Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Intertwining Shadows

Niema looked down at the guard who had stopped her. "I think I was clear when I said that my business in Vornak is none of your concern! But if you delay me much longer with your meaningless questions, I'm sure that the people I do this business with will make it their concern to contact your superiors!" The guard, suddenly unsure how to react looked up at the woman. She was riding a tall, perfectly black horse and was dressed in a long silken black robe. She looked down on him with a look that left no doubt of nobility. Although the hooded robe didn't reveal much, black hair with a blue shimmer was visible framing the face and bulges to the left and right of the hood hinted towards horns. She didn't look like your everyday traveller in these lands and unlike the noble women he saw regularly, she travelled without guards. He looked over his should to his colleague for help but he had vanished into the guard's hut. He gave up. "I'm sorry mylady, but I'm just following orders. But of course, a lady like you would only do legit business, so please forgive me for asking! Please do enjoy your stay in Vornak!"

Leaving the gate behind her Niema had to smile. The horse was a good buy. She had found it in the stables of Gilderock and immediately loved its dark black coat. The previous owner needed only a little convincing to make her a good price and was suddenly quite happy to sell contrary to his first comment. An expensive looking horse added to her appearance as a noble woman and definitely had worked on the guards.

She had found out that her travel companions had followed a paladin to take a job guarding a tax cart to Vornak. She just had to arrange to 'accidentally' cross their path again. But first she could focus on more pleasurable encounters. She hadn't been to Vornak in a long time. It was territory outside the realm of her guild and the local guild would not take it lightly if she would conduct business here. Under the eyes of passersby who happily made way to somebody dressed in black, she guided her horse to one of the more expensive inns.

She left the inn by foot when it was already dark and started to walk towards the poorer part of town. She hadn't seen her an years but had heard from a friend that she was in town. After an hour walk, she looked down the dark alley she was in. She knew this passage which was one of the darkest places in Vornak. She chose a dark corner and merged into the shadows. Most of her friends had no fixed address which made surprise visits always an adventure. But she always had stayed in this area, so Niema was confident she would find her here if she really was in town.

Only a few people passed by in the next 3 hours, all oblivious to Niema's presence. She passed the time by opening her mind and reaching out into the shadows. She could feel smaller creatures like spiders and rats around her and was just about to give up when she suddenly could feel another presence coming down the small road. Her hope came back when she could feel the person in the alley slowing down and hesitating just a few meters away. Niema smiled and connected to the shadow link of an unsuspecting spider near her. She moved along the Shadowfell connections until she had reached the presence now hiding and waiting behind a nearby corner listening into the night. She hadn't felt her for a long time but immediately recognised the familiar shadow. Stepping out of it, her dagger connected to the skin at the woman's throat, her mouth next to the woman's ear. "I always wonder how you survived that long with such bad reflexes!" The stranger answered in a surprisingly calm voice considering the dagger. "Maybe because people perpetually underestimate me!" She slowly stepped sideways out of Niema's grapple and Niema noticed that her body and arms were held firmly by shadows that had materialised around her. "I see you improved your skills to forge shadows into form!" The woman turned and revealed the pale features of a smiling Shadar-kai. "A noble woman like you in the territory of a hostile guild should clearly do better homework before acting. Don't they teach you anything in this guild of yours? It must be your alluring looks that kept you alive all this time!" Niema started to smile "Yes, and if you release me I will show you what I've learned about how to use those..."

The shadows started to loosen their grip as the slender Shadar-kai stepped towards her to embrace her. "Come on, I show you my place! It has been too long!"

Cut and Thrust

While waiting for the resistance to scout out the best weapons store to loot, Vogir practices his swordplay with Orestes.
Thinking back to the battle with the now headless Will Crimson, Vogir laughs at his recollection of Dokan’s surprise when he'd lept from the cliff-top to enter the fray.
An archer!
They all thought he was an archer!
True, he can use a bow but it’s just a tool to take out his enemies at range.
Due to his Grandfather’s constant nagging, Vogir understands a bows value, but it quickly becomes a burden when engaged in melee.
What does surprise him however, is everyone elses complete reluctance to use them.
A whack from the flat of Orestes sword snaps Vogirs attention back to the mock combat.
Orestes is more skilled and physically stronger but he’s not as quick.
Two swords cleverly used will always overcome a sword and shield.

Vogir learns ‘Claws of the griffin’. Another double attack encounter power.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Family debt

Vogir had heard stories about the mysterious Black cloaks before. His Grandfather actively hated them for tricking him into helping them open the dimensional gateway over a hundred years ago.
His Father had to travel regularly to Seawell to pay them the Dragon’s tribute.
He had even seen them once or twice in his youth.
What he had never seen was one of them attacked or hurt.
They never deal with the people directly, always preferring to use people like the Sheriff to act for them.
Still, how tough can they be?
They are only Wizards after all and Wizards are physically pretty weak.
Isn’t that why they need to trick the physically stronger into helping them?
Still, it’s been over a hundred years since a member of his family killed one of them.
That’s surely long enough.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My motives are clear

After booking out of the Mean Fiddle, Vogir quickly finds his travelling companions.
Dokan fills him in regarding Indigo’s travel and introduction offer and Vogir explains to everyone, his take on the situation and what he wants to do.
Vogir’s not really interested in stopping Rob Inwood unless it’s in the interests of the people.
He is extremely interested in killing any lone Black cloaks wandering outside the financial hub town.
Taking out a few of the Sheriff’s men would also be a bonus.
Before they leave Vornak however, Vogir wants to buy a horse.
He might be needing a quick get-away!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Raison d'ĂȘtre

At the end of our last campaign the DM’s (myself included) struggled sometimes to capture the interest of all the adventurers.
Gold, glory and prestige being the main focuses.
Sven introduced the Dragon and the Demon towards the end of that campaign as possible adventure hooks for the party.
With the introduction of a new party, I/Vogir took that end mission on board.
‘Death to tyranny and death to the dragon!’
After six levels I’m still wondering what’s motivating the others.
We, as a party, need something to tie us together.
A unifying mission.
A common purpose.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Mean Fiddle

After dressing, Vogir brushes his teeth and wanders downstairs for breakfast.
Despite Vornak being a decent sized town, the Inn is quite dirty, the ale is warm and the food barely edible.
Idly watching the cook pick his nose and wipe it into his beard, Vogir resolves to book out of it and seek out Ghanash, Rudha-an, Orestes and Dokan.
The Mean Fiddle, he realizes, is a Vile Inn.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thinking room

After getting undressed, Vogir slumps down into his bed, pulls up his covers and tries to think things through.
He hates politics.
The whiney self-importance of men who speak of change, while usually just feathering their own nests.
Despite this, he does understand the implications of acting against the Sheriff.
Hadn’t his own Father acted in a similar way?
Unlike the Sheriff however, Armando, had eked out his own Father’s fortune for as long as he could.
Though not a strong man, he had cared for his people and protected them to the best of his ability.
The Sheriff obviously doesn’t share that sentiment.
Thinking about his monster-race teammates, Vogir starts to worry.
Dokan, Orestes and Ghanash seem straightforward enough.
Perhaps too straightforward?
They didn’t even consider keeping the gold or, better still, handing it back to the people it was ‘stolen’ from...
Even the Human Rudha-an seemed indifferent to the plight of his own people...
Not a traitor to his race but certainly uncaring.
Although it choked Vogir to admit it, the small army they’d encountered would have pulled the town apart looking for the gold he’d advocated taking.
The whole ‘slaughter-a-whole-town-so-the-others-will-pay-their-tribute’ seems a little shortsighted though.
Slaughtering ‘willing’ taxpayers just because the tax wagons are being robbed is plain stupid.
OK, it’ll scare the neighbouring towns into paying, but if they’re being robbed as well...
Vogir strains his brain some more and thinks about the people recently met and the information he’s garnered from the others.
It is apparent that there are at least four factions involved here.
The Dragon and his Black-cloaks.
The Sheriff and his men.
Rob Inwood and his gang of cutthroats.
And a ‘possible’ underground resistance.
Certainly they all have their own agendas but how do they relate to each other?
The Dragon’s motivation is clear. Keep the people down and gather gold for it’s own selfish ends.
The Sheriff is a typical toady Lord. Keen to retain his position and wealth regardless of the suffering of others.
Rob Inwood appears, not to be a hero of the people, but at least he does attack the Black-cloaks. A villain then, but at least a thorn for the Dragon to deal with.
And finally, the Underground resistance... Certainly no army and definitely incapable of standing openly against either the Sheriff or the Black cloaks...
Still, they’d be worth helping.
If he could find a way in…
The strange and unnecessarily mysterious Indigo seems to have some twisted agenda of his own, but to what end? He’s obviously no friend to Rob Inwood but is he a friend to the people?
The Minstrel, Alan A’ Dale seemed to be against Rob Inwood AND the Sheriff...
Unfortunately he didn’t seem to like the Demon Dokan either.
Little Jen, the blacksmith’s daughter was thrown into jail for standing up to the tax collectors. But apparently she escaped...
Perhaps her Father is a man worth talking to?
Also, there was another one... Fry. He escaped at the same time.... And his frail old mother claimed that he regularly leaves money for her...
Vogir smiles.
These two stood up to the Sheriff, escaped prison AND still care for their parents.
It’ll definitely be worthwhile speaking to both Big John AND widow Artack.
And what of the Maid Demarion?
She owes them her life... She seemed intelligent... She seemed to know something about the tattoos and gold bracelet…
The one that now rests in Vogir’s satchel.
Perhaps she might help... If asked nicely?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is there anyone you can trust?

As they ate a very welcome dinner in the comfort of William Indigo's place, Dokan mentally looked at the people he had found himself with. Could he trust any one of these creatures?

Alan A'Dale had joined him in revenge against InWood's bandits and seemed to have good reason to do so. Yet he had turned pretty quick and tried to blow him up.

Of those who he had travelled from Gilderock with, Ghanash and Ruddha-an had fought bravely and seemed trustworthy - so far.
Vogir, however, who had appeared capable and upstanding, had turned around and insisted they become thieves. Hardly and glory in that. He had gone down in his estimation hugely.
Orestes had just laid stiff on the floor as the rest of them faced the onslaught of the bandit leader Knife. He would reserve judgement on him until it was clear why he had cowered on the floor.

And then there was William. Despite the fact that he had fought by his side bravely, Dokan's instinct was still telling him there was something very wrong about this guy.

Only time would tell - as usual.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wasted opportunity

Ignoring Indigo’s invitation, Vogir books himself into a local Vornak Inn.
In a trance-like state he trudges up the wooden stairs.
‘6,000 gold pieces!.’
It’s all he can think about.
How had he allowed 6,000 gold pieces of the Dragon’s money slip through his fingers?
Feeling his stomach knot, Vogir feels the nausea wash over him.
He’s travelling with an idiotic bunch of monster clowns!
Swallowing back down the acidic bile rising in his gorge, Vogir opens the door to his room, enters and shuts it behind him.
With the others staying with that weird Monk, at least he can grind his teeth in solitude.

Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

Those of you who want to take up the offered hospitality of William Indigo follow him to his townhouse. It is a small, but decent looking two-story building in, what appears to be, a better area of the town. The patrolling guards treat you with a certain measure of respect, and your reach the house without any incident. Those of you, who did not want to join are given the address of Mr. Indigo and are send on their way, but told that they might join later, if they wish so.

Once you arrive William ushers you into his living room, offers you refreshments and lights the fireplace. He has arrange some chairs in a circle around the warming timbers, and you eat and drink well. After you have settled down he turns to you and says: “Maybe we should have a little chat to offer you some perspective on this whole situation? And rest assured, your words here will not leave this room.” As he talks he makes a gesture with his pen, as if drawing a large circle around the heavy armchairs you are sitting in, and you see how runes inscribed on the chairs’ armrests emit a weak glow.

(Disclaimer: This is a DM approve role-playing situation. Your words and actions can both lead to valuable information, or actual changes in the world, or the disposition of people and factions towards you. Please also try to use first person speech, and try to stay in character. Please refrain from meta-discussion)

The fair and equalish division of Treasure

Whover takes magic should pay for it in some way.
I understand that in the 4th edition system of weirdness we can only sell it for a fifth it’s value, so to be fair that’s where the price should start.

Vogir doesn’t care for either item so let Dokan take the magic boots and I’m assuming the all-new Rudha-an can use the hide armour.


1) Boots of Quickness. Value: 680gp
Total: 680gp

1) Irrefutable Hide Armor +2. Value: 520gp
Total: 520gp

1) 2 x Potions of healing. Value: 20gp
2) 45gp
3) 3pp. Value: 300gp
Total: 365gp

1) Silver Circlet. Value:250gp
2) Platinum ring. Value: 50gp
3) 1pp. Value: 100gp
1) 1 x Potion of healing. Value: 10gp
2) 5gp
Total: 365gp

Nothing. (Is this right?)

This means that Dokan and Rudha-an do well out of this but Ghanash and Vogir can’t complain...
Too much.

Sounds fair?
Also, doesn’t Dokan owe us some gold?

[Edit: Dokan also gives everyone (including himself and Orestes another 80gp.]

Monday, March 7, 2011

Which way to Bow?

Sitting outside the Inn he’s staying at, Vogir notices a couple of men hurry past.
Recognising one of them, Vogir sits up to watch more closely.
They stop for a moment to talk and then they head off in different directions.
Going back in, Vogir gathers his equipment and follows after the bandit they’d so recently caught.
Perhaps he’ll lead him to the bandit leader?
Vogir has to admit that he’s been more than a little tempted to join their cause.
Still undecided though, he’s content just to track the thug for now.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another one bites the dust

Another team falls to the unstoppable killing machine that is Team Apocalypse!
Great battle though. Probably the best one so far.

So who's next?

Will Dag's Denim recruits dare face Sven's all-conquering Team Apocalypse?
Only a victory from Dag can stop Sven winning the league.

The league table does a disservice to both the Knighty knights and the Warpigs.
Both have zero points from two battles, but I'd have to admit at feeling lucky to have beaten them.
With six points still available, both can come a respectable third.

Actually, Dag's Denim recruits can still actually win the league...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Battle Worth Many Songs

The dust slowly settled and Pestilence looked around, breathing heavily. Just a moment ago, she had struck the amazonian archer down after she had gathered all her remaining power to deal one last blow. The sun was setting and in the reddish glow she could see War slowly sinking onto his knee, barely keeping himself upright. Famine slowly walked towards her, both his sword and his body dripping with blood. He had lost one of the horns of the ram's skull he wore as a helmet and blood was running slowly out of the long cuts in the hide he was wearing.
As she turned her head a bit more, she could see the bare-chested body of her youngest son lying on the ground. Almost a whole quiver worth of arrows was sticking in his body, casting long shadows on the blood-soaked ground around him. It had been a hard test the spirits had taken them through. Almost too hard.

They had taken early hits from the two female archers whose range seemed almost unlimited and whose arrows were as deadly as Death's blade. She tried to get the images of the battle in her head in order. A misunderstanding between Death and Famine had brought Death close to his end early in the battle, but she had managed to bring him back to his feet with the help of Famine. She herself had gone down and could remember War administering her a potion to get her back to her feet. Even Famine, her oldest and by far strongest son was knocked unconscious by one of the paladin's mighty blows. The spirits must have truly favoured them. Pestilence could not explain otherwise how she and her sons had survived this slaughter.

Another image of the paladins and her two sons lying on the grounds, fighting each other as fiercely as if they are standing, came to her mind. She shook her head while she was walking towards the amazonian ranger. She looked at the shattered body while her eagle silently landed next to her. She kneeled down next to the body and looked at it for a while, then closed her eyes. A few minutes passed while she was murmuring spells as old as live itself. When she opened her eyes again she looked up to her two sons who had closed in.
"We have won this battle and passed the test the spirits had set up for us. They are pleased with your victory!" They could feel raw power floating through their bodies, healing their wounds and giving them strength. They could see Death getting up to his feet again, his wounds slowly closing. "Today we fought the strongest opponents so far. They have proven themselves worthy of our respect and we will honour them as it is due for heroes!"
Her sons nodded in agreement and silently left to gather the bodies of the fallen opponents.

Half an hour later, the flames were eating through the four wooden piles and reached high up into the dark sky. The four bodies, cleaned and wrapped into their armour with their weapons on their chest, burned slowly, while the chants of Pestilence were the only sounds in the night. Songs that asked the spirits to take those bodies and grant their souls a place in the eternal forests of the great hunter. Songs telling the story of a battle so fierce that the gods themselves will listen to them in their great halls for a long time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tenacity thou art painful to watch

Epic battle round 4 about to begin...

The Knighty knights lost one of their number but made a bold counter attack. Unfortunately they failed to finish off Team Apocalypse’s leader.
Despite being one man/tiefling down though, the Knighty knights are hanging on in there...