Monday, May 28, 2012

Random Update...

Poor neglected blog....

Being transferred for work, to a larger city about 2 hours drive away. More traffic, more expensive, but having to go over each weekend to look for a house to rent/buy. Still, lucky to have a job the way things are going...

But change is not always bad, and I'm sure things will work out, somehow...

Live Play – Three Strangers Campaign.

So managed to fit in half an adventure last week. Doesn’t happen all that often with all the pressures of middle life, but it went surprisingly well.

Dramatis personae

Kaz-hel, Northern Vulzar Barbarian, from a race famed for brutal combat, slave taking and ritual sacrifice. He was betrayed, captured, escaped and lived with plains nomads for a year, making his way southward to the Long Lake. Pale skin, white hair, and tall and strong, but think wiry tendons rather than Conan-like muscles.

Thomas, Woodsman/Explorer, from a small rural kingdom to the south west. Was learning to be a trader through the villages, until his father died and the village herbalist stole his true love. Took to wandering, and ended up with these guys.

Kalastra, Exotic sorceress from the Ghisan Lands, where fire elementals are worshipped and family is more important than law. She is the hope of her noble but impoverished clan and is searching the northern lands for power and treasure.

And the Dwarven NPC henchman, Ersk, rescued from goblin captivity by Kalastra a few adventures ago, he has gained two fighter levels and is devoted to his rescuer. 

All 3rd level at the start of this adventure, except Ersk, on 2nd.

They have been in a few missions around the Long Lake area, including the first adventure and a half of the Age of Worms adventure path. This finished when we all decided that the second adventure was too long, combat heavy and boring, so now they are travelling again.

Note – this is using Dragon Warriors rules, which are surprisingly similar to the intent and feel of OD&D.

Key differences – roll LOW to hit, rather than high; there are not many HPs to go around, so be careful; I’m using variable weapon rules, and, combined with the lack of HPs, combat can be harsh. Also, sorcerers have a pool of magic points and a list of six spells per level to choose to cast.

I’m also trying on old Dungeon Magazine adventures for ideas, although the majority require stripping back to the chassis and rebuilding to fit my system and my world.

Anyway, travelling east from the City of Mortweg, the band stopped off to weather a storm at a mid sized village, and ended up slaying a mummy, restoring a noble lineage and beating down the bad guys (“Bogged Down”, Dungeon #103).

Then onto the City of the Invincible Overlord, where they stocked up, and a barkeep recommended that they travel west then north, along lesser roads rather than the main highway to the northwest. This led then to a quiet country inn, where a cleric begged for their help…

This instalment started when I picked up Elexa's Endeavours (Dungeon #53). A cleric has returned from the Crusades and found her old uncle, alone in his keep, has, along with the keep, been captured by a band of bandits, each of whom has a reasonably detailed background and personality.

In the adventure the bandits have found the scroll that seals the keep up with an Impermeable Shield Spell, and the party must cross the forest to seek the help of a wizard named Jarrow, the uncle’s friend, to get in.

I’ve decided, in limiting functional magic, that instead of the scroll, etc, the keep is just really well secured, and they need to see the wizard about a secret entrance.

Having scouted out the keep (from a distance), they took the advice of Elexa, and headed to the forest they must cross to the wizard's tower.

Getting to the forest, they are confronted by a Chevaller, whom I have decided is one of an order of rangers in this part of the world, who hunt and destroy werewolves. This one, Sebastion, was searching out a local lair of the beasts, and, after determining through various means the party were not lycanthopes, hinted (rather directly) that the gift of enchanted arrows would allow him to aid them.

So Thomas parts with half a dozen elven arrows – magical, but one can never trust elves... and Seb leads them on a disused path through the dark woods. Except when they encounter a line of four werewolves pretending to be lost monks. Seb sees through this immediately, and starts firing arrows, and when the party get the idea (fangs, hair, etc) the battle starts.

It went well – Thomas took a scratch, Ersk lost most of his health with one blow from the leader, and things were looking dangerous until Kalastra cast 'Command' on one of the last two remaining werewolves and although it was slain, it distracted the lead werewolf long enough to kill it the next round.

Then, pausing only long enough to bind wounds and cast a heal spell on Ersk, they tracked the pack to its lair and once again engaged battle – this time relying on ranged missile and magic fire at first. The gold found in the lair was split with Seb, and he led them the rest of the way to the wizard's tower.

And, sitting on the roof, was a rather large, angry, wyvern, with 67 hit points (more than the entire party) and scales like plate armour. Battle was fierce, with the barbarian not being able to land a hit, and Ersk handing out useful damage. Eventually Kalastra's fire spells and Thomas's other quiver of magic arrows turned the tide, along with the wyvern spreading it's hits around rather than focussing on one target.

Under the wyvern was the remnants of Jarrow, the wizard. Only a foot and a hand. Turned out the wyvern had taken him by surprise, and eaten him, thus making their quest that little bit harder.

Fortunately, when entering the tower (through the use of a 'Portal' spell – I think it works the same as 'Knock' in D&D) Ersk's googles of finding allowed him to discover the secret room with the staircase leading to Jarrow's bedroom. Once up there, they spiked the door and settled down to recover from the battles.

Looking at the rest of the adventure, there is a LOT of combat, with every room in this tower containing guardians. I'm going to cull a lot of them, as I do find D&D a bit too combat heavy for my tastes.

Until next time...

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