked newly dead in the morning light. Rao placed a shining metal crook on a pillar in the middle of the circle and stepped back into the circle. He nodded at Nerull.
“It is time. Brothers, and sister. Please…” Nerull bade them to join hands.
Pelor, radiant in golden-trimmed white joined his warm, strong hand with Nerull’s skeletal claw. Nerull extended his other hand, cold in death, to Rao. Rao smiled as he took Incabulos’ withered hand in his own. Boccob grasped Incabulos’ other dead limb. And Beory, beautiful in earthen toned robes, reached out her small, dirt-caked hands to Pelor and Boccob, completing the circle.
Auras of light emanated from each of the deities. Gold, black, white, orange, purple and green. These nimbi left their owners and floated out to the middle of the circle, each leaving a ghostly trail of light. As the gold aura filled the crook, golden sparks shot out, filling the air above the crook with bursts of magical energy. Pelor’s face grew wan and grey. He seemed to shake, and only the grasp of Boccob and Nerull stopped him from sinking to the floor. As each of the auras was absorbed, the other deities showed similar signs of strain until finally, Beory, sweat beading her normally good-humored face, nodded at Rao.
“We have done it,” Rao breathed, his voice sounding tired.
“Let us hope we’ll never need the Crook of Rao again,” said Boccob. “Though I would like to study it after your Hazen has finished, Rao.”
Saturday, July 28, 2007
UPDATE. We may be looking at August 11 or, after Sake and Samurai.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Over the Fourth of July my brother and I broke out the old D&D Basic rules, circa 1983. My nine year old nephew was instantly hooked, and, after our brief and awkward first gaming session demanded for the rest of the week that we continue the adventure. The problem was that I hadn't played with this rules set in about twenty years, which is to say, it was completely alien to me. I'm not sure I ever really knew those rules very well-- our DM back then pretty much handled everything. So, trying to run a game with that rules set was not exactly easy. After a while I decided that I was only keeping the old RPG books for nostalgia's sake-- as collectibles. Not that I'm a D20 expert (obviously), but it is the rules set I am now most familiar with, and frankly I don't have the time or energy to learn a new one (though Castles and Crusades does sound interesting). So....
Anyway, tonight my brother has class and my nephew is in town for the week. So, I'll be picking him(the nephew) up from day camp and watching him until about 9 tonight. I've already seen Harry Potter, have no interest in seeing Transformers, and Ratatouille has been unequivocally claimed by his mom. What to do then? Well, I visited my local game store and got the tyke a late extra birthday present:
So, that's what I'm doing tonight... playing D&D with a nine year old (shouldn't be much of a different dynamic than usual, actually). I figure this set will be basic enough for him to handle, and still be a good introduction to the game.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Also, we should get a day settled upon for the next (last) session. August would be great. The 4th, 18th, 25th, work best for me.
PS. Depending on how badass you guys are in the next session, there may or may not be one more 'rewards' session, which will basically either be me reading to you or me giving you letters.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Hadrigus - Archbishop of Pelor (Verbobonc)
Juelihm - Master of the Silver Consortium
Langard - Viscount of Verbobonc
Archbishop Hadrigus of Pelor walks calmly down the hall leading to Langard’s study, striding beside Juelihm of the Silver Consortium, who now wears a curiously formed golden medallion around his neck. Written in elvish is the word cor’toloth. Circle of Eight. Hadrigus eyes the medal and gives a small, knowing smile, a barely perceptible turn of the corners of his mouth.
The two men reach Langard’s study and Hadrigus moves to rap on the closed door. “Wait, my friend.” Juelihm’s expression goes vacant for a moment. “Something is strange. There is an unfamiliar aura inside. It’s as if magic cannot penetrate the walls. Curious. No matter,” he says. “Give me a moment to compose myself and we will proceed.” Hadrigus looks at Juelihm quizzically as he mutters under his breath in draconic.
“All right. Lets press on. Maybe this time, we can persuade the Viscount.
Heavy green drapes cover the sturdy stone windows of the study. The room is lined with brightly flaring torches. Langard sits at his desk, eying the two older men proudly. He offers them seats at the burnished conference table with a wave of his hand. A handful of suited knights are placed throughout the room, as usual, their armor and weapons gleaming.
They begin discussing recent developments and messages from their spies and informants. Hours pass.
“It cannot be, Juelihm,” moans Langard. “Your informants must have made a mistake.”
“I wish it were so, milord.”
Hadrigus nods his head gravely. “My contacts have also confirmed the rumors.” He takes out a folded sheet of parchment and reads—
“…Unearthed a stone box with archaic glowing symbols in a mountain cave near the town of Westburn in the Yeomanry.”
“…the cave is believed to have been part of Slerotin’s Passage…”
“…Slerotin’s Passage was the tunnel used by the Archmage Slerotin and his house to escape the Rain of Colorless fire.”
“There’s only one object that could have been contained in a box like that, Langard.” Juelihm states pointedly. The Scepter of Slerotin. Do you remember your history lessons, your Grace? Do you know what that artifact will do in the hands of someone like Hedrack. He’ll be nearly invincible in combat. And it’s no doubt that this next passage must only refer to the Coat of Lumiesse feu Sainte.” No doubt you’d be happy to regain Lumiesse of the Holy Fire’s coat, Hadrigus.”
Hadrigus smiles wanly at Juelihm and clears his throat. “We must get this information to Degolar’s party as soon as possible. They must know about this new threat. I have contacted the neighboring fathers of the Church for advice, and Juelihm has spoken to...” Hadrigus looks shrewdly at Juelihm, who shakes his head almost imperceptibly, but Langard, who has his head in his hands, misses the exchange.
Noticing that Hadrigus has stopped speaking, Langard lifts his head. “Spoken to whom, Master Juelihm?” His voice has an edge to it. “The leaders of all the countries of the Flanaess? Will they ally themselves against the growing threat, perhaps? Would Wilfrick would have sent emissaries out to surrounding nations for aid long ago? Well, I’m not my father.” Langard stands abruptly, motioning to the plated guards around the room. “And I can’t have my ‘trusted advisors’ acting independently of my will. Hadrigus and Juelihm both look at each other, slightly startled. “That is all, advisors. You are dismissed. Guards, take them.” he says coldly.
Hours later, the two men are in the dungeon below Castle Greyfist.
Hadrigus sighs and pulls his robes closer. “Would that he was his father, we may not be in this situation,” he laments.
“You know what we must do, Hadrigus. We didn’t have to come to the dungeon peaceably. We must get word to the party. We must leave these depressing surroundings. We cannot wait and hope that Langard comes to his senses. Pelor and Boccob have it in their power still to help.”
Hadrigus sighs again and looks at Juelihm. “The seals will be broken. Tharizdun will break free.” Hadrigus states.”It is doubtful we can avoid that now, but that’s not necessarily completely bad. The seals don’t stop only Tharizdun from escaping…”
At these words, Juelihm smiles faintly, as if just remembering something. “We must hurry, my old friend. Gather your supplies. We will meet in my tower at sunset. If our preparations succeed, Degolar and the others will receive some small amount of aid which may prove crucial to their success, though they’ll scarcely be expecting it.”
“I suppose, if we fail, we won’t have to worry about Langard anymore.” Hadrigus says dryly.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Your luck (for the most part) was surprisingly good with the DoMT. And you did well with the only really serious fight, with Tychon the Doomdreamer. He was the Second. (and Thukos from the mountain temple was the Third). Only one left. Hedrack, the First.
I've got a few XP bonuses to award.
Hadrian +250XP for your perseverance communing with Pelor.
Degolar +50XP for actually using your bardic abilities.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Anyway, I've got all of the encounters worked out for the end of the campaign. And at least one of them will test you heavily. To death. There are some undead, and some other things. Also, if you'll remember a month or two ago, when I passed around that sheet of paper, and asked you all to write down a number between 0 and 6, that wasn't just because I was bored. Won't it be interesting to find out what that number means? :D
Class starts in 9 minutes, so this is the best post you're going to get until a time as yet undetermined.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
I hope no one minds, but I've edited the links sidebar. I figured the discussion of Moby Dick was stale enough for that one to go, and everyone knows where to find The Office, and General J.C. Christian, Patriot. In their stead I've added a couple of gaming links that I've stumbled across recently... after all this really is a themed blog now since we've all moved our general posts to other venues. Enjoy.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Also, I'm thinking about June 16th for the next game. Does that work? My weekends are pretty booked in June, what with school and work.
And now, a little something that didn't make it into the game on Saturday:
The Blasted Yard. Like a scene from Hell itself, the interior of the crater is a dry, cracked yard of uneven volcanic rock. A hot, dry stench fills the air, burning the inside of your nose and mouth. At the center of this area, stands a black tower glistening with the dull sheen of iron. The walls of the crater rise up steeply about 200 feet into the air. The open sky is viewable overhead, but clouds are quickly forming.
(Spot DC 5). The tower is made of black iron reinforced with adamantine.
1. The Door. At the base of the black tower stands an adamantine door. It is carved in breathtaking detail, depicting the coming of a cloaked figure from a building in the sky. Rays silhouette the figure, and there are thousands of kneeling people on the ground.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The pedestal has nine indentions in a circle. Each indentation has a shallow channel that runs toward a larger indentation in the middle.
Inside the purple velvelt bag, shoved into one of the skull's eye sockets is a worn and folded sheet of tattered parchment. The parchment reads:
Purple Mist needs fill the room
The vials do the deed.
Speak Tharizdun, Pure soul and let heart fall
Upon the blessed pillar
The tools of need will be revealed
In a secret cellar.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Sunlight streams into a room overlooking a blue-green bay. The warm sea breeze floats into the room, but Calixtus, a tall middle-aged priest, doesn’t notice. Near the open balcony, a birdcage stands, a brilliantly plumed songbird sings inside. Dressed in rich purple robes and surrounded by tomes and codices, Calixtus leafs through a sheaf of papers. He smiles as he allows himself to be distracted by the bird’s song and the warm sea breeze. A few minutes later a small bell rings. The bird stops singing and Calixtus shakes his head, coming out of his reverie. He hunches back over his desk and continues to leaf through the papers, now quickly and nervously. His study door opens and a older, though powerfully built, man enters, standing in front of the desk on an embellished purple and gold rug.
The man glowers at Calixtus as the reedy priest looks up. “You’ve found another way, I trust?” Hedrack spits impatiently as he looks around the well-appointed room. “Living in these plush surroundings hasn’t softened your brains, I hope”, his red-rimmed eyes seeming to bore twin holes in the reedy priest. “Those irksome adventurers recovered the Crook from my incompetent Third, Thukos. I trust you’ve summoned me away from the Inner Fane and the Champion’s ritual with good reason.”
“Prithee, another moment of patience, Highest. I have recorded it here, just after the Crook of Rao.” The scribe scans the parchment in front of him, his ink-stained index finger tracing the lines recorded on the vellum. He mumbles something under his breath, and you can distinctly make out the words ‘crook’, ‘shield’, ‘evil’, ‘demons’, and ‘banishment’.
The powerful man paces the rug and jerks suddenly when the songbird chirps. An amused smile on his face, he walks over to the songbird’s cage. The scribe’s finger stops tracing the lines of text, and points to a section of the vellum, looking up at Hedrack. “Here, milord. Brought into the treasury were two jewels. One, a priceless red ruby. The other, a colorless diamond of inestimable worth.”
Hedrack opens the birdcage and the bird flits out, landing on his hand. Calixtus watches nervously and then continues speaking. “The diamond was just recovered recently from our excavations in the Crater.” Calixtus points to a highly polished black metal box on his desk, its lid thrown back. Inside the box are the two gems.
A distant expression comes over the features of Hedrack, Highest of Doomdreamers. His eyes focus a moment later. “Ah, yes. The diamond. From that meddlesome silver dragon. He won’t be troubling us again. Good to know he was worth our time.” The bird chirps softly in his palm.
The scribe coughs politely. “Yes, well. These gems sat dark and forgotten for a time in the Cult’s treasury. Finally, last summer, I found record of them in the Great Athenaeum of Rauxes. The diamond is known as Nim’hwesta in the tongue of elves, white wind. The ruby is called Lhach’ril, gleaming flame. The gems are much more powerful than inspection alone revealed. They are gems of elemental power. Each, when used in the appropriate ritual, can be used as a keystone to call forth a Lord of Elemental Evil. Obviously, the ruby would represent fire, and the diamond...”
“…Air, or force, I presume.” Hedrack drawls.
“Yes, milord. Summoning an outsider of this magnitude would create magical energy strong enough to rupture planar seals. If an Elemental Lord was summoned in a place consecrated to our Lord, I believe it would weaken or destroy the seals imprisoning Holy Tharizdun.”
“Did your research happen to uncover the ritual for this, my boy?” An unearthly glint surfaces in Hedrack’s eyes. His hand closes around the songbird in his palm.
The priest flinches.
“Y.. Yes, milord, it is just b.. below, here,” Calixtus stutters as he points farther down in the text. “It’s little more than a glorified gate spell, but it does require a few, ahem, unique, material components, namely the brain of a powerful foe, and the gem, of course.”
“You’ve served Tharizdun well. Your reward will be great when He is finally released.” Hedrack releases his grip and the bird flies back to the cage.
Hedrack takes the parchment and the metal box, withdraws a small bag from his robe pocket, and pushes the items into the bag. The air around him shimmers for a few seconds and his outline seems to blur. A bell sounds, then he disappears.
Calixtus breathes a heavy sigh of relief and steps over to the birdcage, when the bird begins to sing again.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Furyondian Kingsblade. The Furyondian Kingsblade was forged as Old Ferrond was rising from principality to nation. As Furyondy broke from the shackles of the Great Kingdom of Aerdi, new heroes began to emerge. In CY 254, old Viceroy Stinvri died, but not before severing ties with the Malachite Throne of the Great Kingdom. He named Thrommel I as his successor, and after many years of battle, Thrommel was crowned the first king of Furyondy, in CY 260. His scarred and pitted blade was reforged by dwarven weaponmasters and imbued with strong magical powers by Hieronean priests and wizards. Gems were embedded in the hilt and crosspiece, as well as a brilliant red gem set on the pommel.
The kings of Furyondy, all unwavering in their faith in Hieroneous, carried the bright blade to battle for over three centuries, and always the sword was brought back and entrusted to the new ruler at their coronation, after the old kings died. The Furyondian Kingsblade was revered above all other royal treasures, leading Furyondy to victory through the Aerdi War (CY 254-260), the Battle of the Relentless Horde (CY 320-336), and the Small (Short) War (CY 436-438). When Thrommel III took up the sword in his father’s stead, he marched to the Battle of Emridy Meadows (CY 570). At this point, the Furyondian blade vanished from history.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Hedrack's blood was boiling. The slave across the room flinched when she dared to look at him and found him glaring back, through heavy-lidded eyes. “I need to think.”
“Satau dead? Thukos? And Chymon? It seems impossible. Especially with all of the funds that slobbering bastard had spent building his accursed clone.” He paced toward the slave and she lowered her gaze as he approached. He raised his hand high, then dropped it suddenly and strode quickly to his desk.
A sending. It’s time to harness Tharizdun’s power. It’s time to call forth His avatar.
Once at his desk, he emitted a barking laugh and opened a hidden drawer. He pulled out a curiously bent piece of copper wire and placed it between his thumb and forefinger, then spoke a few syllables. He then barked a word in a harsh dialect. There was an immediate reply in the same language. Hedrack and the other voice growled and barked in the language for a few moments, then he dropped the copper wire back onto his desk. While he had been speaking, the slave’s eyes grew wide. He sat down in an overstuffed armchair and looked again at the slave, smiling with sickening glee. In a short while, the body would be anointed and brought, and Tharizdun’s Champion would be raised again.
“Bring me that glass, slave.” He pointed at a half-full glass of wine near the bed. The nude blonde slave stepped down from her pedestal and walked gracefully over to the wineglass, her only ornamentation a bright coral necklace. Hedrack motioned quickly with his hand and a small pool of liquid appeared just under the woman’s feet. Her feet slipped from under her just as she lifted the wineglass from the table and she let out a small, surprised squeak. She thudded to the ground, now covered in the grease from Hedrack’s spell, and the glass seemed suspended in air for a moment before shattering on the smooth black basalt floor.
Hedrack laughed as the slave fell, her will dissolving. She was now huddled weeping uncontrollably on the floor. He walked over to her and extended a hand to help her up. He also picked up the jagged stem of the wineglass. “My dear Kelashein, this sort of clumsiness just won’t do. You failed me once as head of the Water Temple, allowing yourself to be captured and taken to the stronghold of that despicable godling, Pelor. I had the temple razed, had you rescued, along with another, who will soon serve infinitely more useful. I thought to give you a second chance here, under my care. More than you deserved. Stand.” He whipped his arm back and then quickly and powerfully sliced it through the air, still holding the jagged wineglass.
Blood spattered over the black basalt floor, which was greedily absorbed into the stone. Hedrack sliced the former water temple mistress over and over. When the winestem finally cracked, he threw it down and kicked what little life still flowed through her body away. After hefting the body into the tub, he stalked out of the room, smiling cruelly.
Stay tuned for part two, which will be coming in the next week or so.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
A long, straight staircase leads down before stopping at a narrow landing. The corridor is drafty and cool. Demonic faces leer out at you from the walls, carved realistically into the stone. The passage is crisscrossed by wispy spiderwebs, and tiny spiders skitter away from your advance.
Inside the tub is the body of a once-beautiful woman, her face and skin horribly mutilated with scars. Freshly clotted blood and purple-yellow bruises cover her body. The woman’s blond hair is matted with blood.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
A ball of orangish red, no larger than a grapefruit, zips into their midst. "Insteresting, they seem more than novices," Satau thought. Chaos erupted a few seconds later, with the patrol engulfed in flame.
"Enough of this, I have preparations to make," Satau thought. He quickly shut his study door, leaving his clone alone in the darkness. The clone would leap into action if he faced mortal peril, at least Satau hoped so. He tapped a clear crystal wand against his arm and said a command word, then disappeared into the darkness, waiting.
Congratulations on defeating the dragon and the mind flayers. I'm a little surprised no one died. I tried. At our current pace, I'm doubtful we can finish the campaign by May. So we'll have to step it up a little. Less non-game chatter will help.
It seemed like Leelu did a lot of the work early on, then Aerin, Degolar, and Torias did a lot late. I realize some of that's because Leelu and Lummox were stunned for most of the mind flayer combat. I'd like to see a little more out of Kilminsk, though.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on Saturday. What went well, what didn't. Dragons and Mind Flayers are probably some of the hardest bad guys to run, so please tell me how I can improve. And thanks to Torias for reminding me about mind blast.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
In 2007, the market consists of three major categories, in order of volume & revenue: trading card games, miniatures games, and roleplaying games. In addition, the market now also has smaller, but still significant categories like “hobby” board & card games. The total size of the market is approximately $1 billion at retail. 30% of that revenue is generated through hobby game stores. That translates to a 300% increase in revenue in just over 15 years. At the same time, the number of stores has declined by about half. So the average retail store is now generating 600% more revenue in 2007 than it was in 1992.
And yet.... the retail tier is facing extinction. Their overhead costs have increased faster than their gross margins in absolute terms. Their inventory costs have skyrocketed. They face competition from e-commerce retailers who undercut their pricing power and erode their margins. The products have become vastly more complex, and the burden for product support has fallen on their shoulders, with impacts on staff costs, rent, merchandising, and the scarcest resource of all: time.
As a result, more stores continue to fail, further reducing the footprint of support available to the publishers. The largest publishers have escape routes into the mass market, into the book trade, into Europe, and elsewhere. The mid-tier publishers however have few options, and are being crippled by this slow dieoff. Small, niche publishers, who rely on catching lightning in a bottle to have a chance of success, are even worse off.
Monday, January 15, 2007
After several hours spent haggling prices at various shops in the city, you make your way over the Velverdyva Bridge and into Ryemend, to Degolar's Manse. You've emptied your bags of holding of most of the platinum and gold coins, depositing them in separate accounts at the Chapel of Zilchus in town.
Most of your day was spent at Jala's Weaponry and Smithy, the Archer's Eye, Segemm's Curios, the Silver Consortium, and a handful of other small shops and temples. For the most part, Degolar's charm was in fine form and you came out with the upper hand in many of the bargains. There was one piece which couldn't be sold, however. The longsword taken from the Marilith in the Undertemple. Jala couldn't afford to buy it right now, though she was interested. Sir Ingish's shop was still closed, and none of his neighbors knew when he would return from Highfolk. Ingish's manservant Rubrin said that he was on an expedition with a party of dwarves in somewhere in the Yatil Range.
After tallying your sales slips, you find that even without the sale of the longsword, you amassed 134203 gold, 8 silver. An even split would give each of your seven party members 19171 gold, 9 silver, 8 copper.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Saturday, January 06, 2007
The clutch of Caran’lachnar yielded two eggs. The wyrmlings were grey and red. The grey wyrm gained prestige early, allying himself first with the far-off Iron League (a league of dwarven clans).
The red, however, had no interest in the affairs of demihumans. She was content to exploit and connive her way to great riches and power. She made her home in the heights of the Lortmils. At the time of the Battle of Emridy Meadows, Chymon was involved in some sort of intrigue on the side of the Great Kingdom (of Aerdy), which was quickly dissolving. She entered battle late in the day and set upon a column of dwarven soldiers, quickly decimating most of them. A grey dragon then winged into the fray. The grey and red battled in a spectacular aerial melee, but Chymon seemed too much of a match for the grey. Below, all of the dwarves had perished or lay dying. One still stirred, not as gravely wounded as the others. He took up his magic spear, enchanted with arcane ice from the frigid Yatil Range and hurled the spear into Chymon’s wing, tearing a hole through the thin membrane. Chymon roared in pain and rage, then broke off combat, winging southwest across the Emridy Plain. As she flew, she dove downward toward battle once more, screeching and breathing a fiery burst. She grabbed an armored knight in her wicked claws and again rose into the sky.
The dwarf, who turned out to be an emissary of Furyondy, lay exhausted on the ground, and the silver dragon stayed by his side until the close of the battle. The dragon owed a life-debt to the legate from Furyondy, but the legate would not hear of it, feeling that the dragon had saved his own life.
For many years, the emissary and the dragon lived a peaceful life of friendship, a great bond had been forged that day on the Emridy Plain. One fateful day, the legate called on the silver dragon in dire need. An evil cult had broken into the legate’s clan home in the Kron Hills. The clan had to flee, leaving their greatest treasure behind. A large gem of incalculable worth, called the Eye of Tulian. The emissary beseeched the dragon to recover the gem, or, failing that, to guard it until a Saltheart Clan dwarf came to reclaim the halls.
Chymon lived and breathed revenge. She loathed her brother, and dwarves, for driving her from combat. She sought out the enemies of these dwarves and found them in the Cult of Tharizdun. She offered her armored prisoner, (who turned out to be the Crown Prince of Furyondy, Thrommel III.) in exchange for information about these dwarves and her brother. She quickly relocated her lair to the Kron Hills, inside a dormant volcano.