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October 18, 2017, 09:02:42 PM
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Author Topic: My D&D campaign  (Read 1763 times)
ER
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2017, 08:32:46 PM »

Demonic rifts and hellmouths rarely leap right out at you, I've noticed.
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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2017, 07:03:16 AM »

Great write-up. Had no idea we were close to any rifts lol. The wizard's antics were hilarious. He gets knocked out by various monsters, but what really sets him off is that darned tax collector!

Had a great time playing; looking forward to the next one! Hopefully the two others will be able to join us.
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2017, 12:51:55 PM »

Great write-up. Had no idea we were close to any rifts lol. The wizard's antics were hilarious. He gets knocked out by various monsters, but what really sets him off is that darned tax collector!

Had a great time playing; looking forward to the next one! Hopefully the two others will be able to join us.

Just wait until you finish the campaign and the ending goes all Scooby Doo....
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« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2017, 01:09:58 PM »

Anders also has a bit of an advantage there. He rolled a fairly low wisdom score and has been playing it pretty well by doing quite a few foolish things. Its why he is slightly ahead of the party XP wise, which is going to be fun since technically the most powerful member of the group is an bumbling idiot.
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« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2017, 03:21:32 AM »

So, a few adventure sessions in how does things stand for the party.

Personnel wise they have all the bases covered. The have the classic pain bearer, spell caster, healer and thief set up and an additional melee specialist which means they are flexable enough to handle most challanges. Group weaknesses are a lack of stealth. Although they do have a rogue in the group most of the group is in the heaviest armour they can afford and would struggle to sneak past a sleeping deaf man. Who had just died. Another weak area is going to be social situations. The group has been through several big fights. Armour is rent and torn in places, bloodstained and not repaired. Should they find themselves dealing with nobles and so on, that is going to make a big impression. They also have a generally good alignment so inter-party conflicts that way haven't been an issue so far, but can also limit the groups options on how to deal with situations. They did manage to avoid a major moral quandry in the last session. Had they fully explored the caves in the last session where they'd have came across the Goblin women and children. They could have killed them all, ensuring the area would have been safe from Goblin raids for several generations, but that would have effectively been slaughtering creatures unable to fight back.

We have a couple of people possibly considering taking the last group spot. Will be interesting to see if that ends up reinforcing one of the existing roles in the party or adding something new (druid, bard, paladin etc) and how that effects group dynamics. Although no group leader has yet emerged, Zolis and Val have formed a core group and their actions generally tend towards being cautious. Other than Zolis just trying on any magic items he finds without knowing what they do. The group has also done a little bit of adding two plus two and making five, it will be interesting to see where those assumptions take them (I may even run with those and change the game a little to fit them in depending on how things go). Some friends will turn out to be enemies, and even then things won't be quite that straight forward.

The group is approaching a major plot point where they will find out a lot of what is going on (if all goes to plan I think they will hit this in two to three sessions time. After that adding new party members will become slightly more awkward, but that is by the by), but not everything.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 04:00:31 AM by Dark Alex » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2017, 04:25:31 PM »

Part Five of the Tale Of The Band Of The Hand.

As tonights adventure started with the whole group present (Zolis (Anders), Zagan (Soren), Cadmus (Kristi), Val (Tina) and Sillas (Dave) had returned to Asbravn, picked up a reward from the Temple of Lathander and were looking for a way to pick up an Identify spell so Zolis could learn it and find out what the magical items they had received actually did. Finding they had no other choice the group decided they'd head off to a compound ran by the Red Wizards of Thay (Thay is a land ran by a cult of wizards that is sort of viewed by the rest of the free world the same way the west viewed the Soviet Union during the cold war) that sold magical items. Going inside a white walled area they saw several buildings. A couple of serious looking guards in outlandish clothes directed them to one of the buildings. Inside a friendly looking bald man dressed in red introduced himself as Gervan of Thay. He had the scroll the party wished to buy and at a price that was a bit lower than they expected. The group tried bartering and were told that if they could find the same scroll cheaper elsewhere he would refund the difference. A little bit surprised at the friendly welcome from what they had heard of Thay the party paid up without further arguement.

They decided to find an inn that was on the moderately high price range, and found a place called "The Rumpled Bedsheets". Inside was expensively decorated and the party splashed out for individual rooms for three nights. Zolis sequestered himself in his room to study the scroll (which would take 24 hours) and then write it into his spell book (if he managed to learn it from the scroll then he'd need another 24 hours to inscribe the spell into his book. These timings become important later). Some of the party went to pick up mundane supplies while Val went to find a map and Sillas decided to pick up an extra horse and a couple of mules to pull the wagon as well as some repairs to the wagon and a cover for it. He paid over twice the asking price for the work on the wagon.

Val found a building called "The Most Glorious and Worshipful Guild of Cartographers and Calligraphers". Heading inside she got some funny looks at her travel stained clothing. The clerk was definately being all snooty to her and despite being a hobbit, managing to look down his nose at her. Initially Val asked for a large map and he said two gold and starting pulling out a large sheet of parchment ( but not so large carrying it would have been a problem), but she changed her mind and only wanted a map to Teziir. She also then started asking what the cities were like on the way to Teziir, getting an exasperated "I make and sell maps, not travel guides" from him. He pulled out a sheet of paper, drew an L shape and maked some cities on it and sent her on her way wanting her out of his (the party wearing blood stained and torn clothing is not going to make them fans in high places). On the way back she bumped into Kano. He told her he'd been looking for them since he got to Karlston and found they'd already picked up something he'd been sent there to collect. They could either meet him just before sundown the next night and hand it over, or he would track them, find them and take it. He then walked backwards into the shadows and disappeared, despite Val running straight in after him. She returned to the inn, but didn't tell the others of her encounter.

Cadmus in the meanwhile was sorting out stuff in his room when he got a knock on his door. Opening it he saw an attractive young lady standing there wearing clothing that would be described using words like 'diaphonous' and 'revealing', perhaps even 'skimpy'. She asked him if he required any... extra services. With a smile he invited her in and was then occupied for the rest of the night.

Zolis also had a knock on the door and found a similar woman standing there. She got an answer of "NO!" and a door slammed in her face and he went back to studying his spell. Zagan was downstairs playing at cards and losing when a young lady sat on his lap, started nibbling on his ear and told him "You know what they say sweetheart, unlucky at cards, lucky at love. How'd you like to come upstairs with me and get lucky?" so they both disappeared up into his room.

Apparantly the name of the inn wasn't a clue as to what kind of establishment they had rented rooms in. I mean I thought "The Rumpled Bedsheets" was subtle but still obvious.

Anyway, Sillas returned from buying livestock and Val returned from her travels in time to see Zagan disappearing upstairs with company. Val got a tap on the shoulder and turned around to see a well muscled man wearing nothing but leather underpants standing there. She declined his services, much to his disappointment so he asked Sillas if he was interested instead only to be turned down again. A dusky woman then moved in on Sillas and after turning her down the pair decided to retire to their room rather than stay downstairs and continue to attract attention.

The night passed with much knocking on walls and apparantly some sort of prayer meetings going on in a couple of rooms. Certainly there was many cries of "OH GODS OH GODS OH GODS" going on. I had already decided not to roleplay out those details of these encounters, so that is as much detail as anyone gets on what happened inside the rooms. Just use your imaginations. Well ok, if you really want details they all played cards. Happy Families and all the shouts were because everyone found it really exciting and the banging was caused by people slamming there hands down on the table.

The next day found Sillas collecting his cart along with Zagan. The pair of them were trying to set it all up when an old man (he looks on the wrong side of 90) came over and started berating them on not setting up the tack and harness correctly. He kept shouting abuse at the group until they offered him a job looking after the animals for them, although after they'd offered him the job at one gold per 10 days (they could have bartered him down to 10 silver but offering him one gold made him a very happy old man) they decided that was something they should discuss with the rest of the group. The party also decided to see if they could get a job on a travelling caravan going to Teziir to make a little extra money en route. Alas, the harvest having been collected the previous week and most of it having been sold on, the seasonal merchants had already moved on. They did find one pudgy merchant who was looking for a group to take a chest to one of the cities on the way to Teziir. He was willing to pay 50 gold up front and 100 gold of confirmation of delivery. It was decided to discuss this with the rest of the group too and get back to them (frankly this was easy money).

Back at the inn, Sillas mentioned he'd bumped into the man they had encountered when initially travelling to Asbravn just before he found the party, and he said to tell them he'd find them. Val then mentioned he'd encountered him yesterday and he wanted to meet them that evening. The group decided to hire the old man as a driver and that they should try and bargain for more money from the merchant (Ebenezeer) and they would need more time before starting the job. They returned to speak to him, but the parties demands were too much and it ended in an arguement and no job.

Leaving Zolis to continue studying his new spell the rest of the group set off to the commons. It was dusk when they got there and Kano was waiting alone (well other than with his pet wolf dog). He demanded the group hand over the mask. They protested claiming the didn't have it and Kano insisting they did and had better hand it over or else. Val was sneaking in the shadows and coming up behind him while checking that Kano was indeed on his own. Warnings that he didn't seem intimidated by the group despite being heavily outnumbered went unheaded and eventually despite Kano's honourable nature, he could see he wasn't going to get anywhere by just talking to the group. He drew his rapier and dagger and combat begain. The fighters in the group went first, Zagan hitting a solid blow with his greatsword, but not one that took Kano out of the fight. A lunge from Sillas went wide, then Kano responded. His blades flashed in the half light leaving a couple of deep scars on Zagan's face, moving past his defence so easily he might as well have been sleeping. Val managed to inflict a couple of light scratches on him with a sneak attack that went badly wrong.  Very quickly realising they were seriously outmatched the group stood back and decided to parlay some more. Kano kept his weapons drawn, but in a defensive posture. He guessed correctly that Zolis had the mask while the others had came to speak to him and told them to bring it to him tomorrow morning, or he would come and take it.

The party asked what would happen in the theorectical situation that someone was wearing the mask and was unable to remove it. They didn't like the answer they got. Kano knew of two ways to remove the mask. One was to kill the wearer in which case the mask would fall off the wearer. The second option was to flay the skin off the wearers face and make a new mask from the flesh. He made it quite clear to the group that he could quite easily enforce either option, but would give them the choice.

Limping back to the inn in somewhat lower spirits than they set out they had a late night discussion with Zolis. He did not fancy either option one or two. Everyone discussed what to do the next day. Cadmus favoured going to her temple to ask aid or speaking to the Red Wizards, even if they could remove the mask, giving it to them in return. My jaw dropped in amazement at that one. Zolis however was deadset against involving the Red Wizards. Various other plans were discussed including running away, or trying to set a trap for Kano. Some wanted to flee that night, but Zolis needed until noon the next day to finish inscribing his spell.

Eventually it was decided to let Zolis finish his spell which would mean they would be over the time limit for Kano and then run. The party reasoned that while Kano had something that enabled him to track the rough location of the mask, he couldn't tell who had it (he guessed Zolis simply because he wasn't there). Everyone then retired back to their rooms to get some sleep. It was agreed they would all sleep alone this time. As Val returned to her room she noticed her door was ajar. Sneaking up and peering it in she saw the man who had tried to pick her up the night before lying naked on his bed, his oiled muscled gleaming in the candlelight. With a smile she slipped inside her room, locked the door and cut scene to morning.

More games of Happy Familes then.

In the morning Val came downstairs positively glowing. The group was breakfasting. One of the bar staff politely informed the group that someone was standing at the door insisting he was an employee of theirs and wanted to speak to them. Remembering the driver Sillas went to tell him they would be heading off in a couple of hours. Zolis came down stairs looking a bit haggered but having finished inscribing the spell into his spellbook.

Val accompanied by Sillas and Zagan headed off to the temple to see what aid they could get there. Valeria told them she was willing to do whatever she could, but she didn't command any soldiers. She was reluctant to risk a fight inside the temple but would do it for the party. She was able to provide a few extra healing potions for the party, but was unable to advise them on ways to sneak unnoticed out of the city. Afterall, the God of the Morning Light does not skulk around in the shadows. They rejoined the rest of the party back at the inn and everyone decided to leave the city immedietely.

The old man (Bran) they had hired, carrying a small barrel under one arm and something looking like a trumpet on a wooden stick grumbled at the change of plans, but had the wagon and mules and horses ready very quickly. Everyone climbed onto the wagon and it careered off with an unexpected turn of speed that left the party holding on for dear life and many pedestrians diving out the way. Their driver cackled and sang the fantasy equivilent of Highway To Hell.

With that the session drew to an end.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 12:42:36 PM by Dark Alex » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2017, 11:56:53 AM »

Oh, the group told their driver to get out of town fast. But although they had decided to travel north based on a vague feeling Zolis had they didn't actually tell him where to drive too. Well the old man is addicted to speed, so where ever they are going they are going to get there fast. Think I'll roll a dice for the direction they will discover they are travelling in. 1-2 North, 3-4 West and 5-6 south.
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« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2017, 02:43:31 PM »

Decided to put a footer on the game. So far I've written 67 pages. I am wondering if the party is now going to encounter 12 of those pages or go off and do something entirely different.
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2017, 03:44:10 PM »

Part Five and a half of The Tale Of The Band Of The Icky Hand

Expecting the party to travel north and following Zolis's ultimatum last week I prepared lots of stuff for them heading north. However when the group found themselves travelling south and then east towards Teziir it was decided just to keep going in that direction then explore north afterwards. Luckily I did have some stuff prepared for that journey, although most of it was concentrating on their destination rather than the journey. They did come across a couple of prepared encounters which didn't go exactly as expected, but these things never do.

You join us tonight as the party started off heading southwards thanks to a random dice roll and being spotted by Kano. He started to chase after the group. Sillas and Zagan were both on horses while everyone else sat on the cart. Sillas tried to speak to Kano, but was answered by a crossbow bolt flying off in entirely the wrong direction. As Kano cursed his faulty crossbow (obviously crossbows are shoddily made around these parts as they constantly break or misfire) the party sped off and escaped. Leaving the city gates the group realised they had told Bran to drive fast, but not where too.

Cadmus tied himself into the front seat beside Bran while Val and Zolis held on for dear life being thrown about the back of the cart as Bran coaxed unheard of levels of speed out of his mules. Zolis's plans to examine the magical items they had found went out the window and pleading with the driver to slow down were only met with cackles and hoots of laughter followed by coughing fits from the old man. He didn't stop until lunchtime. A very sore and bruised Zolis wanted to fire him when the pair had an arguement, but the Bran pointed out since they hadn't actually paid him his first wage yet that he would refuse to be fired. Cadmus intervened and asked for him just to drive slowly. The cart started up again with a slow clip, clop, clip, clop as Bran obstinately went as slow as the mules could while still moving forward. Bran also introduced the group to his Dwarven Firestick (which looks like a trumpet on a stick), pointed it at the Zolis and asked if he wanted to see whose magic was better. Zolis didn't seem to realise the cantankerous old man was effectively challanging him to a duel (which as you'll see later was just as well for Zolis). Eventually though Bran got bored with the slow pace and his speed demon side kicked in again.

There were however no more complaints about speed that day.

The party reached the first city on their route, the merchant city of Iriaebor late at night, just as the guards were closing up. Some clever doubletalk from Val convinced the guards that they should let them all in and the group would return in the morning to pay taxes. Bribes I had expected, possibly threats. But to get in by promising to come back in the morning and pay taxes was again something unexpected. What was even more unexpected was in the morning when the rogue actually did return to the gate to pay the due taxes (although they decided not to take their magical items to be assessed and taxed). She was met with amazed faces when she told the guards her story, and when she repeated it to the tax assessor at the city gates, he told her that the two guards who let her in would most certainly be out of a job when they came back for their next shift.

No good deed goes unpunished after all.

Staying the night in an inn, the group found it was much quieter inside than most inn's in the town. As it turned out the reason for this was this was the place where off duty town watchmen came to drank and they would get very upset if anything happened that put them back on duty. Gratefully the party spend a quiet night.

The next day was a bit more eventful. Zolis sent his raven out scouting and it reported they were being followed by Kano. Suddenly Zolis wanted Bran to drive much faster. "Young buggers, first they ask you to go fast and they complain when you go fast. Then they want you to go slow and they complain when you go slow. Daft buggers. Now they wants me to go fast. I should give them all a taste o' me magic and see if that shuts them up. Buggers!" They didn't get to go fast for long as a lone knight was blocking the road and challanging any fighting men who passed to single honourable combat. Sillas said he had no interest in such a fight but Zagan reluctantly accepted. Terms were agreed as to be to first blood, on foot. Zagan accepted a blade from the knight who in his turn used a long sword and shield. The pair clashed, both feinting and lunging at each other. Eventually when Zagan left himself open after taking a mighty swing the knight got passed his guard and sunk the tip of his blade into Zagan's shoulder winning the fight. He offered to heal up Zagan's wound, but he said he could deal with it himself. With a salute to and from the knight the party continued on their way across the bridge.

With no one looking out behind them the group was surpised when Kano rode up behind them. Alerted by the group to the threat, Bran said "Bugger it, bandit. I can take care of the little turd!", shoved the reins into a surprised Cadmus's hands and climbed to the back of the wagon. Kneeling down he took careful aim and when Kano was reaching out to grab onto the wagon Bran pulled the trigger on his blunderbuss creating a fifteen foot wide cone of high velocity small metal objects. Kano's very expensive warhorse took the brunt of the blast, while in accordance with the laws of momentum Bran went flying the opposite direction, crashing into the front of the wagon. Kano's horse fell down and rolled over but momentum still continued to apply and Kano went bouncing along the road without his mount. The group could have fled on here, but decided to finish Kano off since he was lying on the ground not moving. By the time they had slowed down and turned around however he had recovered his wits and climb somewhat shakily to his feet, then drew his rapier and dagger.

Sillas and Zagan tried to ride him down from horseback, but Zagan found it hard to control his steed with his knees and swing his two handed sword at the same time. Kano took advantage of this and ran over slashing Zagan deeply with both his weapons, forcing Zagan to retreat over to the wagon in the hope of getting some healing. Sillas just using a long sword had no trouble controlling his animal and charged at Zagan thrusting his blade at him in passing while Kano slashed back. Both men drew blood. Val attempted to fire her crossbow at Kano, but the poor quality of crossbows in this region told once again and the bolt snapped in twain snarling up the firing mechanism. It would take a bit of time to clear it and fire again. Zolis cast a spell to help make Zagan harder to hit in combat while Cadmus healed the worst of his wounds. Val then tossed Zagan a healing potion and suitably healed up he climbed off his mount and prepared to fight on foot.

Sillas tried a second ride by attack, but Kano was ready for him and stepped right beside the charging mount and stabbed up, deeply into Sillas's chest, however his rapier was caught on the steeds reins and whipped out his hand landing some ten feet away. Cadmus and Zoils continued their largely ineffectual hail of crossbow bolts, while Val managed to clear the jam on her weapon as Kano retrieved his weapon then charged towards the group on the back of the cart. Meanwhile Bran was frantically attempting to prepare his weapon to fire again. He hadn't ever met anything before that had needed shot at twice. Zolis intoned some ancient arcane words and a gout of fire burst forth from his hands towards Kano, scorching him a little, but was answered by being skewered by Kano. Barely alive the wizard staggered backwards, tripping up over his backpack and falling on his butt. Val swapped her crossbow for her dagger and snuck around Kano's side but was unable to find a chink in his armour. Other than Zolis everyone else closed in for melee while the wizard summoned a creature to defend him.

Now here was where I had a bit of a dilema. Zolis's player had to drop out earlier due to not feeling well so I was controlling him and I had to decide what creature Zolis would summon. Reading the list of things he could call on to help him. My eye was immediently drawn to Fiendish Squid. Based on his previous actions summoning such a creature in a land locked environment seemed entirely logical. However I did notice a small note after the spell saying such a creature could only be summoned in an aquatic environment, so he called on a large fiendish monsterous scorpion instead placing it between him and his would be assassin.

At this point I also forgot that Kano was going to take a powerful healing potion he had hidden, and he reopened a whole bunch of wounds on Zagan instead. Surrounded by enemies and missing his faithful wolfhound Kano wasn't able to block every thrust at him, his dagger was broken parrying a blow from Zagan's greatsword and enough damage was getting through his armour to leave some telling wounds. Finally, his leg grasped and being crushed by the demonic scorpion and with a cry of pain Kano collapsed to the ground either dead or unconscious. Val quickly looted him and they carefully checked a wooden box he had on him believing this was how he was able to find the group. Opening it after checking it for traps they found inside was a needle pointing southward. Zolis confirmed the item was indeed magical in some way, but that he would need more time and concentration to tell exactly how it worked. The group stripped him of everything, quickly buried the body beneath some stones, loaded his equipment onto the back of the wagon then fled the scene.

No one actually thought to check though and see if Kano was actually dead or merely unconscious.

Priapurl was the next city they passed through. The walls and many buildings inside seemed to be under construction and the only inns available were in large marque style tents. The group stayed in one overnight and left in the morning. Bran mentioned the city had been raised two years back when an Orcish horde had came up from the south. It had taken an alliance of several local cities and troops from Cormyr to put an end to the invasion and it would only be a matter of time before another one came along. He also mentioned that in his youth Bran had been an adventurer until he took an arrow in his knee and was forced to stop.

The next days journey was similarly uneventful and the party reached Eversult and spent another quiet night in an inn. I don't know kids today... when I was adventuring it was all night carousing, bar fights and waking up in strange prisons where the only way to gain your freedom was to go on some quest. Or while you were in the inn a man would stagger in and collapse, a note pinned to his back with a dagger which would start a quest (I had one character where this happened so often he'd put a mattress on the floor just behind the door and be waiting with a first aid kit to deal with it).

As Kristi and Anders were feeling ill and Dave had to go deal with some family stuff it was decided to call the game here. Hopefully next week the group will reach Teziir where much of the plot could be potentially revealled and many mysterious goings on... go on.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 03:47:11 PM by Dark Alex » Logged

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ER
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« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2017, 11:28:13 AM »

If there's one thing that can ruin an adventure, it is a shoddily-made crossbow. Kano really was not having a good day.
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« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2017, 12:44:04 PM »

I am trying to decide if Kano is going to reappear or if its time for his replacements to appear. Even if he is dead, he may still have a big influence on someone in the group...
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« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2017, 10:08:30 AM »

I am trying to decide if Kano is going to reappear or if its time for his replacements to appear. Even if he is dead, he may still have a big influence on someone in the group...

Alex, you have any idea, by chance, how much D&D first edition books are selling for these days? (DM Guide, Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Fiend Folio.) Apparently these are first edition re-printed circa 1983 with updated covers but all the contents are unchanged from the original covers. They're in good shape. Are they worth anything significant, you think?
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« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2017, 10:22:26 AM »

I have no idea on what price they would go for, although I will do some research for you. If you or a friend has them I would expect them to go for a fairly hefty amount. I know of roleplaying books from the early to mid 80's going for around £180-£200 which unless the currancy exhange rates have changed a lot since I checked a few months ago would be $225-$250. I'd expect 1st ed D&D to be more than that. Give me half an hour and I'll get back to you with what I can find. I didn't start playing D&D until later editions so I am not sure on the really old stuff.
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« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2017, 10:34:28 AM »

Check out the following link for a rough guide.

https://www.amazon.com/first-edition-dungeons-dragons-Books/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Afirst%20edition%20dungeons%20and%20dragons

Not quite as high as I'd thought though.
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Dark Alex
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« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2017, 02:29:27 PM »

Part Six of The Tale Of The Band Of The Icky Hand. Or Glen/Glenda?

With Dave busy and Anders feeling ill it was down to Val (Tina), Cadmus (Kristi) and Zagan (Soren) to explore Teziir and discover what was happening with the Mask.

The party travelled through the country side, their speed demon ancient driver at the helm. In contrast to their previous journeys this one went peacefully, including a night spent camping in the woods. Cadmus was able to heal up the rest of Zagan's injuries and restore him to full health. The next day they reached Teziir and were pleasantly surprised to find no tax collectors waiting to take money off them (the city taxes merchants based on profits, not the value of what they transport through the city here). Immediently finding a tavern to set up a temporary base in, the party decided to avoid the local branch of 'The Rumpled Bedding' which as it turns out is a chain of brothels across the region and instead went to a place called 'The Longhouse'. Well named for its size, the Longhouse was converted to an inn from two warehouses. It is frequented by moderately wealthy merchants and lesser nobility, but gold speaks its own language and when the party were offered the choice between the common room, a standard room or one of the exclusive theme rooms, each one of which were promised to make the occupant feel like they were transported to a different and unique far off land, they decided to splash out some money and go for the theme rooms.

As it turned out, each of the theme rooms had a different style of carpet in them, although since this is the first time anyone in the group has actually encountered a carpet, it was still impressive.

Plans were made and despite the best attempts of the party to intervene, Zolis hit the alcohol early and hard. When he was persuaded to go up stairs he stopped at the bar for a midnight snack (and by snack I mean drink) to take up with him.

In the morning the group split up (oh, if only I was running a horror themed game). Cadmus went to the local temple of Lathander, Zagan wanted to go looking for a shop he could sell the Ioun Stone they'd found and Val wanted to sound out the local thieves guild for some extra training. Zolis was staying in his room to sleep off his hangover and do some identifying of magical items.

Zagan found a shop called 'Mervins Magnificent Magical Merchandise', and going inside found the proprieter to be an ancient old man who was rather excitable when confronted with magical items. After some haggling they settled on a price. Haggling would feature a lot this game, sometimes going the parties way, and sometimes not so much. This time they got a pretty reasonable price for the item, but Zagan had to wait an hour or so while the old man checked the item was what he claimed it to be.

Cadmus meanwhile, took his letter of introduction to the temple of Lathander and found to his surprise a rather grim and dark looking edifice rather than the white temples he is used to for his god. One of the clerics explained to him the local rock was a dark granite and most buildings were made of it. The enterence was also rather dark and foreboding, but on entering the main hall, he found it was fully lit through a magnificent stained glass window and painted a soft yellow, the colour of morning sunshine. Showing the letter to one of the clerics, Cadmus was taken through the temple to the back, where once more everything was made from dark gray stone. They went upstairs several flights of stairs before reaching the rooms of the local First Dawnbringer (not sure if I have mentioned this or not, but as Kristi's god Lathander is the god of the Morning and his priests are referred to as Dawnbringers. I decided that the local head of each temple would be known as the First Dawnbringer). This it turned out was a very cantankerous old man who first accused Cadmus of being an assassin sent by (as he called them), "those buggers downstairs", who ever always out to poison him. Remaining polite he showed his letter of introduction to the old man (who he learned was called First Dawnbringer Maleon). He read it and with much "Hrumpf"ing was told in no uncertain terms that just because some young pup thought she could command the entire resources of Lathander just because she wrote a letter didn't mean it was going to happen. Cadmus told him the reason why he had to consult the Book of Skelos. Maleon told him that he'd speak to the one who guarded the book, but it wasn't something decent people should have any truck with and in 30 years its keeper hadn't once agreed to let anyone see it so he (Cadmus) was just wasting his time and more importantly that of Maleons. After explaining to Maleon why they needed to consult the book (basically everything that happened in the first episode), Maleon told Cadmus he'd pass it on to the keeper. He was then told to bugger off, and warned not to drink the water in the temple as the young buggers downstairs poisoned it to try kill him off so they could get his job. He was told to return the next morning for his answer. Which would be no.

When Cadmus spoke to Maleon, this started a timeline of events ticking off in the background. The consequences of this will affect the party in the future, although they won't know this. I just thought I'd y'know give you some behind the scenes info.

While all this was going on Valeria wandered around town until she started seeing symbols carved into stone buildings that she recognised as thieves signs. Eventually she found one that marked it as a reliable shop to fence stolen goods to. She sold the masterwork daggers the group had been gifted from the Monastery following the battle with the goblins, but found the shopkeeper had an interesting way of haggling. He offered 65 gold each for the daggers. When she tried to haggle him up he then offered 64 gold, then 63 and told her he'd keep going downwards the more she tried. Prying for some additional information she was able to get the location of one of the local thieves guilds safehouses, although she had to pay well for the information.

Finding her way deep into the slum like docks area by the river she found an unassuming building with many dock workers loading goods onto barges. She noticed several however were watching her carefully and doing very little work. She knocked on the door and was able to talk her way inside. Walking in she had a bright light shining in her face, but could see the outline of several people, one of whom demanded to know why she was there and more importantly how she had found out to come here.

She well and truely dropped the fence in it. He is going to find himself hanging upside down in the docks nailed to a wooden post and waiting for the tide to come in and drown him before the sun rises on the next day.

Anyway, Val said she wanted to join the local guild and get some training. They said they'd think about it and she should return the next day. She didn't notice she was being followed all the way home though.

Cadmus managed to track down Zagan just as the old man was finishing his incantations. The pair of them headed back to the inn, where they met up with Sillas, and Val. Zolis was still up in his room. Sillas had been checking up on him regularly and mostly Zolis had been throwing up, but he had been at work identifying the magical items they had collected. He was only able to investigate three items each day before he ran out of spells however, so it would take him a couple of days to get through everything.

The group decided to go up and visit Zolis. When they knocked on his door he yelled (as quietly as possible given his fragile state) that he wanted to be left alone. When the group persisted he finally opened the door up and after being nagged a lot by a very persistant Zagan he admitted he had researched some of the items they had found. The gem performed a variety of functions all based on it emitting light in various ways. It could be used as a lantern or an offensive weapon, with different uses draining different levels of power from it (three different words of command would power the gem, Illuminate, Potato and Kitten). The leather belt was a Belt of Dwarven Strength, which would make the wearer stronger. It also had some other property, but other than it was from the transmutation school Zolis had not been able to find out exactly what it did and finally the ring that Zolis had put on would increase the wearers ability to climb.

Zagan decided to try on the belt. Immediently his muscles started to swell up, but also his hair started to grow long, and the armour he was wearing was suddenly feeling very cramped in the chest area. His course features became softer and more femanine while when he asked what was going on, he found his voice had increased in pitch somewhat.

Pulling off his very restrictive armour, he now found (s)he possessed a fairly large pair of breasts. Looking down her trousers Zagan found while he had gained something upstairs, he was now missing something down below. Having to reroll his charisma Zagan found he was now a very attractive woman. Not quite super model material, but still pretty hot looking.

Ah, the joys of cursed items. Especially ones that switch your gender.

Standing in the corridor half naked, Zagan paniced for a few moments and tried to remove the belt, only to find it wouldn't budge before thinking "Actually, this isn't so bad. This has definite possibilites here." The rest of the party was trying to find ways of getting the belt off while Zagan protested "Hey, wait a sec. I am not so sure I want this belt removed." He was immediately carted off back off to Mervins Magnificent Magical Merchandise. Well ok, they got downstairs before the shocked reactions of the other customers reminded Zagan she was topless, and being female this was not a socially acceptable thing. She ran back upstairs to her room, got dressed and then went to the shop.

Being wolf whistled at all the way the group made it to Mervins. The party told the old man they needed the belt on Zagan (or Zagena as the others started to refering to her as), but not why. If they had it might have changed to old mans reply. They kept telling him to examine Zagan's belt so his eyes would drop down. Then Zagan/Zagena would say, no eyes slightly higher, then when she realised what he'd now be staring at told her to look at the belt. This cycled through a couple of times, the old mans eyes going up and down Zagan's form until someone started asking him for a price. Mervin offered to take Zagan through his back room and examine the problem a bit more closely. She went through and enquired what it would cost. When she was told either a couple of hundred gold or 45 minutes of her time upstairs. Zagan briefly contemplated flashing her breasts at him (which would have meant a Fortitude for the old guy not to suddenly have a heart attack and die), before deciding to run out of the shop insisting the others follow her and he was happy to live with being a woman for the moment.

(Men playing women in my games do get a slightly harder time from male non player characters, just to give them an idea of how difficult life can be for women sometimes. Plus its funny to hear men try and deal with these situations).

Zagan decided to spend some of the cash the group had managed to earn and found himself a new Great Sword, its cross hilt inlaid with ebony, while the two foot long ivory hilt seemed made for his grasp. Everyone then headed back to the Longhouse for some food, although on the way Cadmus did pick up and attractive red dress for Zagan. I figure Zagan wearing it would pretty much look like Tracy Helfer in the remake of Battlestar Galactica.

Zolis finally surfaced coming down and heading straight to the bar for more alcohol. He joined the rest with a tray filled with drinks The others decided to try and stop him getting drunk and knocked his alcohol over, but Zolis tried to drink the spillage anyway. Since Zolis wasn't aware of what had happened to Zagan, when she tried to persuade him to go up stairs back to him room Zolis misunderstood somewhat. He agreed and headed up to his room picking up two bottles of wine on the way.

Sighing, Val followed after a few seconds and knocked on Zolis's door. Assuming it was the attractive lady in the red dress he told her to enter, Val did only to be shocked when she saw the wizard with an already half empty bottle of wine dancing around drunkenly. Giving up, she left the room and shortly after the others found him passed out on his bed.

The rest of the night passed pretty much peacefully, although the party was starting to worry that the Mask was affecting Zolis's behaviour. Zagan promised to keep the noise down and in the morning the group decided it was ready to face the day. Val went back to her underground contacts while Zagan decided to accompany Cadmus to the temple of Lathander. A very hungover Zolis would again be watched over by poor Sillas.

In the lair of the local thieves guild, Val was told if she wanted to join them she'd need to prove her worth. A merchant by the name of Xzavros who lived in a hideously pink coloured mansion had recently purchased a ruby of unusual size and splendor. If she could retrieve the gem from him she would be allowed into the guild. She took a stroll past his house casually checking it out and looking around the local area. Some of the large houses had guards standing outside (including the one belonging to Xzavros), however the equally large house facing onto the back of her target appaered to have no visable security beyond a locked iron gate. She decided however that she would complete this job on her own, not believing the rest of the group would be willing to engage in thievery.

Cadmus and Zagan entered the temple and found Maleon waiting for them. He seemed rather put out that whoever guarded the Book of Skelos had agreed to see them once he had heard of the masks. Taking them deep underground below the temple he explained they kept old books and documents down here to preserve them, as well as other more esoteric items. They were also warned not to wander off and the area had many magical wards and other protections and anyone exploring might find the meaning of the phrase "curiosity killed the cat". Of course this was peppered with many "Bugger it"s and so on.

Several heavy doors were unlocked and Maleon explained that the locks had to all be done in a certain order or the corridor would explode and collapse as he led them down a dank corridor, barely lit by the flicker from a torch carried by Zagan.

Their guide unlocked a final dark oak door, reinforced with iron studs and offered the group one last chance to stop being silly buggers and go upstairs. Nervously, they decided to continue. He warned them not to take anything from the occupant, not to give him anything and not to touch anything he had touched.

After being told again they were daft buggers, he pulled open the door with a loud creak. As the door opened, the dark corridor was flooded with a soft golden light spilling out from the room. A gentle and cultured voice called out inviting them to enter.

Whatever the pair had been expecting, this wasn't it.

Entering the room, they found a well furnished room, comfortable chairs around a table with a bowl filled with fruit. A man dressed in long yellow silken robes (if you are thinking the king in yellow here, don't. Its not something Lovecraftian) that covered his body other than his hands and face. White gloves however covered his hands and his face was hidden behind a smooth ivory mask marked only by two slits for his eyes. He sat down opposite the party, telling Maleon to sit on a stool over by the door and then lowered his voice to prevent the old priest from overhearing them. He politely enquired about what it was the group wanted to know about. Cadmus recited the story of how they had found the Mask (basically the events of episode one, and mentioned about the bounty hunter who had been chasing them). He agreed that Cadmus could attempt to read the book, but his companion would have to leave the room and await them outside. He also revealled that he had previously been a companion of the man they found hung at the farmhouse. Thirty years before they had been fellow adventurers. With a warning that the book was not like other books and would test anyone trying to read it first. Indeed, just as someone would read it, the book would read the person.

Cadmus approached the book and opened its heavy beaten iron cover.

The world swam before his eyes and faded. Cadmus found himself... floating isn't quite the word but somehow existing in a realm of nothingness. Not even darkness. A dry voice from everywhere and nowhere spoke to her, while it felt like something was probing roughly through his thoughts. If he wanted to read them the voice said, he would have to prove he was strong enough to face the challanges he would face ahead. It would test him with his memories. Possibly something that had happened in his past, or future. The voice from the book told Cadmus it did not understand this thing called time. Suddenly daylight flooded the room and Cadmus found himself staring up at a clear sky while lying on some wet grass. And in a tremendous amount of pain. Looking down he had a large hole in his belly and plenty of blood was running out of it. All around him lay men dead and dying. In the distance an army of undead let by a cowled figure was approaching, killing all those who were just wounded. Cadmus could feel he had enough power for one last healing spell and as he was about to heal himself he heard a wail of pain. A young boy was crawling towards him, his legs horribly mangled.

Cadmus could either heal himself and escape the advancing skeletons or heal the boy.

As he tried to decide which course of action to take, all the while the undead were getting closer and closer.

Finally with the undead just about to reach them he filled himself with divine power and healed his own wound just as the nearest skeleton reached the young boy and plunged its sword into his back. The hooded figure uncovered his face, and just as Cadmus recognised the man controlling the army of undead his vision swam again.

The world returned to nothingness and a voice told him he had proven he had the strength to do what was needed and could read the book.
Had he healed the young boy, he'd have failed the test and had to sit two others. Of course this would also potentially given him some clues as to what would happen in some future encounters, but for the moment he is going to have to be content with a warning about an army of undead...

He was back in the chamber with the man in yellow and Maleon. The strange characters on the book moved and changed forming words that answered Cadmus's questions. It told him that the Masks were made from fragments of a long dead god, and when one put on a Mask he or she could absorb a portion of that gods power. Put enough Masks on and you become a god.

Of course being an ancient tome, it told that story a long more longwindedly. But what you got is the highlights. Besides, only Cadmus knows the full details of what he saw in his test and what he read in that damned book.

After he had finished reading he was reunited with Zagan and the pair left the temple. Maleon was much quieter afterwards than he had before. The group silently went back up the oppresive stairs to the main hall and then out into the sunlight beyond.

Why do these things take so long to write out? I need a scribe to take notes for me. In fact if someone is going to take notes for me, they might as well just type out everything for me.

Everyone headed back to the inn once more. Zolis remained holed up in his room, and was only seen to hand over the items he had identified during the day, then return to hiding. The rapier was a magical item which would improve the wielders chances of hitting his target and increase the damage they did. While no one was watching, Val quietly picked this item up without saying anything to anyone. Kano's mail shirt also proved to be magical increasing the protection given to the wearer which the party debated about and decided to give to Zagan. The final item they group had looked at was the box Kano had used. It allowed the user once per week to track the closest Mask. An additional enchantment on it also allowed the creater to always know where said item was located should they wish to know. A quick discussion decided that this item was then useless to the group as it would always point to Zolis.

I guess no one ever thought that if Zolis gets drunk and wanders off, or gets kidnapped it would be a handy way to help track him down.

The next day much time passed while spending some more gold and upgrading weapons to newer shinier versions (masterwork items generally), then dropping the box off at the temple of Lathander and asking them if they would give it to the man in yellow. Maleon totally refused reminding the party that he had told them they could not give him anything, take anything from him or touch anything he had touched. Although the group tried their best to persuade him otherwise the old man would not budge on this. He did say he could have the box stored underground with various other things best kept out of the publics knowledge. Eventually the group reluctantly agreed to this as a second best option.

After this, everyone headed back towards the Longhouse. The sun was starting to go down by now and long shadows were being cast over the streets. A couple of crashed wagons and a very large crowd of bystanders stood around this watching the drivers shout and argue with each other. Val took the opportunity to lighten someone of their coin purse before the group turned down a narrow alleyway to get to the next street down. At one point the alleyway widened up into a large square with one other exit from it.

Looking around Val noticed there were a lot of figures hiding in the shadows around this square. One man stepped out to block the way on. He told the group they were attracting a lot of interest with where they were going and who they were seeing. Important people in the city wanted to know what they were doing and they could either be friends and tell him what they were up to, or they could not be friends and they'd find out what the group were up to in less pleasant ways.

Zagan flexed his (sorry, her) muscles and stepped up to the stranger. Putting on his most intimidating voice he suggested the man get out his way before something very unpleasant happened to him. Cowed by this woman with a huge sword the thug backed down and backed off. At speed.

I can't believe the group managed to dodge a fight with some basic thugs. Oh well, it just means should they come up against this gang again later on they will have more people to fight later.

With that we ended the adventure for the night.

I think tonights adventure was much more fun than the previous one to run. Not only with a drunken wizard causing havock or Zagan and his belt, but just in general. Last week I had to improvise a lot of what happened and I always feel the game suffers then compared to one where I have enough time to write everything in advance and I know pretty much what the group is going to do. This is the first session so far where no combat has taken place (although I did prepare for up to three combat situations depending on how things went).

The group is showing a definite bias towards not sharing information with each other which has surprised me in several sessions so far. It may even have caused them to miss a few things. Nothing major so far, but it will be interesting to see how this develops.
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