Sunday, May 20, 2012


Session #8 (5-20-12) : The Journey Through Quasqeton Continues

The group spends a few days back in Eastbrook resupplying, hiring a new man at arms named Hilag, and performing funeral rites for their fallen comrades. They also ran into Callam the Knowitall whom they thought they had left behind in Barrowcrest and he decided to join the group as they made another foray into the Caverns of Quasqueton.
After a days journey back to the site location, the group entered and discovered the secret door they had propped open with a iron spike was closed again. Worried that they would be ambushed again by more berserkers, the group quickly set up a plan to draw them out. After oil was laid, Thad and Mutlik set off the Magic Mouth Alarm at the third set of alcoves, and as suspected, the one way secret doors opened up and the berserkers came upon them once more. The pools of oil were lit as the wild men rushed across them setting them on fire and Cadfael and Golar moved into do combat with the rest of the men. Orien shot with his bow and missed often. Myra laid down a Sleep spell to hasten things along and with the help of the halfling thief, the group quickly did away with the threat.

The room beyond the second door was checked and found to be similar to the room beyond the one they had been to before. The berserkers had no treasure on them, so the group decided to continue the way they were used to going, making their way back to the staircase that descending into the caverns below.
On the way they passed by a door that they discovered on their first passing through the area that had been locked. Since they now had Callam with them, he decided to give his skills at lock picking a try. Success!! Beyond they found a room with a strange crystalline structure protruding from the back wall. The rest of the group  entered the room.  As their torches shined upon the stone, it glistened and sparkled. Golar and Callam went up to investigate but did not find any signs of traps or other unusual features. The dwarf wasn't even sure what kind of crystal it was, but said it seemed to have been fused in some way to the stone.

After a thorough search of the crystal, it was determined it served no function that they could see and so the group decided to head back out of the room and back down the corridor to the end. But as they opened the door at the end of the hallway they had been through numerous times, they discovered something had changed. The layout of the corridor beyond was different somehow. "That's not right" Orien said with a perplexed look on his face " I think you have us in the wrong spot". They closed the door and reopened it again, thinking it some kind of illusion magic. But when they reopened the door, they found it to be the same. "Must be some kind of Teleportation magic" Cadfael surmised. Myra agreed "Its the work of the powerful wizard Zelligar no doubt, but why is it placed in such a manner?"

Frustrated at now being lost in the dungeon,  the group moved cautiously through the new doorway. A door opposite the one they entered led into a supply room filled with a stack of doors, lumber, bricks, mortar and other dungeon upkeep materials. As they were exploring this room, Thad and Mutlik were surprised from behind by small green reptilian like humanoids. Quickly the party moved into action as the little monsters swarmed upon the group's rear guard. Orien shot with his bow and missed often. Myra cast Sleep, but to her dismay, the humanoids were unfazed by the spell " They are immune to my magic for some reason".

Cadfael suffered a few minor wounds then retreated around the corner to safety while the rest tried to hold the swarming creatures at bay long enough to shut the door and spike it closed. They spent some time discussing what to do with the strange monsters, and Cadfael suggested using his net he purchased in Eastrbrook as a trap to capture some of them. Orien thought they were kobolds but wasn't sure why they would be immune to Myra's magic. So the net was laid out at the door way and the group hid behind the corner while Golar and Cadfael held onto the snare rope. And the waited...

But nothing happened, the creatures were still clawing from beyond the door. It was then realized that they had left the spike in the door and the creatures had no way of getting through ( DUH!). So, Orien the swift ran into the hallway and worked to unwedge the spike from the door. As he did so, the door  burst open and the swarm of green humanoids poured through on Oriens heels. Golar and Cadfael pulled the rope of the net and managed to capture several of them, but the rest continued to swarm into the hallway. Thad entered the fray with Golar and Cadfael, while Callam snuck through the combat to get a better aim with his sling, and Myra did her best to direct the hirelings. Hilag was most effective in the second rank with his spear, attacking the "kobolds" that had been ensnared in the nets. Once again...Orien was useless with his bow.

Soon the battle was over, and the group searched the creatures over for treasure, but they had none. Myra closely inspected the "kobolds" and even cut one open to determine if they were illusions or something. What she discovered was that the "kobolds" were magical in nature, their skin and bones and even their innards being synthetic and somehow incomplete. She proposed the idea that these creatures were somehow created magically, perhaps with kobolds somehow being used as the basic component for their  creation. That was the only reason she could come up with as to why they were immune to her Sleep magic.

The group continued down the hallway, and found another door which they entered and found a forge room of some kind. There was an anvil, forging tools, workbench, and a hole in the ceiling over a fire pit. Everyone moved into the room and closed the door and did a proper search. Myra found a very nice hammer which the dwarf determined was a throwing hammer. Callam checked the two other doors in the room, and once satisfied they were safe to pass, the party opened one of the doors. Beyond they found a room that contained a pile of coal and some wood- fuel for the forge Golar informed them. Cadfael stepped forward to investigate the coal pile with his 10' pole and was attacked by a bunch of giant centipedes that laired there. " AHH- centipedes are poisonous- I'm out of here" and out the door Cadfael dashed, leaving the Golar the dwarf surrounded by the nasty insects. " Why is it you have all that plate male again if your never going to use it" retorted the halfling.

Thad quickly jumped into the fray to help out the dwarf. Callam, found his aim with his sling was ineffective, so he grabbed his dagger and jumped in to help as well. This time Orien was rather successful with his bow " Huzzah!!!!" Unfortunately, a badly placed blow by Thad nearly took out the halfling in one shot and a second  attack broke his master work long sword completely. Lucky he had a follow up short sword to continue in the battle. Golar got bit by the centipedes  a few times but his sturdy dwarven constitution saved him every time from the poison. So soon enough the giant centipedes were dead. 

After the group bandaged up and Healing spells were placed on the wounded halfling, the room was searched. The coal was  piled against another door in the room and after clearing it way, the thief checked the door. They noticed the door should open into the hallway they came down, but when they went back out and checked for secret doors, the found nothing. When they opened the door they found a stone wall, the door led to nothing " A false door, very curious" remarked Myra. 

Beyond the other door, they found another room with a pile of lumber in it and a 3ft round hole in the floor. Cadfael went up to investigate ( to prove he was not a coward, even if he did run from a few bugs in the last room). And as he peered down the shaft in the floor, a large, green and yellow worm like creature with a mass of tentacles lunged from the pit and attacked the cleric. Quickly he was paralyzed by the Carrion Crawlers grasping tentacles, and dragged down into the shaft below. The group scrambled in the room to assist, Finn casting his torch down the hole so they could see and aid the elf in casting a Sleep spell on the worm, but all they could see was Cadfaels body filling up the entire shaft as it was quickly being dragged downward. Orien began to tie a rope to a iron rung near the pit, Callam quickly began to scale down, and Myra prepared a Feather Fall to cast on Golar and he jumped in. 

The monster pulled Cadfaels body out of sight, but the torch still burned from the floor of a cavern far below. Callam and Golar quickly dropped into the chamber where to their horror, they could see the Carrion Crawler had half devoured the clerics body. Callam, hid in a niche in the wall, afraid the creature might see him and attack.
Up top, rope tied off, Orien grabbed the rope and repelled down as quickly as possible, followed by Thad who was making his way rather slowly. As Orien reached the bottom and took stock of the situation, he cast his Sleep spell on the monster. The Sleep spell worked, it stopped moving. Callam moved forward to pull the cleric from the creatures maw, but Orien warned that such an action would wake the beast up again. So, Callam positioned himself nicely above the Carrion Crawler and lunged in with his dagger, driving it deep into the creatures cranium and killing it with a cou de gras. 

They pulled the clerics body from the mouth of the worm and were surprised to see he was still alive, but barely ( he had made every Save vs Death roll, lucky him...). They tied the cleric with some ropes and Thad and Mutlik worked to bring his body back up top. Callam noticed a large pile of offal in the corner, and some sparkling coming from it. So he dug in with his hands and began to search through the shit pile for treasure. What luck, he found 4 garnets worth 100gp each and a gold ring. 

Once everyone was up top, the group decided to seal off the room and rest until Cadfael was awake and well. Myra cast her last spell, Detect Magic, on the items they had found and determined the ring and the throwing hammer were magical. What a find. Cadfael was happy to get to live another day......

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Session #7 (5-13-12): Into the Caverns Below Quasqueton

After spending some time resting up in the woodworkers room, the group readies themselves to take on the lower levels of Quasqueton. Myra is convinced this is where the fabled Room of Pools is located and they must go there to find it. The group has no problem making their way back to the room with the staircase down into the caverns below, and carefully do so.

Below, they find a large room filled with piles of rocks, mining equipment, timbers, broken barrels and two old carts. Moving back and fourth between the carts and the pile of rocks are humanoids, which further investigation reveals to be zombies who's bodies seem to have been preserved somehow by being calcified.
One group of zombies is moving rocks from the carts to the pile in the corner and dumping them and another group is picking up rocks from that very pile and putting them back in the carts. The group finds their actions very curious and the zombies seem to take absolutely no interest in the existence of the adventurers. Brother Cadfael moves forward in an attempt to turn them, but is unsuccessful in this. Unfortunately, this action seems to definitely get the zombies attention and they set upon the party at once, bludgeoning them with rocks and fists. A few of the zombies get injured in battle, but Cadfael attempts to turn them once again, and this time is successful in causing a few to flee. Orien very adroitly dashed across the room and onto one of the old carts and used its vantage point to fire arrows at the undead. He took out several of them with this feat which inspired him to do an elven victory dance. A few well placed flaming oils do the trick of dealing with the remaining undead and the group begins to search the room. 

They don't find any treasure, but they do see a corridor from one end of the room that goes to a swollen door and the far side of the room is still rough a hewn cave with cavern tunnels leading to the east and west.
They spend some time at the door and try to open it, but while doing this, Veder the man at arms shouts out as he is surprised by a grey amorphous ooze that seemed to come upon  him out of nowhere. The creatures pseudopod slammed Veder to the ground and moved over him as it began to devour  his body. The rest of the group set upon the Grey Ooze but soon learned their weapons were of little use to affecting the creature, so they had the porters Toldric and Finn readying flaming oil to assist in the situation. A few moments later the slimy creature was dead, but unfortunately, Veders body and most of his possessions were dissolved by the thing. 

The group puts Veders remains in a large sack and ties it to the mule along with the body of the dwarf they found in the octagonal room, in the hopes of giving them proper funeral service.
Golar and Cadfael spend some time bashing open the swollen door  which reveals a corridor beyond. As the group makes their way down to the end of this corridor, Orien scouts ahead to look around the corner. He sees a room beyond with a large glowing rock.
Cautiously the group makes its way to the room, checking for traps and looking about for any nasty surprises. "Surely this is some form of a  trap" Orien says indubitably. Golar informs the group that the large rock is a chunk of mica, but why its glowing he isn't sure. "Magic" assures Myra. Their tests with poles and grappling hook and rope prove little help in determining anything about the rock, so a rope is tied around Orien and he runs in and touches the rock and runs back out for as he assured everyone " I am light and fleet of foot". Nothing happens when he does this, but he does notice that the rock of mica has a bunch of chunks broken off of it. 
The group eventually ventures into the room, checking the walls for secret doors and whatnot, and examining the stone. Myra uses her spell to determine it radiates STRONG magic. Golar uses a pick axe they got in the last room and removes a piece of the mica. It glows for a moment, then the glowing fades and dies. "Curious- it must have some magical property that is lost if a chuck is removed but doesn't last long- I wonder what it is" Myra comments. She pockets the piece of mica.

The group decide to leave discovering the properties of the rock for other time and leaves the room and heads off down one of the rough hewn cavern passageways. After a long trek down the passageway, they come to a large round natural cavern with stalactites and stalagmites. The group decides to split up, Myra, Toldric and the mule staying at the entrance, while Cadfael, Thad and Fin the torchbearer go along the west wall and Golar, Orien and Mutlik  go along the east wall. About half way into the room, a stalactite falls from the ceiling and lodges itself into Mutlik and he goes down. Another falls from the ceiling over the Mule and greatly injures the pack beast. Orien notices the bottoms of the stalactites have strange sucker like appendages on them that helped them keep on the ceiling. 

"PIERCERS" cries Golar" GET TO THE OTHER SIDE QUICK". Quickly the group makes its way across the room but not before several more Piercers drop from the ceiling onto them. Finn and Cadfael help drag Mutlik's body to the other exit, but in doing so, one drops on Cadfael and destroys his shield he was holding over his head. Just as everyone gets there and tries to get through the opening, another of the strange stalactite creatures drops onto the mule and the mule goes down unconscious. Its up to Thad to help, and Myra screams for the cleric to assist in getting the mule. " What?, I'm not going back out there unless Ive got a good shield over my head, where is Finn I think he has an extra one". "We don't have time, Myra argues, get out there and help him- why the hell did we buy you that damn plate male anyway". Grudgingly, Cadfael assists Thad drag the mule to safety, and the group spends time resting and bandaging themselves after the harrowing encounter.

After some rest, the mule and Toldric are up and about, but barely. Myra asks Cadfael to use the last of his Healing spells on the mule to which he replies " I'm not using my healing on a damn mule, I'm saving it for more important members of the party, namely...myself". 

Injured, the group continues their way along the passage and comes to an intersection of sorts. Golar determines with his darkvision that a large cavern opens up to the left and he can smell a strange stench from that way. The passage north has another swollen door along it a little ways up. The group decides to  investigate the door, and once again Cadfael and Golar set to breaking the door in. No sooner does the door slam open, when a group of scaly reptilian creatures comes upon them from the large chamber behind them. The stench they give off is overpowering and it is all the party can do to over come it in order to battle them. "I think these are Troglodytes" Orien says. Sleep  is used once again to aid in downing a few of the amphibians,  and the rest are killed with Thad's help, but one of them runs off. 

The group decides to move into the large chamber from which the creatures came. Golar notes that the natural cavern is quite large which extends beyond his site north and south with another tunnel on the west wall leading off. They cautiously make their way along the wall of the large cavern, but soon can hear the noise and smell the stench of the reptiles returning- this time with reinforcements.

Positions are set, flaming oil tossed and caltrops dropped to better deal with the oncoming assault. Soon enough, 10 of the green scaly troglodytes are upon them. The oil and caltrops help deter them a bit and Golar and Thad use them to their best advantage. Unfortunately, Golar has a bad miss with his axe and nearly kills Mutlik who is standing behind him with his spear, and Oriens bow strings break. On top of that the final Sleep spell Myra cast only downs a few of the creatures, but in the groups attempt to slay the helpless monsters, they accidentally wake two of them up again.  It doesn't look good for the party, but they are able all work together- the torchbearers providing flaming oil, Thad being very affective with his masterwork axe ( which unfortunately got damaged in the battle), and Cadfael with his great morning star, Myra and Orien resorting to dagger throwing. 

This is enough to drive the creatures off but the party gives chase, Thad and Cadfael in particular charging the creatures in an attempt to keep them from going off and bringing others.  Soon enough the battle is over. Little is found on the troglodytes other than stone axes and hammers and a few coins " Sheesh, where is all their treasure" inquires Myra. 

At this point the group is out of spells and greatly injured, so they cautiously make their way back the way they came, carefully skirting along the walls of the Piercer cavern as the go. Golar suggests they rest in the room with the magical glowing stone, and so that is where the group retreats to, spiking the door and rests. Several hours later, they decide they need to return to Eastbrook to replenish supplies, get their damaged weapons fixed and deal with their dead. So cautiously, they make their way up the staircase and back down the hallway of the first level, back out the secret door room and out into the wilderness heading to Eastbrook to find a nice warm bed and hearty meal. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones........

There are some good supplements out there that contain lots of information on various kinds of armor, weaponry and equipment. I often used these supplements in my games- primarily when designing a world setting but also as flavor for items the characters come across. Instead of just finding a longsword or a dagger or a shield, how about a Ninjato sword ( ninja sword) used by the Black Hand Assassins of Lo'h, an Iron Throwing Knife commonly used by the dark skinned warrior men of Zhuma or a Lantern Shield used by the Elite Night Watch of the Lord Emperors Palace of the city of Malabar.

Giving your items a little flavor now and then can help to enrich the setting,  make mundane objects seem appealing and interject some mystery into story ( "what is a Ninjato doing here all the way from the city of Lo'h"). You can apply these same "historical" arms, armor and equipment to races to help differentiate them from humans for instance. Movies like the Lord of the Rings did a great job of really identifying that the items ( weapons, armor, items, etc) used by elves was very different than those used by dwarves or the riders of Rohan.

Items can be used in a campaign/story to convey cultural/racial differences but also class/cast differences ( "That's a Knights Great Sword, what is a common adventurer/tomb robber doing walking around with a Knights Great Sword. Are you a Knight?" asks the local militia suspiciously). Also if your trying to set the tone of the Age you are playing in, then a crossbow for instance would not exist in the Bronze Age setting  ( unless you wanted it to I guess). So items found in the adventure can also convey ancient history without necessarily having to be powerful magic items (" Wow, all these skeletons posses the ceremonial armor and obsidian edged war clubs used by the Jaguar Warriors of the Tekunakan. They were wiped out  nearly 500 yrs ago, I believe we may have found an ancient Tekunakan burial site"). You can also use items like this to introduce lost technologies into your game ("You find a sword, but its not made of bronze like swords you know to be, it is made of a hard shiny silver metal and seems stronger (steel). Whom or what crafted this item is unknown but details of its manufacture is surely beyond anything you possess knowledge in").

Below are some great supplements that I have found very helpful in introducing this kind of flavor into my games:

Arms & Equipment by Troll Lord Games 
Arms and Equipment Guide by Wizard of the Coast 
(d20 rule mechanics, but plenty of good info and ideas for any game style)
"Historically Accurate" works put out by Osprey Publishing

Great collection of work by Palladium

2nd Edition AD&D Arms & Equipment Guide

From Stone to Steel by Monkeygod Enterprises
( contains rules in back for d20 style mechanics)

...And a 10- Foot Pole, a complete guide through the ages of arms and equipment and day to day items
by I.C.E.

Aurora's Whole Realms by TSR
A Sears catalog of goodies for your everyday adventurer