Posts Tagged ‘Losnoth’

Journey to Karnack’s Castle: The Third Day

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

DM note: at last the party arrived at Karnack’s castle, although not without a bit of night-time excitement!

Day #2-27 (Waterday, 7th Dewsnap, 4333 BCCC) By this time, around midnight, Lightstep was getting too tired to stay awake. He decided to wake Flenda to stand his watch. He also said he had been unable to sleep due to worrying about the evil ring they were carrying to Karnack’s castle. In the meantime, Falafela stayed on the hill to keep an eye on the other camp with the campfire. At this time, Vandin was snoring, although not loudly, and it sounded like he was saying “stones stones stones” during his exhalations. When Flenda and Tureg then took over the watch, they were informed about the horse snorting nearby. While Tureg stayed in his party’s camp, Flenda went to the top of the hill to observe the other camp. By this time, even the starlight had winked out as the sky had totally clouded over, and the wind picked up a little as it seemed a weather front was starting to pass through. After Flenda had attuned her eyes to the dark and had watched the campfire from a distance, she silently crawled on her belly like a reptile through the knee-high grass towards that other, mysterious, camp.

Around 3 am, Tureg woke the next watch pair of Gwenette and Jorgio. Tureg informed the duo that Flenda was on the hill watching another camp, and cautioned them to keep their voices low. Gwenette climbed the low hill, but although she moved back and forth on her side of the hillcrest, she could not locate her sister. Finally, Gwenette noticed, even in the almost total darkness, what looked like some bent grass leading towards the other camp. Gwenette also looked towards the campfire, and she thought she saw her sister sitting around that fire with several other people. So, Gwenette did what was reasonable for the daughter of barbarians to do — she too crawled towards the other camp. As Gwenette got close to the other camp, she could hear her sister’s voice, and could recognize the Karzulun language. So, when Gwenette had made it within about 20 feet of the camp without being detected (she was downwind of the horses), she finally stood up and said, “Flenda, you shouldn’t go sneaking off like that! You had us all worried!”

Then the four Karzuluns, led by Jen Jise, all stood up and welcomed Gwenette. They said, “Damn! Your father did a good job teaching you two to move silently. We never heard either of you coming!” So the girls sat and enjoyed the warmth of the fire, while telling their long-lost friends of their recent adventures. The girls mentioned how they had been captured by orcs, and got a ribbing about that from the Karzuluns. The girls mentioned how they had been careless to go berry and herb picking away from their village without taking any weapons. The tale continued with the story of their rescue by their friends on the other side of the hill. The raiders were finally impressed when Flenda displayed the two orc ears she had taken as a trophy from Losnoth! Finally, when it started getting lighter in the east (there would be no sunrise as it was totally overcast), the girls decided they should go back to their own camp, and they invited the Karzuluns to come along. So, the two girls and the four men and the men’s four horses all walked quite casually towards the girls’ camp.

By this time, the entire camp of adventurers was wide awake, and had lookouts posted on the hill, so they saw the others approaching them. They weren’t sure if they were about to be betrayed, so they had their weapons at the ready. But Flenda hailed the party, saying, “You’re not going to believe this, but we found some old friends of our parents! Our father used to ride with these rascals!” So then when the two parties met, introductions were given all around. Jen Jise mentioned (using the common language) that if this group was good enough to rescue Flenda and Gwenette from a nest of orcs, then they were worth keeping company with. After a quick bite of food (the Karzuluns had their own food in their saddlebags), the party departed towards Karnack’s castle to the north. The Karzuluns walked their horses alongside the others, asking questions about the particular quest the group was on. The Karzuluns mentioned they would only accompany the party to the castle, but they would not enter the castle as they (the Karzuluns) were usually not on good terms with other people. Although the main party had traveled many miles in the past two days, they quickened their step with the freshening northeast breeze bringing promise of a spring rain.

Finally, the group arrived at Karnack’s castle around 10 am, passing by fenced gardens and pastures with goats, sheep, and cattle. The Karzuluns then said their farewells, mounted their horses and rode back to the south. Approaching the castle from the south, the group could see a wall made of gray fitted stone that was about 80 yards wide and about 20 feet high, with crenellations atop the walls. There were also two towers, one on either side of the main gate, the towers being about 30 feet high. The main gate itself was made of two heavy wooden doors with iron reinforcement, each of which measured 10 feet tall and eight feet wide. The castle itself was also atop a hill that was about 20 feet taller than the surrounding countryside, and a somewhat steep switchback road led up to the gate. At the castle gate, a guard who was above the gate hailed the party. “Halt! Who goes there?” Lightstep and Opalent did most of the speaking, mentioning they had come to see Karnack, and that they had been sent by Herschel Gobinmyer of the village of Crystal Shores. The guard said, “Hold your places.” There was about a 10 minute delay as another guard took a message to Karnack. Finally, the gates opened, and the guard said, “Enter!”

Inside the castle courtyard, the group could see a stable to their right, and past the stable was a partially enclosed building with much firewood. To the left was a privy, and also a row of two-story wooden buildings nestled up against the inside castle wall on the side. To the far left was a keep with a large square tower on top, with the top of the tower at least 50 feet above the ground. To the far right was another inner wall, with a smaller tower that measured about 40 feet high at the far corner. Directly across the courtyard, about 75 yards away, was another wall, and quite noticeably, atop that wall was a large crossbow that could fire more than one bolt at once, and that crossbow was manned by guards and was aimed right at the party! There were also a number of small carts in various locations in the courtyard, and various civilians going about their tasks. The party, which numbered nine, also noticed that there were nine guards around them in the courtyard. The guards were all clad in scale mail, carrying large gray shields emblazoned with a black diagonal band. The guards were all also armed with sheathed long swords and wore small iron helmets.

A lieutenant of the guard spoke. “Karnack will see two of you at this time. Please follow me.” With that, the guard turned on his heel and Lightstep and Opalent followed him, followed by another guard. The lieutenant led into the base of the eastern tower, then inside the wall towards the east. Then the wall turned north. After more than 50 yards in this new direction, the group passed through a wall into a barracks, then ascended a circular stairway to Karnack’s tower. Karnack, a human of about 60 years, stood about 5’5” tall, weighed probably 150 pounds, sported a fu manchu moustache, and was bald except for a light-gray turban that was secured in its front with a red feather through a gold medallion. He also was wearing a long medium-gray robe with some brocaded decorations woven into it (sort of like a paisley pattern).

After introductions, Karnack bid Lightstep and Opalent be seated on two padded chairs that were of a dark wood with red velvet on the seats, and the two guards retreated to the stairway, where they remained at attention. Karnack then sat down behind his desk. Karnack spoke, “I understand you were sent here by Herschel Gobinmyer?” Lightstep answered, “Yes. He wrote out this letter to you.” With that, Lightstep removed the rolled scroll of gray parchment from his ivory scroll tube and handed it to Karnack. Karnack, after examining Herschel’s seal that had been impressed into the sealing wax, then broke the seal and began to read Karnack’s letter:

Spiritday, the 5th of Dewsnap, 4333 BCCC

The olde village of Crystal Shores

My Dearest Olde Friende Karnack,

A couple of weeks ago, the village of Crystal Shores was beset upon by a strange pestilence. A number of the villagers developed sore throats, then began to cough frequently, then some of them “turned” into a sort of mindless creature who then attacked other villagers, apparently in an attempt to bite those other villagers! Two of the villagers “turned” and had to be killed to prevent them harming others. Others then burned their bodies in an attempt to prevent the spread of the pestilence, although I had wanted to examine the bodies to see if I could detect any reason for the malady.

These strange happenings began about a month ago when a traveling cleric passed through our village, and then shortly thereafter, four more men, three fighters and one magician, passed through Crystal Shores, seemingly in pursuit of the cleric. We never saw any of those individuals again. At about the same time as those individuals passed through, two of our village’s young maidens, Flenda and Gwenette Deathmar (daughters of Vilan and Vilanious) disappeared. At the time, we sort of wondered what had happened, but nobody from the village wanted to go searching for the girls, believing that they would show up of their own accord, as, after all, they both are quite the free spirit.

In any event, about two weeks after they disappeared, the girls came back to the village, escorted by a party of adventurers who had rescued the girls from some orcs who held the girls captive at the old ruins of Losnoth, which is about 15 miles due south of Crystal Shores. The girls related their story of how they had gone off berry picking in the jungle to the southeast of the village and had been surprised and surrounded by the orcs, even though it was in the daytime. As it was, just as the orcs were about to sacrifice Flenda on an altar in the interior of the Losnoth ruins, the party of adventurers who stand before you now were in the vicinity and heard Flenda’s scream. The party then came to her aid, slaying the nine orcs at the interrupted sacrifice without loss to themselves (although one of the dwarves in their party was gravely wounded). Flenda then directed the party to where her sister Gwenette was held captive, and the party slew several more sleeping orcs. As a bonus, the party also freed two gentlemen, names of Fredo and Jorgio, although Fredo has recently been killed at Mont du Plat.

When the party returned the girls to the village, they related all of the above to me. While the sisters returned to their parents home, the other adventurers stayed the night at our local inn, only to find the innkeeper, his wife, and daughter had turned into “zombies” (for want of a better word) overnight. The party managed to capture the folks from the inn rather than killing them, then came to me straightaways to relate what had happened.

Now, I had been developing a theory that something had poisoned the local water supply from the lake and river, and that that something had started poisoning the water shortly after the cleric and his pursuers had passed through Crystal Shores. I state this because I have not developed any of the signs of the illness, but then again I do not drink the local lake water. I collect rainwater, and also make spiced pumpkin ale from my large pumpkin patch, and eat mostly vegetables from my own garden. There are several other villagers who do not as of yet show any signs of sickness either, and they seem to also drink more of other beverages than lake water. For example, we have a local goatherd where he and his family mostly drink goat’s milk and eat the meat from their goats they have slaughtered themselves–none of them are sick. However, several fishermen and others who are routinely near the lake have fallen to the sickness.

Now, although I only briefly spoke with the traveling cleric on his way through our village, he said he was on his way to the ruins at Mont du Plat as he had heard there was a valuable artifact somewhere in the ruins. He planned to retrieve that artifact and return it to his church so they could convert it into money or some such plan. However, it seems that the cleric’s pursuers somehow knew the cleric was going to Mont du Plat to find some valuable relic, so they no doubt had plans to relieve him of that valuable bauble.

So, back to the party who stand before you. They were entreated to travel to Mont du Plat to see what they could find. What they found were several more zombies in the dungeon of the old ruins there, and the party had to slay those zombies, although losing two of their party in the battles. I formerly mentioned Fredo; they also lost the dwarf Persis. The party believes that four of the zombies they killed were the pursuers, as three of those zombies were clad in armor, and the fourth was dressed as a mage. They also found the body of the dead cleric, and that cleric’s backpack and diary. The diary mentions how the cleric found the ring in the ruins; I have enclosed that diary for your perusal.

But the most disturbing thing the party found was that the cleric’s arm had been severed, apparently in a fight with his pursuers, and his arm had fallen down the underground well. The party then recovered the arm from the well, and, on the ring finger of the hand of the dead cleric, was the ring the adventurers will now present to you. I pray you DO NOT TOUCH THE RING! It does appear the ring has the power to convert ordinary persons into zombies, and it seems that while the ring was in the well, its evil was able to be transmitted through the water to our downstream village. It should also be noted that us villagers have noticed the fish were so lethargic that they could easily be caught by hand, and some of the forest animals, such as deer and even wolves, have been seen acting queerly where they would just wander somewhat aimlessly. That ring does radiate a powerful aura of evil, so beware!

I have consulted my books of lore, but could find no reference to such a ring. I pray you can find information about the ring, and of even more importance, I am dearly hoping you can discern a method with which I can restore the sick villagers back to their former health. Please help us! If you can, we will be eternally in your debt.

As always, your most obedient servant,

Herschel Gobinmyer

Karnack mostly read it aloud, relating the party’s story of how they rescued some human captives from orcs at Losnoth, then after returning two young maidens to their village of Crystal Shores discovered that villagers were getting sick from some mysterious malady. The village druid, Herschel, had been unable to determine the cause or to devise a cure. Then the party visited Mont du Plat and found the evil ring that had apparently been polluting the water that flowed downstream to Crystal Shores. Karnack read, “… the ring the adventurers will now present to you. I pray you DO NOT TOUCH THE RING! Hmmm,” Karnack continued, “let me see the ring.” With that, Lightstep very carefully opened the bone scroll tube, and gently dropped the ring in its wrapping onto Karnack’s desk. Karnack then used a couple of wooden picks, much like chopsticks, to open the wrapping. He beheld the ring with its numerous small skulls for the first time, and let out a low whistle. He then finished reading aloud the letter from Herschel.

Charnalite ring

The ring that was found at Mont du Plat.

“It does appear we have a quandary,” said Karnack. “I have learned of such mischievous magics in the past, but do not directly recall such a ring. I must consult my tomes to see if I can discern any information about it. In the mean time, you and your companions are all my guests.” Karnack then spoke to the guards at the stairway. “Lieutenant, return these two guests to their companions, and make sure they are all well fed. Arrange baths for them, if they wish. Also provide them lodging in the west wall.” Just before Lightstep and Opalent left (leaving the ring and the bone scroll tube with Karnack), Karnack mentioned that it would most likely take him at least a day to find the information, even with the help of his scribes.

Lightstep and Opalent then retraced their steps to the courtyard, along with their guards, and then were ushered, along with their companions, to one of the larger wooden buildings inside the west wall of the castle. This building was the castle’s civilian mess hall. It had four eight-foot long wooden tables with wooden benches on two sides of each table. The dinnerware was ceramic, with the flatware being of beaten iron. Just about the time the party entered the building, the skies finally opened, and it began to rain a hard, steady, cold rain. The party was treated to the best meal they had enjoyed in a while, enjoying rabbit stew with carrots, onions, and potatoes, and fresh baked bread. There was plenty of salt and pepper for seasoning, too. Fresh cow’s milk was supplied to wash it all down.

While enjoying his meal, Vandin espied another dwarf sitting at another table. Since the other dwarf appeared to be a fighter, Vandin approached the other dwarf with a friendly greeting. Vandin was taken aback momentarily, however, when the other dwarf responded in a less than cordial manner, saying something that sounded like “go pluck yourself!” After a moment’s hesitation, Vandin asked if the other dwarf would like to join the group, promising an equal share of any treasure gained. With that, the other dwarf revealed his name as Douag (pronounced “doo-agg”), and agreed to join. Vandin then regaled Douag with tales of slaying five orcs in a row at Losnoth as they kept coming through a door one at a time. And then Flenda impressed Douag even more by showing him the two orc ears she had taken as a trophy!

After the meal, the party rested and was shown to where they would be quartered for the night inside the western wall of the castle (to get there they had to enter the ground level of the western tower beside the main gate, then travel inside the wall). Wooden walls had been erected to create separate rooms along the inside wall, with wooden doors for each room. On the floor in the rooms were mattresses stuffed with hay or moss, and there were plenty of woolen blankets. Some civilian servants asked if anyone wanted to bathe, and also offered to wash clothes for anyone who desired such. Plain gray robes were offered for anyone who decided to partake of bathing or clothes-washing. Lightstep wanted to find out what was in the vial of clear fluid he had procured from Mont du Plat, so he decided to take a small sip. He decided it tasted like plain, ordinary water, although he still wasn’t sure was it was. Eventually, the party all retired for the night in the rooms assigned to them.

— The Dungeon Master

Journey to Crystal Shores

Monday, December 21st, 2015

This is another installment related to some Dungeons & Dragons adventurers.

Day #2-23 (Earthday, 3rd Dewsnap, 4333 BCCC): Finally, after several days’ rest, the party departed from Elwood’s citadel early one morn, when the dew was still heavy upon the grass. They were Falafela the halfling thief, Lightstep the halfling cleric, Opalent the elven magic-user, Vandin Lakesplitter the dwarven fighter, Vox “the Just” the human fighter, along with their dwarven fighter pals Persis and Tureg, and also with the rescued captives from Losnoth, Flenda and Gwenette and Jorgio and Fredo. This time the party took all of their possessions with them, including their money, as it was uncertain when they would get back to Elwood’s citadel. On the two previous trips to Losnoth they had left most of their money in the care of Elwood. They followed the familiar path along the stream to the northeast towards Losnoth, but when they drew near to that place, they skirted it and turned north instead. Just before they turned north from Losnoth they all also drank their fill from the small stream, and filled all of their water-skins to the brim. Several miles north of Losnoth the party came upon the half-eaten remains of an animal, most likely a deer, probably half-eaten by the roving leopards they had been told about when at Elwood’s citadel.

Along the journey, the sisters mentioned how some of the villagers near their home had started coming down with some mysterious illness just before they were captured by the orcs. People had become lethargic, got sore throats, and then started coughing. They were hoping they would find everyone well when they got home. They also hoped their parents were well and hadn’t worried about them too much.

Finally, about 15 miles north of Losnoth, and about 25 miles total from Elwood’s citadel, the party came into the small fishing village of Crystal Shores, which lay along the south shore of the diminutive Crystal Lake. The sisters Flenda and Gwenette pointed out some local places to the party, particularly the Inn of the Blushing Trout and the druid’s residence, and then the girls left the party to rush home to re-unite with their parents.

First, the party went to the Blushing Trout and spoke with the innkeeper, Sathe Lidorn. Sathe and his daughter Lido attended to the adventurers while Sathe also mentioned that his wife, Beefa, was sick and in bed. Sathe seemed to cough more than would seem healthy when serving food to strangers, and Lido was strangely pale and sickly looking, so the party decided to just eat their hardtack and jerky they had toted from Elwood’s instead of eating who knows what. The party then went next door to Mylene Ackmard’s barn. Mylene mentioned how she was trying to establish a stop on a caravan route, and while she had three wagons ready to roll, she hadn’t acquired any draft horses to pull the wagons just quite yet.

Next, the party paid a visit to the resident cleric, Wider Veldar, at his church dedicated to the Goddess Koassek. Wider asked the party to kindly leave their weapons outside the shrine when they came inside to talk, and Vandin stayed outside to guard the armory. Wider confided to the party that he was quite concerned about how everyone was getting quite sick. He also repeated the story (first told by Sathe and Mylene) about a lone cleric who had traveled through Crystal Shores about four or five weeks ago, followed by a party of four adventurers. They all traveled upstream along the river to the east. While neither the cleric nor the adventurers ever returned to Crystal Shores, it was shortly after their passage that village folks started getting sick. Wider mentioned how a number of villagers seemed to think that the passing cleric and adventurers had something to do with the illness, but Wider is mystified how they could have caused anything like what was happening in the village. The party also noticed that Wider had quite a large pumpkin patch behind his church.

The party then continued downslope towards the lake, stopping at the residence of Herschel Gobinmyer, the druid. Herschel was a bit older than most of the other residents of the village, and he invited the party to partake of some delicious spiced pumpkin ale that Hershel brewed himself. Herschel mentioned that he noticed a number of sickly animals in the area in addition to the humans, and he was mystified because he couldn’t cure the disease in any of his animal friends. He also related the story of Zeb and Trigo, two villagers who became sick and then turned into sort of “living dead” creatures who started to attack other people. Trigo was a dwarf who used to dig for coal in the vicinity, and Zeb was a fisherman. He pointed out the plume of black smoke to the northwest along the lakefront that was Trigo and Zeb’s funeral pyre. Herschel said he wanted to examine the bodies to see if he could glean any information, but the other villagers were afraid of the two dead bodies coming back to “life” again only to attack more people. The villagers also wanted to contain any spread of the disease, so they burned the bodies. Herschel also confided that he thought the cleric and/or adventurers who traveled to the east may have caused the illness somehow. He also mentioned the ruins at Mont du Plat, about 10 miles east along the river. He strongly suggested the party travel there to try to get to the bottom of things, to see if they could determine anything that might be causing the pestilence that was plaguing Crystal Shores. The party tried to invite Herschel to join them in their quest to Mont du Plat, but he remarked that he was too old for any more adventuring.

The party then went to visit with Flenda and Gwenette’s parents, Vilan and Vilanious Deathmar. Vilan was the town’s leatherworker, and when the party approached his residence, Vilan had a large aromatic (meaning it smelled really bad) pot of boiling leather in front of his place. Vilan admitted that he was the person who had to kill Trigo, as Trigo and Zeb were about to attack another villager and that villager’s wife. Vilan, who also had a darker complexion than other villagers, admitted to being a “barbarian from the north.” While he thanked the party profusely for rescuing his daughters, he mentioned how the girls came to be so warlike. He said they just naturally took after their father, although Vilan also said with a chuckle, “But if anything, at times their mother is even more warlike than me!” He said he queried Flenda about the two orc ears on her belt, and he said how he had smiled when she related the story of being rescued, but then after having her bonds cut she was too late to join in the slaying of the orcs who were just about to sacrifice her, so in her frenzy she at least took a “trophy” of the ears!

The group then went to the Inn of the Wasp and spoke with its proprietor, Enaldie Gryni. One feature of Enaldie’s place is the large fishing net set to catch drunken guests who might fall off his elevated porch. While there were a few other patrons in the place, none of them would speak with the party. In fact, most of the other patrons were shooting dirty looks in the party’s direction. Enaldie did get Opalent, Vandin, Persis and Tureg to try his special drink, the “Wasp Stinger,” for a silver piece per drink. Most of the others merely had ale for 3 copper pieces each. Fortunately, the “Stingers” did not have any bad effects on the party, and when they found that they could not rent rooms at Enaldie’s inn due to ongoing renovations of the sleeping area, the party decided to go back to the Blushing Trout to procure rooms for the night.

While most of the party headed back to the Blushing Trout, Lightstep and Opalent did a little more exploring. They traveled northeast along the lakeshore, passing the boarded up home of Zeb along the lakefront, and then poked their heads into the Tavern of the Cracked Mug next door. There were three men in the tavern, clustered around the bar. None of them seemed to notice the door opening. Lightstep and Opalent then decided the prudent course of action was to retire from the scene, closing the door behind them.

The party then retired for the night, with the males in one room and the two females Falafela and Opalent in another room, while Flenda and Gwenette slept in their own beds at their parents’ home. Since none of the males of the party quite trusted Jorgio and Fredo, the other guys took turns staying awake “on watch” to make sure none of their possessions vanished in the night. They were all glad to have beds to sleep in after having hiked 25 miles or so during the day’s journey to Crystal Shores, and except when on guard duty, they all slept quite soundly.

— The Dungeon Master

Getting to Know the Rescued Captives

Monday, December 21st, 2015

After their third adventure at Losnoth, the party returned to Breathy Footsore’s inn near the citadel of Elwood the Blue.

Days #2-17 through #2-22 (Waterday, 17th Thawmist, through Waterday, 2nd Dewsnap): Once back at Breathy’s inn, most of the party stayed in their two cabins, with the women, Falafela, Opalent, and their guests, Flenda and Gwenette, staying in the nicer of the two cabins, while Lightstep, Vandin, and Vox shared the more run-down cabin with Persis and Tureg. Since the party didn’t totally trust the two brothers they rescued, Jorgio and Fredo bunked upstairs in the dormitory at Breathy’s inn. On 18th Thawmist, Elwood interviewed the party, and was interested to hear about the large stone idol in the sacrifice room. Pangborn left Elwood’s citadel on the next supply wagon that returned to Popinjay so he could give his personal report to Hawkmoon. Tureg slowly regained his strength, and by the 2nd Dewsnap he was in pretty good shape once again.

While the party was resting in order for Tureg to heal, Flenda and Gwenette filled in the party as to how they came to be captured by the orcs. Gwenette did most of the speaking. “We come from a village about 15 miles north of Losnoth. That village is named Crystal Shores, and it is on the south shore of a lake named Crystal Lake which is just south of the Marshes of Rust. The lake is not that large, but is a wide spot in the south branch of the River Bushkill that flows to the River Trollhraun, which itself flows to the Winedark Sea. Flenda and I decided to go berry and herb and mushroom gathering in the nearby Alder Thicket, which are some thick woods to the southeast of our village. Some folks call it a jungle. Anyway, it was a nice spring day a couple of weeks ago, and although my sister and I are skilled in the use of swords and such, we decided there would be no danger to us, so we took no weapons with us. Hah! That was our mistake. We wandered into the woods around mid-morning, when suddenly we were surrounded by eight orcs. We were astonished to see them in the daylight, but seeing as we had a thick canopy of tree leaves over us, the light was not strong and so it bothered not the orcs. We were quickly bound and marched through the woods to the south, then made a camp at the edge of the forest until dusk.”

Gwenette continued, “When it got dark enough the orcs blindfolded us, then marched us to the west. They probably thought we wouldn’t know which way we were headed, but since we were out of the trees it had to be to the west as the other three directions would have all been still in the trees. Finally, we were marched up a hill covered with rock rubble, then down into the dungeon. Although still blindfolded, we could tell we were underground as footsteps echoed off of the hard rock walls in the corridors. After a number of turns, we were finally shoved into the room in which you found me.”

Both girls then spoke of the long hours and days spent in the room, when finally a party of orcs came and fetched Flenda, after having first given her the white silk gown and white slippers to wear. They marched her off to the sacrificial chamber, tied her down, and were preparing a ritual sacrifice. Flenda then said, “I was trying to uphold my heritage of being descended from a tribe of fierce warriors, and tried to maintain my silence, but when it looked like I was well and truly doomed, I let out a yell like I was trying to summon any nearby kin to my aid. Then a miracle happened as the next thing I knew some unknown party was laying into the orcs and felling them about. Then a tall elven princess, at least I thought she was a princess, cut the ropes that bound me to the altar. But aarrggghhh! The orcs were already all slain. Oh, but I wanted to pay them back dearly! But at least I got the ears as a trophy from one of them!” Flenda chuckled as she mentioned gathering the ears.

During this period of resting, Flenda took time to carefully preserve those orc ears, drying them in the sun, even salting them from a supply of salt she obtained from one of Breathy Footsore’s daughters, Shannowy. Flenda also begged a new set of clothing from Shannowy, as Flenda did not want to go around wearing the white gown she was rescued in all of the time as she did not get to recover her own garments from Losnoth when she was rescued. Flenda also got some leather from a soldier at Elwood’s citadel, and she fashioned a belt to wear. And on the belt she fastened those orc ears by poking holes in the tops of the ears and tying them to the belt with some leather cord.

All the while, while waiting for Tureg to heal, Flenda and Gwenette were chafing at the bit to return to their home, but Elwood wisely talked them out of trying to travel alone, mentioning the known hunting leopards in the area, not to mention that if they had been captured by orcs in the wilderness once, they could be captured the same way again. The sisters did mention they were unarmed the first time, but were now armed with swords and wouldn’t be easily taken the next time. The party was willing to escort the girls to their home, of course, but did not want to leave Tureg behind.

Fredo and Jorgio talked a little about themselves, too. They said they had been taken under similar circumstances, although their village, Jungala (pronounced with a long “u”), was about 10 miles to the southeast of Losnoth, as far as they could reckon. Their village was right on the verge of a more southern part of the Alder Thicket, and the two brothers had gone into the woods to check on some animal traps as they were both apprentice fur-trappers. They had also been suddenly surrounded by about nine or ten orcs, bound, and marched to the dungeon at Losnoth. They had been armed with daggers, but quickly realized the folly it would have been to match their two daggers against five times as many swords. While the brothers were both keen to send word to their village of their whereabouts, they did seem content to pass the days near Breathy’s in the company of Flenda and Gwenette, in particular. In didn’t take too much talking by Elwood to convince the brothers to not try to venture home by themselves either, but rather to wait until the other members of the party could escort them to their home.

While the party was taking this break, the month changed from Thawmist to Dewsnap. Using Balozkinar’s Corrected Commoners Calendar, each month has exactly 20 days, divided into four weeks of five days each. The days of the week are, in order, Airday, Waterday, Earthday, Fireday, and Spiritday. The calendar allows for no “week-ends” as are known in some other areas. Also, at the end of the year is an End of Year Festival of usually five days, although it will have six days during a leap year. Then the New Year begins on the Vernal Equinox, when spring starts. Thawmist and Dewsnap are two of the spring months, followed by Flowerbloom and Sweetrain.

— The Dungeon Master

Third Time at Losnoth: Will it be a Charm?

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Just in case someone just stumbled upon this blog, you should know that the stories related are all fantasy. They are the adventures of a bunch of fictional characters in the role-playing game of Dungeons & Dragons. Just so you know. And now, on with the latest adventure installment….

Day #2-16 (Airday, 16th Thawmist, 4333 BCCC): Once again, Falafela, Lightstep, Opalent, Vandin Lakesplitter, Vox the Just, and Persis and Tureg, departed their cabins next to Breathy Footsore’s inn and headed to the northeast towards the ruins of Losnoth. This time, though, they had an extra human in the party, the cleric Pangborn, who had been sent from Hawkmoon’s citadel near Popinjay to get a first-hand account of what was at Losnoth. Pangborn came well equipped, wearing chainmail and carrying a small shield. He was armed with a footman’s mace and a sling, and had many accoutrements such as a backpack, a wineskin (containing water), a hooded lantern, five flasks of oil, a rope, and belladonna, garlic, and wolvesbane. Pangborn appeared to be quite young, and it appeared that none of his equipment had been used in any previous fights. But the party was glad to have another body along, if only to use as a “meatshield” for their magic-user Opalent.

After the 10-mile hike, the party arrived at the ruins of Losnoth. The party quickly ascended the steep 60-foot high hill and then descended the south stairwell into the dungeon, which was the same stairwell they had used during their previous visit seven days ago. They did also note in passing that the stairwell they had used during their first visit was still blocked off with rocks as it was during their most recent visit.

This time they moved quickly through the foyer with the two orc warrior statues on guard at the bottom of the stairs and opened the door in the wall on the far side of the foyer. Inside that door was a 20’ x 20’ room that had two wooden doors on the far side wall. It seemed to have been a waiting room of some sort at one time as it had two padded sofas in it. The cushions looked to have at one time been covered with a rich, red fabric, but now they were badly worn and soiled. On the left side wall hung the remnants of a picture frame, but whatever picture it may have once contained was long gone.

The party continued their explorations by opening the door on the left on the far wall. They found it be to a cloakroom off the waiting room. There were rows of pegs along all of its walls, and indeed there were still four old, tattered, black cloaks hanging on four of the pegs. A quick examination of the cloaks revealed them to be quite useless; they looked as if they would rip even more if anyone tried to use them to haul any coins, for example. They were left in place.

The party then checked out the worn and stained red fabric cushions on the sofas in the waiting room. Falafela, in particular, checked every inch of the cushions, pressing her hands on the cushions trying to determine if any items were hidden within the cushions. Nothing was found.

The party then opened the door to the right, and found more hallways on the other side. After a 10-foot straight part, the hall went to the left and to the right. Scouting quickly to the left showed that the hall turned to its left, then dead-ended after 10 more feet. So the party then went to the right. Immediately upon turning right, the hall came to a four-way intersection. Dead-ahead and to the right were dead-ends after 10 feet, but there was a real hallway to the left. Taking that hallway, the party had to turn 90 degrees to the left after 20 feet, then after another 10 feet of travel they entered a five-way intersection. It was a sort of X-shaped intersection, and their hallway entered the X between two of the X’s legs.

Investigating that five-way intersection, the group found that the two left-side hallways each dead-ended after ten feet. The far diagonal right-side hallway went about 20 feet and then there was a stone stairway leading up. But after only about 10 feet up, large rocks and boulders that had been dumped down from above blocked all the rest of the way on those stairs. The party briefly discussed if this was the initial stairs they had descended upon their first visit to Losnoth, but quickly discarded the idea as the original stairway had a pit trap at its bottom, and then the hall from those original stairs led directly into the dining hall. The party also wondered how many other stairways might exist to the surface, and how many of them were blocked off.

The party then had no choice but to take the near right-side passage that bent sharply back from the hallway they had entered the intersection from. That hallway went straight for about 20 feet, then made a gentle curve to the left. There was then a door in their path, but it was partly open. Peeking through the door and shining a torch, they recognized that they were back in the dining hall. They also realized they were entering the dining hall from the same door a party of orcs used to battle the adventurers during their last visit to Losnoth. Realizing that, they made sure to watch their back trail to ensure no orcs snuck up on them.

They then took the right side passage out of the dining hall, which was in the middle of the hourglass shaped narrow part of the room (the now blocked stairway they originally used to enter Losnoth was to their left), and sent Falafela to take a peek down the hallway to their right. The party knew that the left hallway led to the trophy room that they had visited before, so they did not go in that direction. Falafela crept carefully down the hall, then found the hall turned to the left and widened to about 20 feet in width. Edging her way along about 30 feet of wall, keeping her back glued to the wall, she could see into a large, circular chamber with a domed ceiling. The chamber may have been as much as 100 feet in diameter, and the center of the domed ceiling seemed about 25 feet high. The chamber also seemed to be dimly illuminated by some sort of artificial light. Falafela saw several orcs with their backs to her, and the orcs were looking at a large stone idol that was in a sitting position. That idol also had an open mouth and large fangs within that mouth, with what looked like dried bloodstains around the mouth. There was a fuming brazier between the altar and the idol. Falafela edged her way back to her companions and was going to suggest the party should go a different direction when the party heard a human female scream coming from the circular chamber. It was then evident that the orcs were planning a sacrifice.

The party then went into battle mode, sneaking up on the pre-occupied orcs. Although the party had to maneuver around some wooden benches between them and the orcs, fortunately the orcs all had their attention focused on their intended victim who was tied to a blood-stained stone altar. The orcs were also making a fair amount of noise with some sort of a ritual chant. Suddenly Persis, Tureg, Vandin, and Vox struck surprise blows to the rear rank of orcs. At the same time, Opalent launched her Magic Missile spell that severely wounded an orc in the front row, although not felling it. Then the melee was on. Lightstep and Pangborn also entered the fray before it was all over. Tureg was wounded and knocked unconscious by the orcs, but Falafela dragged him out of harm’s way and bound his wounds. Also during the melee, Opalent ran around the orcs and cut the captive’s rope bonds. Just about the time the captive was freed, the last of the nine orcs took a permanent nap. The captive was clothed in a white silk gown with small white cloth slippers, and she revealed her name was Flenda. Before she thanked the party for saving her, though, she quickly picked up a sword from one of the fallen orcs and cut both its ears off! She was furious she hadn’t been able to join in the battle to kill some of the orcs who were about to kill her! She also then donned a set of scale mail armor from one of the dead orcs.

With Tureg sorely wounded, the party was ready to leave the dungeon in order to get the fallen Tureg back to Elwood’s citadel as soon as possible, but Flenda announced she wasn’t going to leave the dungeon until she found her imprisoned sister, Gwenette. So, the party agreed to help find and free the sister. While Falafela, Persis, and Vox stayed with Tureg in the center of the chamber, the others followed Flenda towards where Flenda believed her sister was being held. The party took a wide hallway out of the sacrificial chamber just past the idol’s right ear, then quickly turned left and then back to the right. Flenda led the party down this corridor that had three stone columns down its centerline to an orc barracks room where there were eight orcs sleeping in four bunk beds. The party still wanted to leave, but Flenda shushed the party and boldly entered the room and started slitting the throats of the sleeping orcs with her prize sword. Then Opalent joined in the slaughter with her dagger, and soon the eight orcs would dream no more. Lightstep and Vandin were too short to reach the orcs sleeping in the top bunks, not to mention that they were not armed with any edged weapons, so they would have had difficulty in silently slaying sleeping orcs, so they didn’t join in the dispatching of the orcs. Afterwards Vandin marveled at how bloodthirsty was Flenda!

There were two doors showing on the far wall of the barracks room, and the right-hand door was padlocked. The party quickly found some keys hanging on the wall between a pair of bunk beds, and they found one of the keys unlocked that padlock. When they opened the door, however, instead of finding Gwenette, they found a pair of human brothers, Jorgio and Fredo. The brothers quickly availed themselves of two orc short swords and leather armor. Once again, the party was ready to depart, but Flenda would have none of it. She was sure there was a secret door along one wall, so finally Vandin and Pangborn with their hammer and mace, respectively, soon bashed in the secret door, thus freeing Gwenette to reunite her with her sister Flenda. Gwenette also took a set of leather armor and a short sword and scabbard from a peg on the wall that was between two bunk beds.

Now the party decided it truly was time to depart, with haste. They quickly retraced their steps to the sacrificial chamber where, to their relief, they found all of their compatriots waiting for them. Jorgio and Fredo graciously offered to carry the unconscious Tureg out of the dungeon. Once out of the dungeon, the party retraced their path the long 10 miles back to Elwood’s citadel.

Experience points: Monsters killed: 17 orcs (10 XP each, plus 1 XP per HP) = 17 * 10 + 93 HP = 263 XP. These are divided into two batches. The first 9 orcs were dispatched by the original party members only, so only those party members will claim credit for their 136 experience points. The second group of 8 orcs was dispatched with the help of Flenda, so she will share in the 127 experience points along with all original party members except Tureg (who was unconcious at the time).

The party didn’t find any treasure on this trip. They had barely entered the dungeon when they got involved in the melee with the orcs in the sacrificial chamber. However, since the party did the right thing in rescuing the prisoners, especially by rescuing Flenda just before she was to meet her fate, the wise and benevolent dungeon master awarded 25 XP per victim rescued, making a total of 100 XP. These points are only divided amongst the original party members.

The party did also retrieve four short swords and scabbards (worth 8 GP each, or 32 GP total), a set of scale mail (worth 45 GP), and three sets of leather armor (worth 5 GP each, or 15 GP total). The total worth of salvaged weapons and armor was thus 92 GP. That total also gets added to experience. However, the scale mail and one short sword that was claimed by Flenda will get split among the original party plus Flenda (53 GP worth), while the remaining 29 GP value for 3 sets of leather armor and 3 short swords will get divided amongst all of the original party members except Tureg (who was unconsicous by this time), but adding in Flenda, Fredo, Jorgio, and Gwenette.

Total experience points = 263 + 100 + 92 = 455. This was divided by a complicated formula, and when all was said and done, these were the awarded XP: Falafela 67 XP; Lightstep 67; Opalent 67; Vandin 67; Vox 74 (includes his 10% bonus for high strength); Pangborn 37 (includes a 10% bonus for high wisdom); Persis 33; Tureg 22; Flenda 15; Fredo 2; Gwenette 2; Jorgio 2.

Total accumulated experience points: Lightstep 486; Vandin Lakesplitter 457; Falafela 447; Opalent 447; Persis 223; Tureg 212; Vox the Just 178; Pangborn 37; Flenda 15; Fredo 2; Gwenette 2; Jorgio 2.

— The Dungeon Master

PS Originally, the Dungeon Master forgot to calculate in the value of the weapons and armor retrieved from the dungeon, but now those values have been added in and experience point (XP) values adjusted.

Another Rest Period at Breathy’s

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Days #2-10 through #2-15 (Spiritday, 10th Thawmist, through Spiritday, 15th Thawmist, 4333 BCCC): Since their recent return from Losnoth, the party of Falafela, Lightstep, Opalent, Vandin Lakesplitter, Vox the Just, along with their dwarf pals Persis and Tureg, rested in the two cabins near Breathy’s inn near the citadel of Elwood the Blue. They put in orders through Elwood for the supply wagon from Popinjay to bring them some wineskins, as Falafela, Vandin, and Vox lacked any means of carrying water. Lightstep also ordered and received a sling and 12 sling bullets. This message was delivered to Popinjay by the regular messenger service between Elwood and Popinjay. When the weekly supply wagon arrived at Elwood’s citadel from Popinjay, a human cleric, Pangborn, arrived along with the ordered merchandise. Pangborn had been sent by Hawkmoon to get some first-hand experience with what was going on at Losnoth.

Also while at the cabins, the halflings Falafela and Lightstep, with help from Breathy’s daughters Gertrude and Shannowy, shortened their black cloaks that were brought back from Losnoth, as adult-length cloaks would have been too long for those two halflings.

During this interlude, a bit of game “housekeeping” took place. The characters all rolled dice for age, height, and weight, which caused some adjustments to their basic characteristics. The age rolls were as from pages 12 and 13 of the 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. Height and weight were determined from the tables on page 102 of that same DM Guide.

The Dungeon Master's venerable, well-used DM Guide

The Dungeon Master’s venerable, well-used DM Guide

  • Falafela is 44 years old (mature halfling, add 1 point each of strength and wisdom), 2’8” and 40 lbs.
  • Lightstep is 27 (young adult halfling, subtract 1 point of wisdom, add 1 point of constitution), 3’1”, 55 lbs.
  • Opalent is 167 (young adult elf, subtract 1 point of wisdom, add 1 point of constitution), 6’1”, 115 lbs.
  • Vandin is 50 (young adult dwarf, subtract 1 point of wisdom, add 1 point of constitution), 3’4”, 120 lbs.
  • Vox is 17 (young adult human, subtract 1 point of wisdom, add 1 point of constitution), 5’7”, 160 lbs.

I suppose I should explain the notation of such as “Day #2-10” etc. A long time ago (i.e., around 1980) when I DM’ed for Dungeons & Dragons, I kept a sort of journal of what days the adventurers were active. And especially because there were more than one group of adventurers, I needed to keep the chronology to keep straight what happened when. If one group went into a dungeon on day 3 and found some particular treasure and removed it from the dungeon, a different party visiting that dungeon on day 6 would not be able to find that same treasure. Back then I just called the days “day 1” or “day 5”, etc, so when I started the new campaign in 2015 I decided to preface the day numbers with “Year 2”, hence now the days are known as “Day #2-10”, and so forth.

— The Dungeon Master

Return to Losnoth

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Day #2-9 (Fireday, 9th Thawmist, 4333 BCCC): Early in the pre-dawn, Falafela, Lightstep, Opalent, Vandin Lakesplitter, along with the three remaining dwarves they met a week ago at Losnoth, Narvet, Persis, and Tureg, and their new human fighter acquaintance Vox the Just, left Elwood the Blue’s citadel and ventured to Losnoth. It was about a 10-mile hike, mostly in a northeast direction. The hiking was mostly easy as the land was flat, the spring weather cool and mild, and their route paralleled a small stream just to the south of the party.

When the party arrived at Losnoth, they climbed the steep slope to the top of the hill amid the rubble of the old castle, but they could not find the stairway they had used to descend into the dungeon on their previous visit. Or rather they found where the stairway had been, but orcs or someone else had barricaded that stairway with numerous boulders and other rockwork. The party then spread out amongst the ruins of Losnoth and soon Narvet found another stairway leading down that was about 150 feet south-southeast of the previous stairway. The party ordered themselves, lit a torch (carried by Lightstep), and descended the stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs, the party saw hallways leading to their left and to their right, and a sort of foyer directly in front of them. That foyer was about 10-foot square, and on each side of the area was a diagonal alcove with each alcove containing a stone statue of an orc warrior guarding it. The two far corners of the area had diagonal hallways leading away into the dark, and on the far wall, between those two diagonal hallways, was a door, just slightly to the right of the center of the wall. The thief, Falafela, was totally creeped out by the statues and was wondering if they had any enchantment cast upon them that might allow the statues to come to life. Opalent and Falafela checked around the statues for any tricks or traps, and were finally satisfied that they were indeed just statues. The party checked out the door on the other side of the entrance foyer, but did not open it. They also peeked down the two diagonal passageways leaving the other side of the foyer, but did not take those routes. Instead, the party proceeded down the hallway to the left of the stairs.

After a short distance, perhaps 40 feet or so, the hallway turned either right or left. The party held to the left, then turned sharply to the right. After another several minutes of turning right and left, and even in a circle once, the party realized they were in some sort of a maze. The party, particularly Opalent and Falafela, checked at several places for secret doors, but found none. The group then decided to backtrack before getting totally lost and returned to the foyer.

The party then ventured down the diagonal passage to the right. When they came to a wye intersection that veered diagonally left and right, they went to the right. Then the passage turned to the right again and they saw that the corridor ended with doors to the right and to the left. They found the left-hand door was locked, and Falafela failed to pick the lock. They then tried the right-hand door and found it opened easily. They entered what seemed to be a wizard’s laboratory, finding a large slate table with various flasks, funnels, retorts and other paraphernalia upon it, although it did not appear to have been used lately. There was also a large brass brazier near the far-right corner of the room, and the walls had some storage cabinets containing 40 jars with various items inside the jars. Opalent took some crystals out of two of the jars, also picking up and keeping three prisms from the table, as well as a 6” length of chalk. The tallest member of the party, Vox, retrieved six half-burned candles from a circular chandelier that was suspended above the table.

Next, the party investigated a door on the far side of the laboratory, finding an old burlap sack in a corner in that room. Although the sack was too rotten to carry anything, the party did find a large number of electrum pieces within the sack. There were also four black cloaks laying on the floor, and when the party went to use one of the cloaks as a sack to carry the money back into the lab in order to count and distribute, a bone tube rolled out of one of the cloaks. Deigning not to open it on the spot, lest it contain a cursed item, Opalent stashed the tube with her belongings. Opalent also claimed one of the cloaks for herself, Falafela doing likewise. Vox and Lightstep then decided to take the last two cloaks. After returning to the lab they all counted the electrum pieces and found there were 750 of them. They quickly distributed the electrum pieces (each character got 94 EP, except Lightstep who only took 93 EP), and the adventurers stashed their newfound loot in their backpacks and other paraphernalia as best they could.

The party then decided to try the locked door on the other side of the hallway. They first had Vox strike the door with his long sword, which made a loud booming sound, thus arousing something on the other side of the door. The party could hear voices on the other side of the door, but could not discern what manner of creatures were speaking. Then Vox and Vandin (with his hammer) bashed the door in with three more heavy blows. When the door splintered and was opened, the party saw seven goblins within the room. The goblins did not have any weapons or armor, and quickly made mention of the fact they were slaves of some orcs. Fortunately, most of the party (except Vox) could understand the goblin tongue. The goblins begged the party to give the goblins weapons so they could kill the orcs who had enslaved them. While the party was speaking, a loud orcish sounding voice sounded through the door on the other side of the room, asking what all the loud banging was about. The goblins yelled back that they had been fighting amongst themselves because they couldn’t stand being cooped up with one another. Besides the goblins, the party noticed a number of straw sleeping mats on the floor, and in one corner was a small wooden table and two chairs. On the table was a jar with some jerky, and also a water jug.

While the party was parleying with the goblins, in particular musing over whether to believe the goblins’ claim that there was great treasure on a lower level of the dungeon, the orcs in the next room decided to investigate. The orcs sent three of their number around to the corridor the adventurers had used to enter the goblins’ room. The party had failed to post a guard in the hall; all eight adventurers and seven goblins were crammed into the 20’ x 30’ room of the goblins. When the circumnavigating orcs arrived at the sundered door, they sent up a loud cry that was the signal for other orcs in the room on the other side of the goblins’ room to unlock and open their door and attempt to barge into the room. The cleric, Lightstep, had just extinguished his torch, so when the orcs tried to barge into the room from their barracks room, Vox was in their way. Although Vox could not see to battle the orcs in the total darkness, not having infravision, he was shoved out of the way and the dwarf Narvet stood against the orcs at that door. Another dwarf, Persis, held the orcs at bay at the sundered door. In the meantime, Lightstep was furiously trying to re-light his torch. Fortunately for the party in the room, only one orc at a time could offer battle at each of the two doorways. Persis did a fine job against the three orcs arrayed against him at his doorway, as he slew each of the orcs in turn, receiving only a minor scratch in return. At the other doorway from the orcs’ room, Narvet matched up against the orcs at first, but Narvet was fatally felled. Then Vandin Lakesplitter bounded into the fray, not only barring entrance to the orcs, but also hammering them severely. After Vandin pounded three orcs to their doom, the other orcs beat a hasty retreat out of the other side of their room.

The party quickly reached a decision to not pursue the fleeing orcs, calculating that the orcs knew their way around the dungeon far better than the party, and also that if the party was to quickly pursue they would not be able to map their way through the dungeon, and could become lost. Not to mention that they didn’t know how many more orcs would or could arrive as reinforcements. The party quickly looked into the orcs’ 30’ x 40’ room, finding 10 bunk-beds (20 total bunks) and 20 footlockers that were either on the floor at the end of a bunk-bed or else under the bottom bunks. There were also 11 sets of leather armor hanging on pegs near the beds. (When the orcs investigated the commotion in the goblins’ room, they hadn’t taken the time to don their armor, figuring the noise would probably amount to nothing.) The party thought about checking the contents of the footlockers, but decided that orcs probably didn’t have much personal treasure and that they shouldn’t tarry in the neighborhood any longer. The party ordered the goblins to stay behind for five minutes after the adventurers left, lest the party have to slay the goblins. The party left the 6 dead orcs’ short-swords for the goblins to use to either fight the orcs or to make their way to freedom. The party did not see the goblins again after that.

The party then retraced their steps with haste, heading back to the diagonal passage and then leaving through the foyer and up the stairway. They also carried the dead body of the brave dwarf, Narvet, with them. They were also able to bring Narvet’s armor, arms, and possessions with them. Along the way back, some party members thought that Vandin should change his surname from Lakesplitter to Orcsplitter. Although, to be true, Vandin didn’t so much as split orcs, instead he literally bashed their brains out. After that, the party trudged the long 10 miles back to Elwood’s citadel, where Elwood questioned them about their encounter. He wanted to know how many orcs the party had met, or if any other creatures were encountered. Elwood’s ears picked up when the party mentioned they had found some black cloaks. Elwood asked if there was a red insignia of a burning eye on the cloaks, but the party replied that they were just plain black cloaks. The wizard’s laboratory also piqued Elwood’s interest. Elwood mentioned how the evil wizard, Lareth, had orchestrated an attack upon the village of Hommlet a number of years ago, but that Lareth had escaped and had not been seen since.

After burying Narvet alongside his previously fallen companions Arwarr, Firmil, and Hucid, the adventurers settled into the two abandoned cabins near Breathy’s inn, there to rest up and plan for further adventures. The cleric Lightfoot also cast Detect Magic (the item was magical) and Detect Evil (no evil was detected) upon the bone tube before Opalent opened it to view the contents. When the tube was opened, the contents were revealed to be two magic-user scrolls, one holding a Hold Portal spell, the other was a Jump spell.

Experience points: Monsters killed: 6 orcs (10 XP each, plus 1 XP per HP) = 6 * 10 + 30 HP = 90 XP. Although the party let the goblins go instead of killing them, they will still receive their XP for that (because good characters shouldn’t go around killing unarmed, sentient creatures!). 7 goblins (10 XP each, plus 1 XP per hit point) = 7 * 10 + 30 HP = 100 XP. Treasure: 750 EP, 4 cloaks (worth 5 SP each, or 1 GP total) = 376 GP equivalent. The party also found two magic scrolls, Hold Portal and Jump, but will not receive XP for them unless they are sold.

Total experience points: 90 + 100 + 375 + 1 = 566 XP total. This needs to be divided by five regular characters (each gets a full share) and two non-player characters (each gets a half-share). This makes 12 half-shares to be divided, so 566 / 12 = 47 XP per half-share (Persis and Tureg), or 94 XP per full share (Falafela and Opalent). The cleric Lightstep and the fighter Vox get a 10% XP bonus, so they earned 104 XP. Vandin Lakesplitter also earned a 10% bonus for excellent play of his dwarven fighter and thus also received 104 XP.

Treasure division: 750 EP (107 each, 1 remainder)

  • Falafela: cloak (5 SP), 107 EP
  • Lightstep: cloak (5 SP), 107 EP (must tithe 10% to deity, so must tithe 11 EP)
  • Opalent: cloak (5 SP), 107 EP, also 3 prisms, crystals, chalk
  • Vandin Lakesplitter: 107 EP
  • Vox the Just: cloak (5 SP), 107 EP
  • Persis: 107 EP
  • Tureg: 107 EP

Total accumulated experience points: Lightstep 419; Vandin Lakesplitter 390; Falafela 380; Opalent 380; Persis 190; Tureg 190; Vox the Just 104.

— The Dungeon Master

Resting up at the Inn of Breathy Footsore

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Here is more of the continuing saga of some new Dungeons & Dragons adventurers.

Days #2-2 through #2-8 (Waterday, 2nd Thawmist through Earthday, 8th Thawmist, 4333 BCCC): The adventurers Falafela, Lightstep, Opalent, and Vandin Lakesplitter, after their harrowing adventure at Losnoth, rested at the inn of Breathy Footsore. The inn has a sign that just said “EAT” and was about 100 yards north of the citadel of Elwood the Blue. There was a 20-foot by 20-foot barn just to the north of the inn, and about 50 yards to the west of the inn were two small cabins. Breathy, a widower, lives at his small inn/tavern with his two daughters, Gertrude and Shannowy. Gertrude is 16, and a stocky brunette. She favors her father. Shannowy is slim, blonde, and 17 years old. Breathy also employs a cook, Petey One-eye, a fighter who lost his left eye in a battle about 10 years previous. Petey wears a pirate-style patch over his missing eye. Breathy himself is overweight and is going bald, but has a jolly disposition. He is always short of breath, and any sort of physical exertion would probably give him a heart attack. He did offer a discount to the party if they helped out by chopping firewood and fetching water from the well, and able-bodied members of the party took advantage of that discount.

When the party arose the day after getting back from Losnoth (on 2nd Thawmist), they met a human fighter, Vox the Just, during breakfast at the inn. Vox seemed keen on joining the party for a share of any treasure found.

After breakfast on 2nd Thawmist, Opalent, Falafela and Lightstep went to speak with Elwood at his citadel. Elwood’s citadel was constructed of cut limestone and was arranged in the shape of a 6-pointed star, a little more than 100 feet from one point to its diagonally opposite point. There were two wooden gates, one on the north side and another to the south. In the center of the citadel was the keep, a circular tower 30 feet in diameter and about 35 feet tall. The party were escorted into the tower, and up a circular stone staircase to the third level, noting that the ground floor of the tower contained quite an armory. The 2nd floor contained sleeping quarters for Elwood’s troops. All of Elwood’s guards wore medium-blue tunics emblazoned with a yellow, olde-English style “E” over their armor. Their shields were also decorated in the same manner.

Elwood knew the party had been at Losnoth, and asked what they had encountered there. He asked how many orcs they had encountered, in particular. After hearing the party’s story, and how they lost three of their party, he offered some troops to help dig graves for the fallen near the inn. Elwood then told the party why he was at this particular citadel. He related that his post was to guard against any hostile infiltrations, particularly orcs, from the north or east. This was to help protect the villages of Finsbury Fields and Popinjay to the west. He mentioned that he usually gets messages from Popinjay every few days, and a supply wagon makes a journey from Popinjay to Elwood’s citadel about once a week or so. Elwood said he has been asked to do more active patrolling, but he says he didn’t have nearly enough men to send out strong patrols and also protect the citadel. In particular, Elwood said he would like to send a strong force to clean out Losnoth once and for all, but he couldn’t afford to lose any men in attempting that task, so he dared not risk it.

Elwood also mentioned that he was looking for his long lost brother, Jacob the Blue. He asked if the party ever came across him to try to bring Jacob back to Elwood, or at least to try to send word or where they may have encountered Jacob. Elwood described Jacob as being about three inches shorter and 50 pounds heavier than himself, and having dark, wavy hair.

In the next several following days, while Vandin (in particular) and the others were regaining their strength, they spoke more with Breathy. Breathy mentioned how the party could stay at the two cabins instead of just sleeping in the cots in his dormitory-style room in the upstairs of his inn. The party did do just that. Of the two cabins, each was only about 10-feet by 12-feet in size. Each had a 4’ x 4’ table with 4 chairs, a small fireplace, and a few old iron cooking pots and utensils, but no beds. One of the cabins was sort of run down, but the other was in pretty good shape, although unoccupied. Breathy mentioned that the cabins were both occupied until a few weeks ago, but the occupants just up and left in the middle of the night. Breathy said he also used to keep some pigs in the pigpen behind one of the cabins, but the pigs all vanished on a different night. Breathy also related that business had really dropped off lately, and there weren’t many travelers coming by his place. He was thinking of just letting the inn go and moving back to Popinjay.

Toward the end of the party’s rest period, Elwood mentioned that his lookouts had noticed four humans (it appeared) heading east. Those travelers were about two miles north of Elwood’s citadel when they were spotted. Elwood thought the party would want to know about those others.

So, the party finished out the week in the two cabins, letting the two females, Falafela and Opalent, have the nicer of the two cabins, while Vandin, Lightstep, Narvet, Persis and Tureg stayed in the lesser cabin. Vox continued to bunk at the inn for now. Falafela also cut down the high, hard boots to better fit her halfling size.

–The Dungeon Master

A First Adventure

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

OK, so shortly after Christmas 2014, I got together with some friends, and I had them generate characters (only allowing the basic characters of fighter, cleric, magic-user, and thief for their 1st ever D&D characters). I was using 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules, and had prepared handouts for each player to help them with player creation. As a Dungeon Master (DM), I have players generate characters by rolling three 6-sided dice (3d6) six times, recording all six numbers (which are all between 3 and 18 inclusive), then they can apply the numbers to whichever characteristic they want to help create the type of character they want to play. If after rolling the six basic numbers they don’t seem strong enough for a character, I allow the player to re-roll all six numbers.

Finally, when the player is satisfied with the rolls and has distributed them into strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, and charisma, I have them roll for their starting hit points. Then after that, they roll for their starting money according to their character class. After all that, I allow each character one “Mulligan” where they can re-roll any of the characteristics, or their starting hit points, or their starting money. If the Mulligan roll is higher than the roll it is replacing, the player uses the new number. If the Mulligan roll is equal to or lower than the original number, they keep the original number.

Sounds simple, right? Of course, the first time players generate characters, having never played D&D or any sort of other Fantasy Role-Playing Game (FRPG), they are not really sure what the numbers will be used for.

Next, players use their money to outfit their character with arms, armor, and accessories (such as wineskins, backpacks, etc.). Then after all of that, it’s off to a dungeon for adventure! So, here is how things went for their first adventure. I used a dungeon I created back around 1980 or so named “Losnoth.” Although that dungeon had been depleted by characters I DM’ed for way back around 1980, it was suddenly re-stocked for this new group of adventurers.

Day #2-1 (Airday, 1st Thawmist, 4333 BCCC): Note that this adventure begins on the 1st day of a new year, the year being 4333 BCCC, which stands for Balozkinar’s Corrected Commoners Calendar. The month is Thawmist, and the 1st day of the year is also the 1st day of the week, the day being Airday. Roughly translated to “real life,” the day would be the equivalent of the vernal equinox, i.e., the first day of spring, roughly on or about March 20. This is all taken from the Judges Guild Wilderlands D&D supplements.

Vandin Lakesplitter (male dwarf fighter, chainmail, small shield, hammer), Opalent (female elf magic-user, no armor, dagger), Lightstep (male halfling cleric, ringmail, small shield, hammer), and Falafela (female halfling thief, leather armor, dagger) had journeyed to the destroyed castle of Losnoth. The rubble of the former castle sat upon a hill that is about 60 feet high, with a steep slope up any side of about 30 degrees. Atop the rubble, after a short search the party found a staircase leading down to the underground area, but at the bottom of the stairs they found a 10-foot deep pit, with sharp spikes at the bottom of the pit and with two human-sized skeletons lying in the bottom of the pit. Since all members of the party had infravision, they were glad they had lighted a torch instead of relying on their infravision as they would have tumbled into the pit as it was the same temperature as the rest of its surroundings. The party quickly used their 10-foot pole and rope to rig a sort of bridge connecting the two existing spikes on either side of the pit that had been driven into seams in the rock wall at some time previous to the party’s arrival. The party was then able to cross the pit without incident or injury.

After crossing the pit, the party found themselves in an hourglass shaped banquet hall or dining room. The room was about 80 feet from left to right, and most of the room was about 50 feet across, except the party came into the middle of the room from one side where the “waist” of the room was only about 30 feet across. In the left lobe of the room were four formerly fine mahogany tables, each measuring about 6 feet wide by 12 feet long. There were also eight chairs of similar construction around each table. But all of the tables and chairs had much graffiti carved into them, so they wouldn’t have any salvage value. There were also racks around the walls in the left side of the room that contained various eating utensils, mostly earthen plates, bowls, and cups along with crudely fashioned metal knives, forks, and spoons of low value. All together, there were about 20 place settings on the racks. In the right side of the room were a pair of large padded sofas that were covered with a formerly rich, red fabric that was now deeply soiled and tattered. There were two low coffee-style tables in front of the sofas, but those tables were also deeply carved with graffiti.

Before proceeding any further, the party took one of the 12-foot long tables from the banquet hall and used it to bridge the pit at the bottom of the stairs in case they would have to make a hasty retreat. The party also retrieved their rope from the improvised bridge across the pit. The adventurers peeked down the right passageway that led out of the dining room, but instead exited through the passage that was straight across from where they had entered the room. They were in a hallway that went to the left and to the right; they decided to go left. After 30 feet or so, the hall curved gently to the left, like it was following the curved corner wall of the room they had just exited, and they came upon a wooden door at the end of the hall.

The party found the door opened easily, and once they all passed through the door they found they were in an irregularly shaped trophy room. The room was about 40 feet across, with the left side long wall being about 60 feet long, the right side long wall about 30 feet long, then it moved diagonally towards the other wall. There was a row of five support columns made of smooth granite in the left side of the room, and three similar support columns in the right side of the room. There were plaques of coats-of-arms on the columns. There were also 11 animal head trophies on the walls: two bulls; three leopards; two goats; three boars; and a unicorn head. In about the middle of the room, between the rows of columns, was a 10-foot square rug that was surrounded by a wooden frame. While the rest of the party were debating about whether or not the rug was in fact a trap (none of them were willing to test it), Falafela quickly took the unicorn horn from the unicorn head and stashed it in her backpack. She knew it was an excellent antidote to any sort of poison as long as it was in her possession.

The party then crossed the trophy room (while avoiding the rug) to its diagonal far corner, where there were diagonal hallways to the left and right. Before taking either hallway, they found a secret door in the middle of a long wall through the efforts of Opalent. They opened the secret door, with the dwarven fighter Vandin Lakesplitter entering first, and encountered six dwarven fighters of Firmil’s adventuring party (the others were Arwarr, Hucid, Narvet, Persis, and Tureg, and they were armed with four axes, some hammers and a mace, and a couple of swords and a light and a heavy crossbow, all armored with chainmail and shields) within, as those other dwarves had been resting in that room. Vandin and Firmil’s group quickly struck up a friendship and agreed to co-operate in the interest of killing orcs. They also agreed that any treasure they already owned was theirs (Firmil had already claimed a candlestick worth about 10 gold pieces from the room), but that they would split any future treasure amongst the now 10 adventurers equally.

Besides the adventuring dwarves, Vandin, Lightstep, Opalent, and Falafela found a fine bed, table, chair, and nightstand in the room, as well as a wooden wardrobe cabinet. There were some papers on the table, but they all had writing in a strange tongue that nobody could decipher. There were some clothing items in the wardrobe, and Falafela and Opalent each found a pair of high, hard boots that fit them, each pair of boots being worth about 2 gold pieces (GP). Falafela, being only 2’8” tall, would have to get the boots cut down in height before they would be truly useful. And although she was a halfling, she said she preferred to wear boots instead of going barefoot when adventuring in strange dungeons because boots would protect her feet.

The now enlarged party left the bedroom through a regular door in the opposite side of the room from the secret door. Firmil said none of his party had been aware of the secret door until the other party had entered and caught them by surprise. Outside the bedroom was a four-way intersection, with a long hall leading to the left, and apparent dead ends to the right and straight across. Just as the group went down the (40-foot) long hallway, the suddenly encountered 5 patrolling orcs who were coming up the passageway to that four-way intersection. While all 5 orcs were quickly killed in the fight (orc Hit Points (HP): 1, 3, 2, 1, 4), Vandin Lakesplitter was wounded severely; losing 5 of his 6 hit points. Cleric Lightstep had to cast two Cure Light Wounds spells to cure the damage to Vandin, using both of his known spells of that type. Falafela was able to up-arm herself by claiming one of the short swords from one of the dead orcs, as she had only been equipped with a dagger beforehand. The party also dragged the dead orcs into the bedroom rather than leave them lying in the hallway.

Now the party was feeling lucky, and they went back to the four-way intersection. After a quick examination of the hallway that was straight across from the entrance to the bedroom, another secret door was found. Vandin then opened that secret door and was quickly attacked by a giant rat! Vandin just as quickly dispatched the rat with a mighty swing from his hammer (giant rat 2 HP) without getting bitten. This room was apparently a storeroom, and had much junk piled in it, including rusty scrap iron, broken barrels, some old linen and assorted other junk. The party then searched through the debris in the room and found a locked iron-reinforced wooden chest that had been hidden by that old linen. After Falafela checked for any traps, she was unable to pick the lock, so Vandin bashed the chest open with his war hammer. They found a large number of electrum pieces (EP) and platinum pieces (PP) in the chest. They wrapped the coins into some of the old linens from that room, then took it back to the bedroom so they could use the table in there for counting and equal division of the coins. The haul amounted to 750 EP and 100 PP. Firmil detailed Persis and Tureg to keep watch in the corridor while the coins were being counted. Then, as a couple of the dwarves from Firmil’s party had taken some damage in the battle with the orcs, and seeing as how the only cleric (Lightstep) in the party had no more Cure Light Wounds spells, the party agreed to leave the dungeon and then return at a following date.

The party then left through the four-way intersection, through the hall in which they had fought the orcs, then turned left, proceeded a short way, then turned right just about where the secret door to the bedroom was, and re-entered the trophy room. Instead of leaving the way they had entered the trophy room, they found another door that opened directly into the dining room. But just when they entered the dining room and were working their way past the three remaining dining tables, a party of 7 orcs entered that room from the opposite entrance to that room. A pitched battle ensued in the middle of the room. Opalent quickly launched her only spell, Magic Missile, which inflicted 4 HP on an orc, although not killing it. While all 7 orcs were eventually slain in the battle, dwarves Arwarr, Firmil, and Hucid were also killed, testifying to the fierceness of the short battle. During the melee, Vandin was gravely wounded and fell unconscious, and Opalent dragged Vandin out of the fray amidst swinging weapons to administer first aid by binding Vandin’s wounds. The thief, Falafela, was able to sneak around the orcs and got in a good backstab on one orc, inflicting 4 HP of damage. Falafela attempted to perform a couple more backstabs, but other dwarves or the cleric Lightstep killed the other orcs before Falafela could strike again.

The party was originally going to take the leather armor and short swords of the orcs they killed in the hallway previously so they could try to sell them in town, but now since they only had six relatively healthy adventurers and three dead dwarves and one unconscious dwarf to take back to civilization with them, they had to leave all of the orcs’ swords and leather armor behind (except, of course, for Falafela’s trophy sword). The surviving dwarves of Firmil’s party also had to leave their extra weapons behind in the interest of saving weight carried, and they also left behind the armor and shields of the deceased dwarves. Now the party used haste to leave before more orcs might appear, as the group was in no shape for another battle. The party was able to cross the table-bridge across the pit at the foot of the stairs, then climbed the stairs and exited the dungeon. They then made the long 10-mile trek back to Elwood the Blue’s castle without further incident, although it was a long march what with carrying the three dead and one unconscious dwarf.

Experience points (XP): Monsters killed: 12 orcs (10 XP each, plus 1 XP per HP) = 12 * 10 + 47 HP = 167 XP; 1 giant rat (7 XP, plus 1 XP per HP) = 7 + 2 HP = 9 XP. Treasure: Unicorn horn worth 500 GP; gold candlestick worth 10 GP; short sword and scabbard worth 8 GP; two pairs of high, hard boots, each pair worth 2 GP (4 GP total) plus 750 EP (375 GP equivalent) and 100 PP (500 GP equivalent).

Total experience points: 167 + 9 + 500 + 10 + 8 + 4 + 375 + 500 = 1573 XP total. This needs to be divided by four regular characters (each gets a full share) and three non-player characters (each gets a half-share). This makes 11 half-shares to be divided, so 1573 / 11 = 143 XP per half-share (Narvet, Persis, and Tureg), or 286 XP per full share (Falafela, Opalent, Vandin Lakesplitter). The cleric Lightfoot gets a 10% XP bonus, so he earned 315 XP.

Treasure division: 750 EP (107 each, 1 remainder), 100 PP (14 each, 2 remainder)

  • Falafela: unicorn horn (500 GP), boots (2 GP), 107 EP, 14 PP
  • Lightstep: 107 EP, 14 PP (must tithe 10% to deity, so must tithe 12.5 GP equivalent, or 25 EP),
  • Opalent: boots (2 GP), 107 EP, 14 PP
  • Vandin Lakesplitter: 107 EP, 14 PP
  • Narvet: candlestick (10 GP), 95 EP, 14 PP
  • Persis: 113 EP, 14 PP
  • Tureg: 113 EP, 14 PP

— The Dungeon Master