Friday, May 28, 2010
It was a desperate gamble that Vogir had thought doomed to failure.
Still, it had worked and as he’d hoped the mindless zombies, without a controlling force, had instantly lost all sense of purpose.
Some collapsed where they stood, while others shuffled back to where they’d come.
Looking around, Vogir struggles to rationalise his own recent behaviour.
Although, initially just trying to save the young Wizard: Zahig, he’d actually gone out of his way to help Ganash and the other monsters.
He was even grateful for Bayern’s support.
True, he’d fought to save his own skin, but he had to admit a grudging feeling of respect.
As for the others…
The buffoonish new Dragon-born arrival seems to be an embarrassment to the heroic Ganash and the Fey ‘tourist’ still leaves a feeling of unease deep in his stomach.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
He started to make his way back to the group. They really had decided to let this goblin get away! A creature that is not to be trusted and has information about group composition, fighting styles and even intentions. You don't let an opponent get away with that type of knowledge. The human Vogir seemed to be the only one who understood what had to be done, but that may be more down to his distrust towards anything non-human than to strategic thinking.
Daelagor wasn't sure yet about the members of the group. The human sorcerer might look weak but controls powerful magic and is a force to be reckoned with. But with his eagerness he might get killed in the heat of a battle soon if he's not careful. Also Ghanash would be dead if it wouldn't be for the cleric to save his life. His tendency to proudly run straight into a fight is his weakness. Sometimes a more indirect approach is the better choice!
All of them have potential and can be valuable allies in a fight. But they also had weaknesses which could get them killed soon. Until he can pick up on the track of the drow again, following this group seems like a good choice. He can learn about dragonborn and magic users and as long as they accept those jobs he shouldn't run out of training opportunites anytime soon.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Certain inequities will always appear when we rely on one or two people to run games as DMs, while most everyone else either run a 1 session game or else don't run one at all.
I'm thinking of magic split among the party in particular, but it also applies to how the story flows.
So, how about we try to get everyone to DM?
Of course there will be issues:
- a player has deadlines (PhD!)
- DMing sessions aren't the same length
- players might not feel they are able
I think the 1st can be handled by shifting the order around - up to a point.
The 2nd can be handled by counting sessions instead of DMing turns
And the 3rd, well - drop down the list till you pick up experience then use a pre-made dungeon if you are still not confident.
I think this will also have the benefit of resulting in a more diverse and fun game for us all.
Comments? Other issues?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The three girls are huddled behind the desecrated altar. The two twins hugging each other, the youngest sits by herself, clutching her bloodstained teddybear, her dark hair falling over her face, her body trembles with her silent sobs. Baern's words of comfort ring hollow as if he knows that they stand no chance against the ravening horde of undead should they break through their defenses.
Baern looks around the temple, sighing to himself over the defaced murals. Once they were depicting acts of worship and defence of the faithful, but now they have been subtly altered to reveal corrupt and debased rites honouring Orcus, Abyssal Lord of Undeath. However as he studies them more keenly, trying to find inspiration from the original images, he realises that they hold some significance to their current predicament. Moving to the back of the altar, he puts his hand on its base and whispers a prayer to Bahamut. In response there is a slight click and a lid opens to reveal a hidden compartment.
Looking into it, he finds not only a few flasks of what seems to be holy water and healing potions, but also a platinum-tipped symbol of Bahamut! Touching the symbol, he feels the divine power of Bahamut stream through him. His heart lifts, it is almost as if Bahamut himself is telling him that he will prevail against these odds and keep the children safe.
Baern found a Holy Symbol of Hope +1,(It gives plus 1 to attack and damage rolls for powers with the implement keyword for, and once a day it will give an ally plus 5 on saves to end an effect) as well as two healing potions and 4 vials of level 1 holy water (does 1d10 radiant damage to undead, and chucking it is a minor action).
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Ghanash realised that didn't have much in common with the elf, who seemed to prefer striking individually and from the shadows. Personally, he couldn't see the honour in that - but he couldn't argue against it from a tactical point of view.
The human he'd fought outside the inn - called 'Vulgar' wasn't he?! - had been a surprise. He certainly hadn't used any of those powers against Ghanash. Just as well really - if he had done then Ghanash would have seen him as a genuine threat and at such close range probably would have ended up killing the man. That would have been a waste.
Also, who'd have known that the inn's dogsbody would be host to such arcane power. The young boy also showed courage - or was it naivety? - in his attacks against the strange undead creatures they'd met in the abandoned church. It would be interesting to see how this impetuous boy would react in future, though. A brush with death can be a hard lesson to learn, but you only needed to learn it once. Ghanash was reminded of his own bravado against the goblins and smiled wryly - OK, maybe you needed to learn it a couple of times...
Finally, Ghanash looked over to the dwarf who was checking on the children's health. He already owed the short hairy man gratitude for saving him against the goblins. He felt that he may, in time, come to relate with Bayern most of all. He faced the enemy with strength and pride, but also had a compassionate side and would come to the aid of his comrades. A healer was always valuable to a clan.
He took a deep breath and called out to the group "The attack has abated for now, my friends, but this may just be the calm before the storm! I would advise that we make good again our defenses - and perhaps Daelagor, you would be kind enough to survey how the ground lies outside...?"
Friday, May 14, 2010
That was utterly terrifying. He had never expected to find such terror at the bottom of the stairs. The Wight was horrific and he seemed to be able to control those zombies with him. And yet there was something more powerful yet controlling those outside.
He scolded himself for not taking a little time before rushing down those stairs, but the screams of the children clouded his judgement. Next time he'd make sure one of the others, more used to fighting, went first!
For the first time since the ambush in the valley, Zahig looked across to Vogir. The sorcerer was a hero to Zahig, but he had judged him a coward when he ran from the combat. Only now did he appreciate his wisdom: fall-back to a less vulnerable position and strike devastating blows from range.
There was much Zahig had to learn from Vogir and probably all the others but for now he was glad that no one was seriously hurt - thanks in no small part to the benevolent cleric.
Zahig allowed himself a muffled sigh.
Goblins and Wolves he can handle but where have these foul Zombies come from?
Killing their ‘Lich-like’ leader seemes to have summoned up additional, untold numbers of them and with the crumbling walls and rotten doors offering only feeble defence, Vogir finds himself ironically looking to the monsters within the walls for help.
Garnish the Dragon-born’s scales have made him thankfully thick skinned.
Fur-face the Dwarf seems to radiate idiotic compassion.
He even has to admit that the gay Elf creature has its uses.
And as for his sole fellow Human… The boy Wizard is more powerful than he realises.
Still, even with these ‘people’ to rely on, Vogir can’t help but eye the spiral stone staircase leading down…
Thursday, May 13, 2010
He had had such high hopes when he left his home village for a life of adventure and sorcery, treasure and fame, but the reality hit him as hard as Grundy's boot. A boy out in the wilderness alone is just food for the lowest in the chain of dogs eating dogs.
He had found himself in Highmarsh, torn and battered and with no possessions but vowed not to work as a street entertainer again. He was, he realised, extremely lucky to have a place working in a warm inn with a good bed in the stables. Grundy's wife had even persuaded the old goat to pay me something for my almost slave like duties.
Moreover, the place was a hot-bed of activity. Case-in-point that ugly dragonborn and his little "fight" with the proud man. Finally there was somebody willing to stand up to these monsters who seemed to rule our world. When they had come back in from their dick-swinging Zahig vowed he'd approach the man and ask if he could come with him on his adventures. He could serve as a runner, a decoy, a spy anything. Anything to get out of here.
Zahig found himself walking up to Vogir.
"Sir, I offer my services. I am a most useful purveyor of the arcane arts. Should you need another hand to follow you and assist your great countenance I would be humbled and grateful. I like you great sir have no fear of them (looking sideways to the dragonborn) and their kind, and wish to make the world safe for humans again."
Vogir laughed, but was pleased to be distracted for the moment from the Ghanash.
"Well, you are indeed brave I can say that much. Maybe you should show us what you can do ..."
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Standing just a few feet behind the back of the huge creature which had to step backwards to avoid a charge of Vogir, the men looked at each other and started to raise their weapons when they both froze in mid movement.
"I would only do that if I'm absolutely sure that I can run faster than this crossbow bolt or move quicker than this dagger"
The one on the left started to turn his head but decided against it when the pressure, that the pointy metal imposed against his back, increased. He could only see the braid of a black hood next to his head.
"We could also just stand here and admire this showpiece of fighting prowess in silence, what do you think?" A nod on both sides seemed to indicate agreement.
Daelagor started to smile under his black hood. He noticed a few other people in the crowd looking expectantly at the two dimwits while the fight was going on. He had identified the gang leaders correctly. Humans were just too easy to read. Pleased with himself he concentrated more on the fight. The human was either brave or foolhardy! He must have noticed his fighting abilities were inferior to his opponent's, but he pressed on nonetheless. He also seemed hesitant in his movement from time to time. Does he possess other powers he is reluctant to show? The Dragonborn on the other hand seemed to just play with his victim. Daelagor had seen him move over the last day and this presentation was surely below his abilities. All the more was he surprised when the Dragonborn offered the draw and could see the same feeling in the face of the human aggressor. Daelagor hadn't seen honourable behaviour in fights for a while and this raised his respect for the Dragonborn even more. Also the brave human challenger showed traits Daelagor thought lost in the human race in these lands. He was intrigued.
When the two contenders reached the bar he stepped forward. The two boneheads had followed him into the inn whispering to some of the other men and they all kept a respectful distance.
"This was a great display of fighting skill and I feel honoured to have been allowed to witness it! Please allow me to join you and pay for this round. You must be thirsty!"
Turning to the landlord who wasn't sure what to make of all this, he urged "Three beakers of your finest, if you please!"
He raised his hands and slowly took off his hood, revealing his silvery hair and the long, pale face typical of the Eladrin.
"Please allow me to introduce myself" he lowered his head in respect, "My name is Daelagor Faronion of the house Farothionnach, to you service!"
It’s not the frigid air that causes him to pause but rather the identity of the new arrival.
Wretched demi-dragons, walking around on two legs pretending to be men.
Taking advantage of the sudden hush, Vogir calls out, “Hey, Lizard lips! This is a Human bar; your kind aren’t welcome here”.
The massive bronze scaled creature flexes its huge chest and hisses in response “Hold your tongue Human. My axe and I shall meet you outside”.
Turning around the Dragon man strides towards the door.
Vogir curses inwardly. He hadn’t thought the creature would challange him. His friends around the table look to him expectantly.
Pushing back his chair noisily, Vogir stands up, draws his scimitar and heads out after the much bigger creature.
Once outside, the Dragon born starts to turn around. It hasn’t even raised its axe.
With a cry of “Go back to where you came from, Scale face!”, Vogir launches himself at his obviously physically superior foe.
The Dragon man easily blocks the wild swing with the shaft of his axe and worryingly turns the block into a counter.
Vogir presses on regardless. A crowd has followed him out into the street. He can’t lose face now but he can’t expose his Sorcerous powers either.
He does his best but it soon seems as if the bronze Dragon born is just playing with him. He can barely get a thrust past the twirling axe and even when he does, his blade simply glances off the Dragon born’s armour.
After what seems like hours, the Dragon born stands up straight and without any difficulty, pushes the exhausted Vogir backwards.
Arms spinning Vogir desparately tries not to lose his footing.
Unbelievably, the towering Dragon born then shouts out, “Enough. We are equally matched.”
Seizing the opportunity to salvage some pride, Vogir retorts “Perhaps. You’re not bad for a dinosaur”.
With a laugh like a broken drain, the Dragon born slaps Vogir hard accross the back. Trying but failing not be be staggered, Vogir forces a grin in return as the creature offers to buy him a drink.
Grabbing the opportunity Vogir responds, “Sure. Why not as long as you’re paying.”
They go back into the bar and Vogir decides to press his luck further. “And for my friends…”
Looking around to see why none of them tried to help him, Vogir sees a figure step silently out of the shadows.
“Crap, not another one!”
He had encountered anti-Dragonborn sentiment before, of course, but nothing like here in Highmarsh. No-one would trade with him in the market square, and only this morning an insolent farmer had called his proud heritage into question. That soon changed, of course, once Ghanash had chastised him with a gentle tap of the flat of his battle axe. Ghanash chuckled merrily as he recalled how the little man had dropped to his knees in apology.
More unnerving, however, was the continual feeling that he was being watched. Every time he turned around though – no matter how quickly or how subtly – there was no-one to be seen.
As Ghanash settled in to his seat, the flames from hearth reflected in his red eyes and he cast his mind back to the events that had led to his travelling alone. His grandfather had been one of the first Dragonborn to arrive in this land. He had been so heroic during the annexing of Febril that he was able to raise his own tribe to set out in exploration of the new country. When he died gloriously in battle, Ghanash’s own father, had deservedly become the tribal chief. He had been a strong and just leader until – too young – he was taken ill. It soon became apparent that no natural remedy would work and the tribe’s shaman admitted defeat. Ghanash’s father died a prolonged, painful, and undignified death. It was an insult for such a strong and proud leader to waste away in such a fashion.
While an adult by Dragonborn standards Ghanash was deemed too young to become a tribal leader, and despite the elder council’s best efforts the clan dissolved without a figure-head to lead them. Preferring not to join any of the smaller groups who intended to sell themselves as mercenaries, Ghanash decided to strike out on his own and forge his own clan. The further he wandered from his old tribal grounds, the more resistance he had met. He had met no other Dragonborn and admitted to himself that he was becoming somewhat lonely. Perhaps he should not have held such high ideals. Perhaps he should have just accepted his lot and become a mercenary.
Suddenly a voice called out “Your kind aren’t welcome ‘round ‘ere, lizard lips!” Ghanash looked up to see a human approaching him, and sighed. Would he have to defend his race’s honour twice in one day? So be it. “I suggest, human, that you hold your tongue. If you wish to fight, however, my axe and I shall meet you outside.” Ghanash stood up and walked unopposed towards the door. Often the threat of combat had been enough to silence his critics, but Ghanash was surprised to see this one following him onto the street!
As soon as he was out of the door, the human cried “Get back to the wilds, scale face!” and Ghanash reacted only just in time to halt the man’s scimitar with the shaft of his axe. He fluidly turned the block into a counter, but the human sprang out of the way. Soon a crowd formed around the pair – hurling insults at the Dragonborn but shying away as the fight edged closer to them. The struggle continued well into sundown but neither combatant could gain the upper hand. The human’s attacks were blocked or clanged harmlessly off of Ghanash’s chainmail, while Ghanash’s own blows were deftly avoided or turned by the human.
Eventually, both began to tire. Summoning up his reserves, Ghanash pushed the other man back.
“Enough. We are equally matched.”
“Huh. You fight well for a dinosaur” the man conceded begrudgingly.
“And you for a shaven mon-keigh!” Ghanash laughed and amicably slapped man’s back so hard that he staggered. “We have both worked up an enormous thirst, I am sure. Come - let us quench it together.”
While the crowd dispersed – robbed of its entertainment – the two foes turned to face the bar. As they did so , a figure stepped silently out of the shadows…
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
He looked at the coins gathered in his cap. A nice haul from an afternoon plying his trade. Entertaining with the art of sleight of hand. Making coins disappear (and reappear in his hat!) cutting the cord on a fat man's trous, sending dancing lights high into the air and scaring the beautiful young ladies with ghostly voices.
It had all become a bit of a routine now. He probably already knew more than his so-called "teacher" Al-Brahim. That old drunk taught him all he knew which wasn't saying much. His vast intelligence devoured books and lore, and he knew what he was really capable of.
His thoughts turned back to the previous night when he had wandered far out of town and climbed the steps of the ruined tower. Surprised by the mangy rogue wolf that jumped out at him, his actions were utterly instinctive. A bolt of psychic power shot, it seemed, from the depths of his mind out through his palm and dropped that sly old wolf before it could so much as open it's jaw.
Tales of adventure rang in his young ears and his stomach rumbled, not from the familiar hunger but another longing. He had no parents, no ties and no future here. He was wasted in this nothing town.
Zahig gathered his possessions and left his life behind.
He slipped into the shadows of the building and appeared a few moments later further down the street where the argument took place. His attention got caught by a huge creature in the midst of a crowd of humans.
"What did you say about Dragonborns?" His voice was clearly audible over the noise of the crowd and the crowd suddenly enlarged the circle when a battle axe also became clearly visible.
Now with more space around the creature, Daelagor could make out fine brown scales with a bronzish tint to them. He had heard of Dragonborns before but had never seen one in the flesh. A human farmer dropped to his knees in front of the foreigner, apologising for whatever it was he'd said before. The sight of the trembling human in front of him seemed to calm the Dragonborn and he left through a corridor hastily created by onlookers backing off.
This was the first chance for Daelagor to learn about the proud race and he wouldn't let it slip. The more he knew about a race, the more efficient he could fight and track them. You had to know your opponent, his habits, his preferred fighting style, his weaknesses. Although Daelagor wasn't sure what the motives of this Dragonborn were and whether he was a future opponent or not, he was determined to find out as much as possible. If the creature would travel southwards, it would have a second shadow for a while.
Friday, May 7, 2010
How about this one:
I’ve been having several online debates with some of the other players and I find myself becoming more and more racist…
Regardless of whatever anyone else (Dag) says, Humans are at a definite disadvantage in this game and after a hundred years of oppression they’re going to be pretty fed up.
Anger will be bubbling just under the surface.
I imagine there’ll be a withdrawing of good will to all the non-human races to the point of the starting point in any interaction being negative (Especially the new ones).
This shouldn’t affect game play but should make role-playing for the non-humans in the human towns and regions more ‘interesting’.
This will also help to equalise the game in the Humans favour.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Baron Redcloak of Highmarsh sighed in exasperation, scattering his papers across his sizeable desk. His affairs were in perfect order! The in and outgoings of the little economy of his were in perfect harmony, more than enough to satisfy the dragon's bailiffs, keep the growing economy happy and most importantly, allow him a very satisfying skim into his private coffers.
Unfortunately, the people of Highmarsh were not so easily satisfied. The fiercely independent populace, mainly second or third generation emigrants from the central regions of Gom Dalat, were here for one reason only - It was the furthest away you could get from the dragon and still maintain a semblance of civilisation. They were willing to brave the dangers from the hills and saltmarshes beyond, for the freedom this gave them. Most of the time, their secessionist zeal found its expression in drunken rows in the local taverns, but all in all, they were a hard-working lot, minding their own business and paying their taxes with minimal encouragement. In places like this, it was good to be the Baron.
Lately, things had changed. A particularly nasty group of bandits seemed to have emerged from the hills, attacking outlying homesteads and burning them to the ground. There had been no survivors. What was strange about these attacks was that there were plenty of opportunities for hard currency for the larcenous at heart in the area, there were mines and logging camps with gold and valuables, but instead the bandits had been attacking the farmers, who had very little in the way of portable wealth. Initially, Redcloak had merely shrugged them off, a couple of attacks on the farmers had almost no impact on his cash-flow, but then the locals must have made the same connection, and unfairly accused him of ignoring the plights of the farmers for economic reasons. Suddenly they had seemed to remember how much they hated the dragon in Gom Dalat, and that the Baron was its representative. Things started to go downhill from there. People paid more attention to drunken agitators with insurrectionist sympathies and the mood in the town was souring against him. Soon, the farmers would probably start doing something about the Dragon Overlord's rule, and it would be really embarrassing if he had to actually request troops from the capital to quell an uprising. Also, it might encourage the dragon's inspectors to look more deeply into his accounts and realise just how much he had managed to skim for himself.
So he had taken action, using the only means he knew. He had thrown money at the problem.That group of adventurers that was passing through had seemed more than happy to be pointed in the direction of the most recent attack, after the right noises had been made about the possibility of reward.
It was only last night the guards had been able to see the fires at the Thorsten homestead from the town walls, so the trail should be fresh. He hoped the adventurers were up to the task....
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Another twig and the rustling of some leaves. More to the right this time. Closer.
His hand reached for his sword and he started moving, the long black cloak merging with the shadows of the forest.
He had followed the wolf for three days now. He had studied its behaviour from the tracks and the traces he had found. He knew he was close.
The rustling stopped. The wind still came from the front, so the wolf would not have been able to smell him. But it had escaped twice already and knew it was being followed. He had found an experienced elder, a worthy opponent.
Motionless, he listened. For long moments he could only hear the wind above the tree tops. Then he saw the shadowy outline moving towards him. It was a huge. Daelagor stood in awe and admired the way in which it moved silently over the mossy ground. It was a predator like him, a silent hunter in the night. It deserved his respect. Tightening the grip around his sword he slowly stepped out of the shadow. The hunt was over. "Le hannon!"
It was an hour later when he thought back to the encounter with the noble creature. After Daelagor had revealed himself and had thanked the wolf, they had stood there looking at each other for long seconds before the wolf had lowered its head and had vanished into the night. Daelagor was sitting at a small lake watching the reflection of the full moon on the water. The light made his silvery hair glow in the dark while he prayed to Corellon to thank Him for granting him such noble opponents to perfect his skills. His mentor had taught him never to stop training.
The light of the moon over the pond reminded him of the moon over the silver trees of Mithrendain and the forests around it where he grew up. Images of training lessons passed before his inner eye. He had started his training when he was 10 years of age and ever since has tried to push the art of fighting and later hunting to perfection. From the beginning he had admired the perfection of the firbolg and his father had agreed to hire Dar'goch, one of the masters of the wild hunt, as mentor. Dar'goch had taught him for 20 years when a drow warband attacked and killed the mentor's clan. Daelagor and his brother had helped their mentor to track down and kill half the attackers over the next years in the feydark but their leaders had managed to escape to the mortal world.
And now he was here. They had split up to keep on following the drow which seemed to have gone three different ways. Before parting, he and his brother had sworn to only return to Mithrendain when the last of the drow lies slain on the ground. That was one year ago. Shortly after they'd split, he had lost track when the drow had started to enter bigger cities. Since then he had followed their path through hints from travellers and locals, but the last hint lied already a month back. Drow are not common in these lands and sooner or later he would be able to pick up the track again.
As Dar'goch always said, a hunter's most important weapon is patience. He pulled the cloak over his head to cover his silver hair and moved into the shadows again to continue his trance.
"A hundred years have passed since we brought our Most Noble Lord and established him in His rightful place as King of Gom Dalat and Emperor of the Furnace Coast. Throughout His glorious reign, He has time and time again demonstrated His commitment to peace and prosperity, freedom and stability, justice and mercy. While the rest of the region has been devastated by warfare, Our Most Noble Lord has kept us safe, entering conflict only when necessary to protect His charges from harm.
It is with great pleasure I have been asked to speak at this banquet of the merchant guilds commemorating His centenary Jubilee. We are all beneficiaries of His strength and wisdom, and trade is only possible due to His stabilising influence.
Going over His record as ruler, we only have to look to the early years for confirmation of our great fortune. As tales of the horrors of Seawell spread across the region, the jingoistic priests of Febril prepared for a brash assault against the Pit Fiend. Forging an alliance with the noble Dragonborn of the Island of Sunrest, their fleets sailed against Seawell. Our Most Noble Lord sent his emissaries to the Priests and to the Devils, urging against this war, stating time and time againg that this conflict would only bring ruin to all.
His warnings were not heeded, the Furnace coast ran red the blood of devil, dragonborn and human alike.
Still, our Lord was magnanimous, offering succour and shelter to the innocent refugees of this war. It was this that pulled him into war. A Pit Fiend does not understand the very concept of mercy or justice. A Pit Fiend cannot comprehend the nobility of Dragons, and so the Pit Fiend of Seawell betrayed us all, sending his armies against us.
Dragonborn and Human united under Our Lord's blue banner, and we pushed the invader back. Sacrifices were made by all, but His leadership saw us through.
It was then that Our Lord unleashed his most potent weapon. Drawing round him a circle of sorcerers from lost Febril, he oversaw the ritual that twisted the very fabric of reality and brought the forbidden lands out of the shadows. Out of these lands came a new army, fresh from an eternity in the primordial chaos, emerged. Once human, but now warped beyond recogniton, the Tieflings fell into the flanks of the retreating army, and the Pit Fiend was driven away from our world.
When I now look at this assembled crowd, when I look at the prosperity of our beloved city, I know who I should thank. If it was not for the noble Dragon-nature of our Lord, we would have shared the fate of Febril and Seawell, now just ruins in the Marshlands. I propose that we raise our glasses in a toast to our rightful ruler!"