Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Getting Back in the Habit

I'd ask that you start checking your circumstancedesign email again, because things are afoot.

And if Maro doesn't read this blog, would you please pass the word onto him, Aerin? We can make him a blog contributor, too, if he wants.

Lummossey part III

"And so we were making our way through one of the enemies strongholds, and we came upon this cook."
Lummox spun his tale to his children, a mug of ale at his side, nearly empty. His wife noticed it and filled it for him, but before giving it back to him, took a long pull of it, leaving foam on her upper lip. Lummox noticed this and stood up and grabbed her in a deep embrace, dipping her low.
"You missed a bit." He leaned in and kissed her deeply.
As they stood straight again, their children moaned. "Awwww. Come one. That's gross. finish the story. What happened next?"

Lummox stood, eyes wide, staring at the vision of beauty and ferocity that stood before him.
Laura waved her hand in front of his face.

"Hey!" She shouted, a wry grin on her face. "Snap out of it. What's wrong? Never seen a real woman before?"

Lummox shook his head a little as his thoughts cleared. "Apparently not. Where did you learn to fight like that?"

Laura started cleaning her blade, "I had brothers and didn't want to do the house work. I fought them for it and I guess, after a while, I just got really good at it. It was a pain when they started using weapons, but I soon found my skill with a sword and it just grew from there."

"You-" Lummox stammered, "you have no formal training?"

"Not really," Laura said absently, cleaning off the gore from her armor. "I mean, I have picked some stuff up as I traveled with other warriors. I learned some from observing them and their enemies as they fought. I learned a lot from fighting on my own. It just seems to come pretty natural to me. By the way, your griffon is choking on something."

Lummox looked over his shoulder at Fluffy. It was perfect timing, as the griffon had just gotten up a piece femur that was stuck in his throat, along with a wad of hair and gore. Lummox sighed and turned back to Laura. "That would be Fluffy," he said, a little embarrassed. "He isn't the most refined of beasts, but he is my friend and a good and loyal companion." More hacking noises and some wet, thudding sounds came from behind Lummox. He grinned, turning a bit red.

Laura tried not to look at the griffon. She noticed Lummox blushing and did a bit herself. "You're kind of cute for an older dwarf."

Lummox sat back in his chair pulling Laura onto his lap and into a tight embrace.
"So you little brats want some more story do you? Well, you will have to wait until tomorrow night. It is past your bedtime."
He rose and let Laura gracefully to the ground and shooed the children off to bed. As the children trudged off he turned to Laura, "and I am very sure it is time for you to get into bed as well."
From up the hall he heard the children groan a disgusted "ewwwwww."
Laura rolled her eyes and stared into his.
"You know," she said with a mischievous smile, "You're kind of cute for an older dwarf."
He grinned. "So are you." He ducked the blow deftly and rushed to get to beat her to the bedroom.

The State of E

As he sat in his room, meditating, Entrasta (known only to his companions as E) let his thoughts turn to his purpose and to the current quest. And as always, his thoughts are against him again. They form into a separate image of him, younger, less muscle tone, and much shorter hair. He wouldn't mind so much, but then, the other "him" speaks. And what makes it worse, only lets Entrasta call it by his former name, Reik:

"You know," Reik said with a wry smile, "you are really are terrible at this whole Monk business. You should really think about quitting and coming back to me. Think of how much fun we had: snatching purses, stealing food, running through the streets..."

"Running from the guard or the shop owners or angry victims you mean." Entrasta said with a grimace. "Why would I want to give up that life? Always starving. No discipline. No place to call home. No friends."

"We had friends," Reik protested..

"No friends we could trust. Having to live life in a shadow of fear and suspicion. Heaven on earth. Now let me meditate."

"Fine. Meditate," Reik sulked. "Just remember where you came from. Oh and good job keeping your vow of silence. What was that? 2 years this time? You know, most 'disciplined' disciples can pull off 10 easy."

"Most disciples don't have to go out on redemption quests for not following the code of the monastery. Most disciples," Entasta's tone became darker, "can control their anger and human urges, and don't have a ghost of their former self pestering them every time they turn around."

"Most disciples can hone their minds to avoid such distractions." Reik was grinning wryly again. Entrasta punched out and hit Reik in the eye. Reik's head snapped back with the blow. When he recovered, he rubbed at the now swelling eye. "Good one. I'm guessing you want me to go away so you can meditate."

Entrasta didn't move. He just sat, eyes closed.

"I'm just going to go now." Reik said, rising. "but don't worry. I'll be back. I know how you worry so."

Entrasta just sat, and only the barest hint of a grin curved the edge of his lips.

Reik was gone. Entrasta tried to regain his focus and began to relax again. It would be made all the more difficult with the newly forming black eye throbbing under his left eye, but he would get there eventually.

Report from the Field

I can only hope that this will reach you, but I think things have settled enough that it has a good chance of arriving. It would not have been possible before now. As assigned, I was scouting the territory to assess it's profit potential. I'm afraid I have bad news on that front, as the entire area seems to be a dying backwater with no wealth to speak of. I don't see the Caravan gaining anything by spreading our network in this direction. However, there is news of a much stranger sort. While I was looking for purses to snatch in a tavern one evening, a messenger from a neighboring village arrived with a desperate call for help. Not seeing any reason to sit around and figuring those who responded to such a call would be the most interesting figures available, I joined in the rescue attempt.

We found the village of Borovia to be a town under siege by its own dead and nearly destroyed. It took a bit of investigative work and a few additional deaths, but we rooted out the source of the scourge and brought it to an end. Unfortunately, the town has little wealth and a offered a negligible reward for our help beyond relief and gratitude. I was glad to help, but there was little gain.

I suspect my adventure has just begun, however. We may have defeated the immediate threat, but a far greater evil (and, I believe, treasure) looms over the valley in the form of Castle Ravenloft and what appears to be a vampire lord. My companions have made it their quest to hunt and destroy this Strahd. I know it is beyond the scope of my mission, but I feel joining them provides the only possibility of making this venture worthwhile. We have gained the assistance of a fortune teller and are beginning to gather what tools may be available to us.

I am extremely puzzled by my companions, unfortunately. We normally think of the big people as loud, slow, and brutish, but this entire group lacks their usual boisterousness. So far I have been trying to remain in the shadows and escape much notice, but I fear we are destined to fail if something doesn't change. I honestly can't figure out what reason any of them have for being here and taking on this fight, for they have expressed no motivation or reason for their actions. In fact, if we weren't interacting with our actions, we might not interact at all. Conversation is non-existent, so all I know about them is a few simple traits each. The old elven mage is angry, withdrawn, and likes to burn. The young elven caster is mothering (and sometimes smothering) and considers herself knowledgeable, but lacks assertiveness. The monk is rigid--although he didn't even have the discipline to maintain his holy vows--and says little. The fighter fights. All of them are quiet and uncommunicative and no one seems willing to take the lead and make decisions.

I know I am but a warrior, would rather not draw attention to myself, and lack the wisdom and intelligence for the task, but I think it may be necessary for me to take charge of the situation in the absence of anyone else willing to take on the role. It is not our way, but I am going to allow myself to be known by my companions in an effort to draw them out of their shells. We need to gain knowledge of each other and build trust, or I fear we are doomed to fail.

I do not know when I will have another chance to report, but I will attempt to do so as the opportunity presents itself. I hope to make the Caravan proud and return with at least a worthy tale.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Teaser for Ravenloft

And now Hillary Clinton, with significant voter support, is plodding ahead, stuck with a strategy that at this point leaves her only the nuclear option of nullifying Obama's primary and caucus victories. But, she can reason, if I am not dead, then I'm still alive--and still have a chance. Politically speaking, she is somewhere between dead and alive. The undead?

Or maybe not

Yay! I Remembered

. . . to level my character before the next game.

When is it, by the way?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A brief tease/reminder of where we left off

Sitting back from the neighboring buildings is a dilapidated church. In contrast to the relatively sturdy construction of the buildings nearby, the church appears to be in a state of advanced decay. An edifice of worn, grey stone and sagging, rotten timbers, the structure squats on a slight rise at the edge of the village. Beyond it, you make out the base of the jutting peak that the omnipresent castle sits perched upon, like a great, menacing gargoyle leering down at the town through the darkness and swirling mists. Light flickers through sodden, collapsed holes in the shingles of the church and the sound of hoarse chanting is audible within.