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December 13, 2018, 01:13:51 PM
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Author Topic: My D&D campaign  (Read 14828 times)
Dark Alex
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« Reply #60 on: November 19, 2017, 05:53:06 PM »

The Tale Of The Band Of The Icky Hand Part Ten

After a long break we finally started to get back to the game. Zagan's girlfriend just had a baby and he has had to drop out the game, which is a shame as mentioned earlier something major is about to happen to Zagan.

The party was standing with the surviving villagers in the middle of piles of the dead. Villagers were crying and wailing for their dead friends and family, while others were trying to bind the wounds of those who had survived the battle. The party sort of bumbled about expecting people who were mourning the dead to tell them what to do. Eventually they figured they could strip the dead merc's of their gear and take their bodies out to burn.

The villagers started either taking their dead away to prepare for burial, or wander into the inn to just be with friends. While Val went out the village to retrieve Aileen and Bran to transport the bodies outside Zolis decided to have a look at the horses in the back of the stables. Four were there, but he couldn't see if any of them belonged to the dead mercenaries so we went inside the inn to ask about them. People sat about silently drinking. The innkeeper and his wife were silently handing out free drinks to the survivors.

An old man made his way over to the group and said although he had no reward they could give them he could tell them a tale that might interest them...

*Ahem*

"I can't offer you a reward for what you've done fur us but I huv summit that mibbies be o' interest to you. When I was a young man I lived in a village that was on the border twixt Sembia and Cormyr. Now both claimed the land we were on an the local lord grew rich taxing trade between both countries, but for as long as the castle had stood his line had been careful never to favour one country over the other. Not until the young lord took over. Now this lad, who had barely started shaving took a fancy to the King of Cormyr's youngest daughter and had his heart set on marrying her. The King seeing that this would once and for all put the area under his domain was all for and packed his lass over to be betrothed to the boy. Once the pair were old enough they'd be joined and sure enough the matter would be settled. But the lords of Sembia didnae take kindly to this match and raised an army to take the castle before the pair were wed. The laid seige to the castle. The King of Cormyr wissnae gonnae taek that though and he raised up his army to ride to the rescue. So three armies stood there, the castle defenders, the King of Cormyr and a whole bunch of mercanaries hired by Sembia, all facin' off again each other. The Cormyrian armies arrived and set up their camp and their battle lines ready to fight the next morning, but that night strange noises were heard inside the castle and many screams. Both armies outside the walls sent riders to each other and a truce was organised. The could get no answer at the castle gates, so men climbed the walls and opened them from inside. Everyone in the castle had been kilt in the night. The men swore the place was accursed and although the King blamed the Sembian's and wanted to attack, his advisors wore him down until both armies agreed to retreat, the King to his grief and the mercenaries... well they were going to be paid either way and would just as soon not die for the coin.

   Soon after everyone left my village afeared of whatever had killed everyone in the castle and from that day to this the castle has remained empty. Now maybe a smart bunch of adventurers not afraid of hard work and danger could take that castle, clear whitever demon decided to call it home out and claim the place for their own. I can give you a map to it if you wish? The men who were looking fir a bunch o' people earlier... I am guessing their business was wae yersels and I'll guess further that their will be others look fur ye soon enough. Fastest way oot o' hear wid be tae tak a boot fae mibbies one o' the fishing villages or if you've a mind tae risk it a ship fae a port and travel north, or you could always make the trip from here to there on the road. Taek you a lot longer that way and no doubt be a lot more dangerous, but ah guess you mibbies hae reasons to taek the lang way round."

(Oh, the spelling there is deliberate, that's me doing an accent).

The party were of course interested and decided to get a map to where this castle was. At this point I was quite releaved as this was the option I was hoping the party would go for. I'd written some stuff for the other options but this and its consequences were what I was trying to guide the group towards. Anywoo, back to the adventure.

They told him he help himself to any of the mounts outside as the all belonged to the invaders. Eventually Val returned and the group set about clearing away the last of the bodies (after stripping them of weapons, armour and gold) and piled them onto the cart. They bodies were hauled a few miles out into the woods and a crude pyre was built up to burn the bodies on. By the time they got back to the inn it was past midnight. They ate a bowl of hot stew each and heading upstairs to a free bed each in the inn.

The group collapsed into an exhausted and troubled sleep.

In the morning Colesta was the first to wake up. Unhappily to one of the village urchins shaking her awake and telling her she had to come downstairs right away and that it was really really important and she should come down right now because it was super really important. Getting wearily out of bed she trundled downstairs to be met by a large crowd of villagers. Apparently a group of men on horseback had ridden to the village looking for a some fugitives who more or less matched the parties description. They had claimed not to have seen them and the men rode off westwards. The villagers although grateful to the party were worried about further troubles decending on their heads and keen to see their saviours move on before the riders decided to return, or others come looking for them.

The party were also keen to move on before having to explain themselves to a large group of soldiers (well the group assumed they were soldiers, but actually it was a posse of bounty hunters). They debating trying for Westgate, somehow skipping Teziir and taking ship from there, but eventually decided to go in the other direction to another coastal port (Pros) and see if they could sail north from there to the capital of Cormyr, Suzail. Val decided to take the village up on the offer of one of the mounts from the stable, but alas lacking any skill in riding such a beast she was left very sore and aching from the ride.

As they were leaving the village they saw one of the posse had left a poster nailed to the gate.

WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE CITIZENS OF TEZIIR.

Led by a warrior who goes by the name Zagan. She is tall, exceptionally well muscled with red hair and green eyes, and carries a two handed sword titled "Goblin Cleaver".
A man masquerading as a holy man of Lathander and goes by the name of Cadmus. He is over six feet tall and stockily built with silver hair. Keeps himself clean shaven. Believed to be in his 50s.
Valarie Carmino, a notorious thief from Waterdeep's foulest cess pits. Also has red hair and green eyes, but is much slimmer than Zagan. Aged approximately 20.
Sillas of Karlston. The shortest of the group, Sillas is another warrior. Brown hair and eyes, also in his early 20s.
Bran the Brutal. A former pit fighter who retired and became a coach driver, Bran is over 60 winters, around 5 feet tall and is easily recognised by his constant smoking pipe and strange magical trumpet like weapon.

A known associate of the group, a wizard by the name of Zolis is also wanted for questioning in conjunction with the below crimes.

In addition the group are well known throughout several cities for grand sexual deviency and tipping whores poorly!

Crimes include Murder Of A Leading Citizen Of The City, Murder of Multiple Citizens of the city, Espiscopicide, Robbery, Unlicensed Slave Trading, Inciting Riot In A Tavern, Breaking and Entering, Escaping Prison, Assault Of A Prison Guard.

Bounties are as follows

Zagan - 2000 gold
Val - 3500 gold
Cadmus - 4000 gold
Sillas - 500 gold
Bran - 500 gold
Zolis - 500 gold. For information leading to the capture of any of the above, half the reward.



(Just as a note, I had a hard time finding out what the proper term would be for the murder of a high ranking priest. I wonder if all my google searches have just lit up some anti-terrorist police mans alerts like a xmas tree on acid?)

Zolis ripped the poster off the gate and tucked it inside his robe. Boy, wouldn't it be fun if a paladin type was to join the group and find that...

The cart was forced to leave the road and go cross country to find their way to Pros giving them an even more bumpy ride than usual. After a few hours they could see Pros, a dirty looking port with a pall of smoke hanging over it and a strong stink of fish on the wind. Entering the port the group split up. Val went with Bran to find a few chests to secure their valuables and locks to go on them. The party is hauling around a significant amount of gold and are starting to worry that something might happen to it.

Oh, if only they knew what is about to hit them. I am almost dancing with glee at the thought of next weeks adventure and what they end up facing.

Meanwhile Colesta and Zolis headed down to the docklands to find a ship.

Did you know that the term Wharf comes from WareHouse At River Front?

Zolis being in the group however they were diverted into a bar to try and get information. The place they walked into (called The Salty Seaman) had a thick smoke from all the patrons puffing away on pipes. Coughing and spluttering from the cloud they ordered a couple of drinks and tried to get information from the barman, only to be told he served drinks and wasn't an information broker who could tell them what ships were sailing where. They could try asking some ships crews though and they might have a better idea where they were heading. Zolis couldn't take the atmosphere in the bar and had to step outside for some (slightly) fresher air, even if it did smell of fish. Colesta finished her drink and followed. Enquires on a nearby vessel that had cargo being loaded on it and went by the name of 'The Penguin' (was supposed to be 'The Puffin', but I forgot and could only remember it was a bird beginning with 'P'), and they were introduced to Captain Dale Malvian, a bluff hearty fellow with a big bushy beard and a massive cutlass. He was heading to Cormyr, although not to the port they wanted and since he hadn't managed to fill his cargo hold could take the group, their mounts and even their wagon, but the last would cost plenty extra. After some bargaining it was decided to cart and mules would be sold off in the port and a new one bought when they got to their destination (a place called Marsember). The Penguin was due to sail on the morning tide and the captain was happy to let the group sleep on board ship rather than have to wait for them if they were late and miss the tide.

Since no one wanted to drink from The Salty Seaman (at this point the group realised the name of the inn and I got disapproving looks from Kristi), they headed in to a slightly more upmarket place, where people at least spit into a spitoon than on the floor. They had a meal before heading back to the ship and dividing up the three cabins alloted to them between them.

The next few days passed uneventfully although Zagan, Zolis Val and Cadmus all suffered from seasickness initially. While most of them managed to get their sea legs after a few days poor Zagan just couldn't stop feeling ill and throwing up every day. Aileen would disappear for hours at a time with Val (Val is learning how to be a shadow dancer and first she has to learn some ususal dance steps that is somewhat different from the courtly dancing she did with Sir Geldon. Either the vertical or horizontal kinds, bearing in mind she did both) and Zolis busied himself reading the book he found after his strange dream. It contained ways of using magic he had never considered before, new ways of making The Weave bend to his will and for someone like him was a real page turner.

Several days passed on board the ship, they saw dolphins riding the bow waves and the occasional other ship, only one of which passed close. Captain Malvian and his opposite shouted news at each other as they passed. The mood on the ship got decidedly more somber as word passed around the crew.

War had finally came. Thay had regularly invaded its northern and western neighbours over the centuaries, but had always fell to infighting and failed to conquer their more organised foes. This time they had allied with their southern neighbour, Mulhorand and combined the two armies had all but annihilated the armies of Aglarond. Thesk was preparing its borders for an expected assault and Cormyr was calling other countries to join it in a grand alliance to stand against the aggressors. Even the thought that the ships cargo of arms and armour would now fetch a higher price failed to raise the spirits of captain or crew.

Later that day as the sun was going down the lookout in the crows nest spotted another ship on the horizon and shouted to the captain. He looked at the vessel through a spy glass and immiediently shouted a warning to the crew, it was the Red Raven. A notorious pirate ship which only attacked during the hours of darkness and left few survivors. Malvian shouted orders to the crew who sprung into action to coax every ounce of speed from their ship, but as the sun finally went down they could see the ominous red sailed ship was closing fast.

In the darkness the crew listened intently trying to hear the sound of the other ship over the creaking of their own. Hours passed and in hushed whispers the party found out that if they could avoid the Raven until daylight they'd be fine but should it take them at night... well would be a hard fight to get free. It was said that the captain of the Raven was a man known as Bludreich (pronounced Blood-rik) could smell another ship and track it uneeringly in the dark.

Still time passed with no sign of the enemy vessel.

Somewhere between twelve bells and the next watch however a cry went up "Ship, fifty feet off the port bow!"

Before anyone could do anything the Raven crashed into the Penguin, causing it to list heavily. The group managed to stay on their feet as grappling hooks were thrown to The Penguins railing holding it fast to the side of the Red Raven. With savage war cries the pirates boarded their victim and everyone hefted their weapons preparing for fight.

And there we need to leave it for next week. Since I wasn't sure which route the group would take I had been trying to cover three different possiblities and didn't get as much written as I would have liked, but I didn't want to write tons of stuff that wouldn't get used.

Oh, if anyone wants an idea of what the place all this is taking place in looks like, this is a pretty decent map of Faerun. https://secure.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/6/3/7/1/highres_19705457.jpeg
« Last Edit: December 16, 2017, 05:27:07 PM by Dark Alex » Logged

There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
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« Reply #61 on: November 21, 2017, 01:10:29 PM »

"In addition the group are well known throughout several cities for grand sexual deviancy and tipping whores poorly!"

Bwhahahahaa!
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Dark Alex
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« Reply #62 on: November 21, 2017, 01:33:20 PM »

"In addition the group are well known throughout several cities for grand sexual deviancy and tipping whores poorly!"

Bwhahahahaa!

The tipping whores poorly part was a last minute add on. For some reason it just seemed the right thing to say.
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There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #63 on: November 28, 2017, 04:10:17 PM »

Anders called in sick for this weeks game, so I thought I'd do a bit on the bad guys. Since this is the first such post I thought I'd start with the first villain the group faced. Father Morgan.

Introducing the bad guys. Father Morgan.


Initially designed as a one shot bad guy who wasn't supposed to survive the first adventure, his motivation was simple jealousy. He believed the old hermit was more powerful than him and wanted to be the village's big fish. The party assumed he had some connection to the Mask's (incorrectly, he just happened to have his plot going on at the same time. Sometimes when players make this kind of connection though you can work it into the game and it adds a lot of depth to the game world) and tried to take him in for trial despite no official law claiming jurisdiction over the area. Alas being a spell caster he had access to a familiar which was able to chew his bonds and help him escape. He was however unable to go back to his home village and as the group was heading to the next town he fled into the woods. What he found there, or rather what found him... well that is something the party might discover in the future.

Father Morgan is tall and thin with a scholarly air about him and deep intense eyes. Normally he dresses in somber looking clothing to give himself an air of seriousness. He has a carefully cultivated goatee (a sure sign of a bad guy) and is highly intelligent although a little unstable. He normally carefully plans out what to do in advance, however due to his inexperience in these matters he tends not to plan for the consequences afterwards and can panic about what to do once his initial scheme is completed. He wasn't quite evil enough to actually kill someone himself, although has had no problem getting others to do the dirty work for him. As long as he is getting his own way he is very urbane and polite. Should anyone appear more knowledgeable about something than him it immediately arouses his jealous side and he will take anything they do that meets with other peoples approval as a personal affront.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 07:40:32 AM by Dark Alex » Logged

There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #64 on: December 03, 2017, 05:34:44 PM »

The Tale Of The Band Of The Icky Hand. Part Eleven

The massive Blood Raven crashed into the side of the merchant vessel Penguin. Grappling hooks flew over the side securing their prey and a horde of vagabond pirates came charging over the side, dropping onto the deck of of the smaller ship. The crew met the invaders and made a stand against the greater numbers of the pirates. Captain Malvian bellowed orders and encouragement to his crew as they managed to hold the line and even push back the invaders. Spells flew from Zolis and Colesta while Val climbed up the mast and started throwing thunder stones, shrieking stones and deadly beams from the brilliant gem they found previously.

For a while this held them back.

Then a second wave appeared from inside the Blood Raven. Much better dressed than the first wave of attackers, but carrying no weapons and wearing no armour they walked on board the belaboured Penguin. Then suddenly half the sailors turned against their companions. Sillas was someone surprised when Zolis ran over and started trying to knife him. One of the newcomers shouted to the remaining defenders to surrender and join the crew or die. He stood out from the others by being the only one to carry a weapon.

Seeing a chance to turn the tide, Val dropped down behind him and thrust her magical rapier into him. Or at least she tried to, but the weapon seemed to do very little damage. No blood ran out the small wound she did manage to cause. Colesta fired her crossbow and got a direct hit on his chest, but somehow the bolt ricocheted off him instead of sinking into his flesh. The crew who fought on similarly found their weapons did little or no damage to these... people. Captain Malvian swore that he'd never surrender and charged the man, swinging his massive two handed cutlass. His blow took the man on his shoulder and cut into it, but no where near as much as anyone would have expected. In reply the pirate dropped his barbed trident, and swung a backhand at the captain knocking him to the floor. Then he bodily picked him up over his head and threw the captain against the main mast. The captain fell to the group stunned, and looking as if the very life had been sucked from him.

The dispirited sailors started throwing down their weapons, no one could see any new tricks to try and reluctantly they put their hands up and were taken prisoner. Everyone except Malvian. A couple of pirates dragged him to his feet and nailed his hands to the mast while others went below deck. Everyone else was tied up and made to kneel on the deck of the Blood Raven. Its cargo was transfered over to the pirate ship, and the grappling hooks holding the ships together were cut. The lanterns on the Penguin seemed to get closer and closer to the water as the ship, holed beneath the surface slowly sank, Captain Malvian's mornful cries bearing witness to its sinking.

"First law of the sea." said the trident pirate "Captain always goes down with his ship."

Val managed to wriggle free of her bonds. One of the pirates was untying the prisoners. Val leapt at him and tried to get his dagger off him. She failed and got some painful cuts for her efforts. Other pirates seeing this happening ran over and beat her into unconsciousness. When she awoke she was tied and chained to the mast. In the meantime everyone else had been released. She had missed the better dressed pirates disappearing down into the hold and then some loud roaring noise came from below and the entire ship started shuddering and shaking. It also then settled deeper in the water. A wiry gnome wearing glasses that made his eyes look massive came up stairs and watched over the crew during the day. Val was untied on the condition she agreed to behave and Colesta carried out some healing on her. The day continued and the party didn't really ask any questions of the crew (which rather surprised me, the gnome was there to supply all sorts of background information).

As night fell once more the (for want of a better term we shall call them) officers came back up on deck. The pirate with the trident (who the party were assuming is Captain Bludreich) asked if everyone was ready to join the crew. Anyone who didn't want to would simply be... dropped off. No one changed their minds. To welcome the newcomers to the crew a barrel of rum was rolled up onto deck. From somewhere instrucments were found and a lively jig was soon playing. Zagan's seasickness kicked in once more and she was throwing up over the side.

The 'captain' noticed this and went over to her. After looking at her for a few moments he announced "You will be put ashore the next time we are near the coast. Got no room for a pregnant woman on this ship and killing ye would be pointless. After all, who can we plunder and steal from if we kill the young ones before they grow up?"

Zagan collapsed in shock. Zolis thought of the night he got very drunk and (as so be believes anyway) had sex with Zagan and collapsed in shock too. Everyone else felt a bit in shock too and helped themselves to large mugs of rum until they passed out drunk on deck.

I then informed the party that every time they'd had sex I'd been rolling for pregnancy. Several of them are now worried about past misdeeds.

The next few days passed as the party adjusted to their new surroundings. Every morning before first light the roaring from below decks would sound and the ship would settle deeper in the water, while when the sun sank the roaring would sound again and the ship would rise up and then speed off much faster than the doomed Penguin ever sailed.

One of the days Val spoke with the gnome who watched the ship during the day. She enquired about the noise and was taken below and shown lots of machinary which he explained in great detail to her about how it operated. However it all meant nothing to her and sounded like magic.

It became clear that the ship was sailing closer to land. They picked up rumours of why, but nothing concrete. Val and Colesta tried making plans with Zolis, however he seemed quite happy with his new life, and indeed warned the gnome that his companions were trouble makers. While passing the gnome one day he hissed to Val "Beware, your friend is one of theirs now!" and walked on saying no more on the matter.

Eventually after a few nights of cruising closer to land, the crew were gathered up. Everyone was told they would be raiding a coastal settlement. One half was going to be dropped off a days march away and would go across land and hit the town from behind. The shore party was to set a few buildings on fire and the flames would be a sign for the Raven to come in and trap the townsfolk in a pincer movement. Oh, and the shore party would have to make their way through a swamp infested with lizard men with a taste for flesh. Anyone who tried to desert would have to deal with them alone.

The shore party was selected (which included the party), and ordered into one of the ships two long boats, then lowered into the water and lowered to the shore.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2017, 05:27:33 PM by Dark Alex » Logged

There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #65 on: December 13, 2017, 05:28:45 PM »

Since on Sunday I was in no mood to run a game (a bit of a mixture of a rare hangover and not being able to decide what to do about Aaron), I called that night's game off. So instead here is another villain.

Introducing the bad guys. Kano.

Kano Carmino. Initially designed to be a recurring character who would sometimes help and sometimes hinder the party until a big reveal to happen later in the campaign, Kano (as do all recurring characters), was killed off earlier than I had hoped. A highly skilled bounty hunter, his biggest weakness was his sense of honour. Rather than being a deadly fighter, Kano was a ranger who had a number of skills and abilities to help him track, although he is no slouch when it comes to a fight either.

Alas poor Kano didn't manage to fulfil his planned role as sometime enemy, sometime ally of the group after he got a face full of buckshot and then attacked by the entire party. He was buried in a shallow grave at a road side (which was more than poor Cadmus got when he died). Wither he is actually dead, or was just unconscious is something the party don't know and equally they haven't yet discovered what connection he has to the group...
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 07:41:10 AM by Dark Alex » Logged

There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2017, 06:00:27 PM »

So after the 11th session how does the party stand?

Well Zolis is in thrall to the pirates, while Val and Colesta are trying to come up with some plan to escape. I am not sure exactly how long the party is going to be with the pirates, although I do have an end scenario in mind. Maybe they'll decide they like the idea of a pirate's life and take the adventure in a different direction, although certainly still one where the war launched by Thay and Mulhorand will still interfere a lot with the parties plans.

I am assuming that the group is going to try and escape the ship and get to the abandoned castle they were told of and were heading to before the pirates got in the way. They will then claim the castle for themselves and use it as a base for searching out more Masks. It will be interesting to see how much I get wrong though, although I have to say so far I've got most things right. It's just some of the things the players do while they go on whatever path I had hoped they'd go along that sometimes take me by surprise. I have plans for an old school dungeon bash. If the party ends up in the Underdark however all bets are off as to where they end up.

Soren (Zagan) hasn't heard yet that I retired his character by making him pregnant. I'd love to see his face when he finds that one out. I wonder if the remaining women in the party will start being a bit more cautious now, or indeed the men?
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There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #67 on: December 17, 2017, 05:25:25 PM »

The Tale Of The Band Of The Icky Hand. Part Twelve.

Seriously, when are they going to get themselves their own name?

Anyway, the shore party landed on what passed for a beach, but was really more like slightly more solid water as they were dropped off in a swamp. One of the pirates, an ogre like creature that was apparently human called Clogg. He ordered Val to take four people and scout ahead. Val chose Colesta, Aileen and Zolis as her scouting party. I had expected them to take Sillas as well, but Val decided to run light and not take the full foursome. Trudging on through the muddy ground, it was slow going and everyone felt miserable as their boots filled with icy cold marsh water.

Aileen could hear some strange clicking sounds from uphead. Val pulled out her magical gem and lit up the area and then decided this was a bad idea and shut the light off. Just enough time to ruin everyone's night vision and give them flashing lights. Their visability would be reduced for the upcoming night fight thanks to that one. As the light flashed they attracted the attention of a hunting party of lizardmen. Unsure of what they had distrubed but hearing disturbing roars and cries from up ahead, they stood back to back weapons drawn. Zolis huddled in the cover of a nearby bush.

Their opponents alas could see perfectly well in the dark and came on in a wave of scaly fangs and claws.

Ok, this was supposed to be a nice easy fight. None of the creatures were tough enough to be a serious challange to the party. However any adventuring group always has a legendary ability to mess up anything. Put in a reoccuring bad guy and they'll snuff him the first time they meet him.

Val managed to get a shot off with her crossbow before they were on the party and she switched to her rapier. A mixture of claws and stone axes lashed out at her, leaving her battered and bloody, but conscious... if barely. A giant lizardman some eight to ten feet tall jumped out of the bushes to attack Zolis as he raised a magical barrier to protect himself (mage armour) but failed to gut him on its spear. Aileen disappeared into the shadows preparing to use her hit and run attacks on the attackers from behind.

The onrushing wave of reptilian creatures continued unabated. Colesta and Val were both surrounded, preventing them from using their most powerful magics and forcing them to switch to close combat. Val's rapier flashed in the moonlight leaving gory wounds leaking thick green blood, but some sort of lizard hound sank its teeth into her knee and ripped out a chunk of flesh, it's venomous teeth leaving an infected wound which would drain her strength and vitality.

I started worrying at this point that they might not survive this simple encounter.

Zolis was being beat back and attempted to run away to put some space between him and his opponents. They tore some holes in his exposed back, but he got to where he needed to be. Summoning his mightiest arcane powers he fired off a lightning bolt that danced from lizardman to lizardman frying several where they stood. Unfortunately the giant creature he was fighting just got p**sed off and thrust it's spear deep into his side and lifted him into the air before throwing him off to one side leaving him no chance to celebrate his kills. At least he no longer falls unconscious after every hit though.

It did however take out most of the creatures behind Val and Colesta allowing them to concentrate just fighting the foes before them. The rest of the shore party was drawing close and could hear the sounds of the desperate combat in the darkness, and came running to help.

Ok, so the group have done nothing to make friends or learn anyones name on board the ship so the run was more of a slow jog, but still it was faster than a walk. Many actions (or indeed as in this case, inactions) have consequences in my game the players are never aware of.

Val managed to split the head of the lizard hound in twain, and Colesta managed to brain a few with her heavy mace, but the long march through the night and the wounds they were receiving were taking their toil. In her tiredness she dropped her mace, the heavy iron weapon sinking into the swamp. Rather than try and find it she simply switched to her morning star and continued hunting the remaining lizardmen. The head of the lizardmen seeing his warriors falling in droves and with the pirates about to join in the melee decided to bravely go and gather reinforcements.

Aileen had been fighting a small group on them on her own off in the dark, and finished them off in time to return to help with the last of the primordial nightmares clawing at Colesta and Val. Colesta then ran up behind the giant that was ready to kill Zolis and brained it, the spiked ball of her weapon crushing even the thick skull of the lizard creature. Zolis may have appreciated this more had no not had to leap out of the way of the falling giant!

With the greater body of pirates arriving the few remaining lizardmen were mopped up (not counting of course the lone survivor who fled off into the night). Clogg grunted at them to get moving again, not caring about their wounds or the threat of further ambush.

Eventually the sun arose and it brought with it a horde of stinging insects to plague the shore party. For everyone they swatted another ten seemed to take it's place. Every breath in was filled with the risk of crunchy extra protein. One of the pirates made the mistake of treading on a poisonous snake. It would however be the last mistake he ever made.

And I'll write the rest of this tomorrow as my bed is calling.
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There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #68 on: December 19, 2017, 02:41:31 AM »

Onward through the noxious swamp they went. For some reason the party was feeling a bit nervous about alligators. Go figure on that one...

Eventually tired, cold and wet they arrived at the foot of a hill, and the end of a rough road leading around it. Carefully cresting the mound, the raiders could see the path led to a bridge over a river mouth, and on the other side a good sized town, all unsuspecting and ready for invasion. Clogg set a couple of men to watch from the hill over the town and warn them if anyone was coming this way. It was a fair bet though that not too many people would generally choose to explore the swamp often. Zolis got his head down to go for a sleep while Val sought out Colesta in private to try and figure out some kind of plan to warn the town, however with another roughly sixty pirates close by and the bridge being watched, not to mention that Zolis had apparently decided the pirates were his best friends they couldn't see a way to sneak into the town.

Good job they didn't have a shadowdancer accompanying them who could simply stealth over if asked. Oh wait, Aileen is a shadowdancer and is even training Val to be one.

As the sun came down Clogg gathered everyone around and explained his complicated attack plan. The group was split up into... a single group, which was told to charge across the bridge, set fire to a couple of buildings and round up the towns people as they panic and run. The Blood Raven would then come in and finish entrapping everyone.

Unable to see a way out of this that didn't end up with them facing off at odds of over ten to one the Band charged with the rest into the town, although Val was careful to hang around at the back. This wasn't for any altruistic reason, she just wanted to slip off and loot some houses while everyone else was rounding up the civilians. She merrily ran from house to house ramsacking them while the inhabitants were herded to the docks.

As the raiders ran into the town it torches were thrown onto thatched roofs, igniting the signal fires to call the Blood Raven in. As everyone was gathered in the dock, the ship swooped in like some giant dark bird. Some of the crew on board the ship jumped down from the ship to the dock, almost seeing to float down to the ground. They ran over whooping and hollering, looking to further terrify the captives. Others got down more gracefully. The first mate yelled to the shore party that they had two hours to loot the town and then the ship would be leaving. Zolis, quite happy just to carry out the orders of the pirates without reward sat down on a box on the dock.

Here is where things got interesting...

Colesta decided to try and remove what ever mind control the pirates had over Zolis. First she cast Detect Magic on him to find out what kind of control they had over him and then she used a Dispel Magic. Imminently the fog cleared from Zolis's mind and he realised he'd been dominated by their captors. Secondly the Mask fell off his face. Anders decided to roll a wisdom check to decide what Zolis would do about this. With his Wisdom modifier he ended up with a score of -1... He climbed up on the box he was standing on, spread his arms wide and swan dived so he'd face plant straight on top of the Mask, reattaching it to himself.

And then I accidentally mentioned that the officers on board the Blood Raven were Vampire Pirates, or Vampirates for short. Tina and Anders didn't notice this initially, but Kristi blurted out "What do you mean the pirates are vampires?" and the secret was out. Damn, damn, damn. I had planned on stringing this out for a few weeks and having the party slowly uncover the secrets of the Blood Raven. Instead no, I had to let it slip out. Bugger!

While this was going on Val was still merrily looting the town, but everywhere she went someone else had already cleared out (she rolled really low for her ill-gotten gains).

The trio discussed slipping away into the night and wondered if they could be tracked, but were unwilling to leave without their gold back on the ship. Zolis went back aboard to grab his treasure chest, but found once he got on ship he wasn't going to be allowed to leave again.


The towns folk were split up into groups. The women and children were put in one, the young men another and older men in a third. The first mate shouted that they were to take two out of every three of the young men on the ship. The rest were herded into the town's wooden town hall, while the Vampirates stood around it holding lit torches. The doors were barricaded to prevent everyone leaving, and the party feeling helpless watched as the Vampirates laughed and got back on board the ship.

If they wipe out a town, completely that is one less town to raid in the future.

The Blood Raven set sail as the fires the raiders had set died down and headed off into the darkness, having taken on more crew.
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There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
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« Reply #69 on: January 07, 2018, 12:21:28 PM »

Since this virus I have is still killing my back and making me grumpy I decided not to run a game tonight. I'd only end up killing off the party tonight, so instead here is another profile, this time of an organisation rather than an individual villain.

Introducing the bad guys. The Dark Reflection.

Some of the deadliest assassins in all Faerun, the Dark Reflection are what you call on when you don't just want someone dead, you want to make it very clear that this person upset the kind of other people who can afford to pay for the kind of things to be done to you that these people can and will do to you.

Each member of the Reflection represents one of the darker gods and brings a very individual set of skills to the group. The group has only encountered one member, Sir Geldan. He actually the weakest of the Reflection, although this is a very relative term. A weak Reflection is still someone to be feared.

The gods the Reflection represent are Bane (the god of tyranny), Lolth (demon queen of the Dark Elfs), Malar (the beastlord), Mask (the god of thieves), Talona (the mother of plagues), Cyric (the prince of lies) & Shar (the lady of the Shadow weave).

Sir Gelden is the representative of Bane and the newest member of the Reflection. He became the standard bearer of Bane after protecting a noble woman from the attention of the previous Banite and fell victim to the curse of the Dark Reflection. He found himself forced by powers beyond his control into becoming the replacement. His first mission was to kill the very woman he had previously protected. He has tried escaping his role, but eventually Bane's will overcomes his own and he returns to his... duty.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 07:51:15 AM by Dark Alex » Logged

There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #70 on: January 14, 2018, 06:06:27 PM »

The Tale Of The Band Of The Icky Hand. Part Thirteen.

The ship sailed off into the night, many of its newest crew members in tears and wailing. The party went back onto the ship and went below decks to the second level down, where the lower ranking crew sleeps. They got in their hammocks and although there was the usual night of partying up on deck they managed to fall asleep. In the morning the roaring noise from below decks woke them up as the ship once more began to settle deeper in the water.

Colesta and Zolis decided to compare spell books and learn from each others while Val spoke again to Riggle, asking him for lessons on how the ship operates. Riggle's instantly delved deep into a long (3 hour) talk about the properties of hydrodynamics of which Val understood absolutely nothing.

Together they started trying to come up with some plan to take over the ship, or escape from it. They started putting pieces together but had no real idea of the whole thing. They asked questions, but having made no effort previously to ingratiate themselves with the crew previously found themselves shunned somewhat. When any of them saw Colesta coming close, they would suddenly stop chatting and just eye her suspiciously.

Rather than try and break down that reserve the group decided to try and talk to Riggle again. They managed to find out that the Blood Raven was actually designed and built by him (or at least he paid for it), and somehow it had been taken off him, although he did not want to talk about how. He warned them not to go up against "Those Below", as they were too powerful to defeat.

Time passed on board, a week or two and still minding their own business on board (I had expected the party to start planning some sort of mutiny). The ship had failed to find any prey for a while, when one day a sail was spotted on the horizon. The course and speed was noted in case the officers decided to chase it at night. Then another, and another appeared until an entire fleet was heading in the direction of The Blood Raven. Then coming down from the north another set of sails was spotted. The two fleets seemed to be heading to the same place. Were they looking for each other or the Raven? (This is actually more to do with the Thay/Mulhorand alliance and it's expansionist wars).

Riggle ordered the ship to make sail, although sitting heavy in the water during the day it was much slower than the sleek beast it became at night time. He ran downstairs, ordering Colesta to keep it on a steady heading. Val went with him to see if she could help. He started up the mechanical dragon that propelled the ship, but it whined with a high pitch rather than the deep throated roar they were used to hearing. While still sluggish the ship picked up speed. Riggle was running around like a tiny demon, twirling valves and pulling levers while yelling instructions to Val on how to assist. The temperature below decks steadily increased, metal parts started to glow red from overheating while parts spun and wailed in protest at their treatment.

Agonisingly slowly the ship crawled out of the way of the approaching fleet, thickly oily black smoke pouring from the engines. Eventually however it managed to pull out of the way. In the distance flashes could be seen as night fell and the fleet's engaged.

On the third deck under (the first deck carries cargo, the second deck supplies and where the ordinary crew sleeps, third deck is the machinery. None of the party has been any further into the bowels of the ship than this) Riggles fought to prevent his precious engine exploding. Both him and Val had burns from hot steam and the conditions they were working under. The engines were shut down and would have to go into drydock under sail for repairs.

As the crew awoke, the door to the captain's room opened. Something that had not happened while the party had been on the ship before. The group was finally to meet the scourge of the Dragonmere, Captain Bludreich himself. Or as it turned out, not quite himself.

"A small, lithe woman is standing there. All she is wearing is a thin gauze wrap around her hips. Her eyes immediately grab your attention. They are the most vivid, electric blue you have ever seen. Her long dark eyelashes frame her eyes perfectly. Her hair is a glossy midnight black and hangs loosely down to her waist. Like the other pirates her skin is pale, although in her case it is an almost alabaster whiteness. Her breasts are small and pert and every movements she makes seems very graceful and flawless.

She smiles a very shy and girlish smile, her teeth a brilliant white against her ruby red lips and skips childishly onto the deck."

Herself is more accurate.

She made her way over to Riggle and demanded to know why her ship was broken. In a stammering voice, Riggle explained the events of the day and that he couldn't make full repairs while at sea. The party couldn't hear what was said next, but then Bludreich swayed her way across the deck, picked a sailor at random and ran a perfectly manicured nail down the line of his jaw, before turning around and walking back to her cabin, the entranced sailor following her.

For four days the ship sailed on, still low in the water. Riggle was asked where they were heading and he replied in his high pitched voice "The only place we can safely make port. The Pirate Isles and the town of Gautorot. Colesta and Zolis spent some time swapping spells from their respective spell books while Val attempted to learn about engineering.

When land came in to sight it was hardly inspiring, a clutch of rude settlements climbing up a hillside, covered with a dirty smoke. As the ship got closer they could see the wooden buildings looked like they were made from the salvaged remains of ships. Young boys in rags caught the ropes thrown from the ship and tied it up. Everyone was told they had 30 days shore leave while the ship was repaired. Anyone who didn't return on time would be hunted down and made an example of. Oh, and anyone wanting to go ashore would be getting branded to prevent them being press ganged by another ship's captain. Oh, and anyone staying on board would also be getting branded just to be on the safe side.

The trio went ashore, first receiving a brand on the wrist in the shape of a "B" made to look somewhat like a bat. The buildings were all poorly built and the streets were wide enough only for someone to walk single file. Refuse littered the streets, the stench of rotting garbage battling with the smell of fish. Staying together they headed in to the depths of the town. Most of the buildings seemed to be rickity houses or bars but wandering the back streets they came across a place called "Old Marlone's Collectibles". The group wanted to sell the weapons and armour they'd collected, but the shop keeper, Marlone was only interested in magical items. Marlone looked ancient, incredibly thin with a scrawny beard to match his build. If he was a day less than 90 it would have been a surprise. He did however direct them to a competitor who specialised in non magical items. They followed his directions and found themselves in what might have been the town square. On the northern side sat the largest building they had seen so far on the island. It might have been the town hall, or it could have been a church, or just the island's richest resident. On one of the other sides sat a row of shops, mostly selling fish or other produce from the sea. One however was the one they were looking for are bore the simple title "Getwrictch".

Entering the shop, the group could hardly see. Very little light got inside, and no artificial light illuminated the inside. Stacks of merchandise blocked any line of sight for any distance into the shop, but wandering around a little the group found the shopkeeper. Almost as old looking as Marlone, but with a much more startling appearance. Both his eyes at some point had been ripped from his head leaving two empty, scarred sockets that still wept slow tears of blood down his face. Occasionally he'd wipe them away with a stained handkerchief. Inquiring as to what the party wanted, the told him about the weapons and armour they wanted to sell. He agreed to look at them, so the party trundled back down the hill to the dock and retrieved their goods from the ship, much the same as the longer term serving sailors had done.

Oh, if only the party had been chatting with their ship mates, they could have learned so much more.

They struggled to get back to the shop, carrying a heavy load and getting lost in the maze of streets but made it to their destination at the end. Much bargaining was then engaged in and a price agreed. Zolis noticed that the shop seemed have a wizards laboratory in it, abet buried under miscellaneous bric-a-brac. He started looking at what he had in his shop and started trying to put something together. The blind man roared in anger demanding to know what Zolis thought he was doing. Eventually the two discussed terms and came to an agreement for the use of his facilities. He said goodbye to the women who headed back to Marlone's to see what magic items they could buy.

Ok, that's what they tried to tell me, but really women shopping... I knew damn fine well they were looking for new shoes. Preferably pink and sparkley ones.

Val found a number of curious items that could aid her more nefarious skills including Alchemists Fire, Smokesticks and so on. He also persuaded her to buy some finger blades that while useless in combat could be helpful in slitting someone's pockets. She also made a deal that they'd look at a discount when she had finished her list of everything she wanted to buy. Val meanwhile was looking for some magic potions. They had left most of their gold back at the ship and returned to collect it, then came back. Marlone had decided to throw a Love Elixir in as part of the deal instead of a discount and the ladies had spent half their total gold.

Disappointed in the lack of pink and sparkling footwear (as an aside, while some creatures have visual acuity based on movement, I have come to believe woman's eyesight is entirely based around the colour pink and their ability to spot it)they then headed to a tavern. Having noticed one called "The Captain's Rest" back in the town square they headed to it, only to find the place employed a pair of Ogre's as bouncers and entrance was reserved only for ships captains. Rebuffed, they headed into town and ended up in a less reputable place called "Jake's Missing Peg Leg". Inside smelled of sweat and stale beer. Two men in a ring were engaged in a fist fight, cheered on by the crowd or booed depending on who they'd gambled on (I have a whole side plot planned out to become the bare knuckle fighting champion of the island, but with the group lacking a front rank fighter this is unlikely to used). They ordered some food and drink before heading back to the ship for the night.

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There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #71 on: January 21, 2018, 10:56:32 AM »

Anders is ill once again so no game tonight. Running low on villains to talk about, but I do have at least one left.

Introducing the bad guys girls Captain Angelique Bludreich

Angelique is possibly the most physically attractive woman on the planet. Growing up she learned how to use her looks to get what she wanted, something that she got a lot better at as her innate magical powers started to bloom. She has very pale, almost alabaster skin, jet back hair and electric blue eyes. She does not engage in combat unless given no other choice, preferring to use her mind control powers, both magical and otherwise. She became a vampire when she entranced one and it fell in love with her. An unintended consequence of this is that the Vampire decided she had to live forever and gave her his twisted, but eternal life. As payment she had him impailed on the top of the ships mast after taking control of The Blood Raven and let him greet the sun light.

Angelique, although moderately powerful in melee combat is much more powerful as a caster and arch manipulator. She should be used accordingly, behind waves of faceless minions, and if they are defeated she would claim to have been forced to do what she has done by the First Mate, Gibbons. Her substantial mind affecting powers would also come into play.

Angelique is a very childish and immature person. She will be petulant when she doesn't get her way and stamp her foot. If she flies into a full on rage, she is likely to use her powers to make others attack whoever has offended her. As a Sea Vampire she has power over some creatures of the deep rather than the wolves and bats that her landbound contempories have. One of these, she considered a pet and calls Precious. However it grew bigger and got beyond her ability to control. She want's him back and every so often decides to send the ship after Precious in a bid to regain control over it. This normally leads to heavy losses amongst the crew and is very much dreaded by them.

Ideally Angelique should not end up as a recurring villain, but we shall see how the adventure goes.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 07:51:52 AM by Dark Alex » Logged

There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #72 on: February 04, 2018, 04:44:30 PM »

The Tale Of The Band Of The Hand. Part Fourteen.

The group continued their enforced stay in the pirate isles. Zolis wanted to go into town and go shopping. He got himself a magical bag that you could pull an animal out of, although he you don't know what kind of animal you get until you first pull one out and a scroll with a spell of Invisibility on it.

Val tried speaking to Riggle while he was fixing the engines. She did find out from him that the officers were some sort of blood drinking creatures and the party has automatically assumed this means vampires. I may have to look for another kind of undead that drinks blood just to mess with them. Since finding out that all the food on the island is fish based, Colesta decided to start up her own business and use her holy magic to make bacon rolls and sell them (one of her spells summons magical meals).

She (Val) also tried exploring around town, going into the large building at the town square. She found a room with three doors leading from it, each bearing a different sigil. One was three blots of lightning, another of clashing waves and the third a purple triangle with three drops of blood on it. Having no idea what each of these meant she decided not to go through any of the doors and returned to the ship to quiz Colesta about it.

Zolis and Val decided to try and get information on vampires, but after spending the day searching through shops they had to concede defeat. Val also tried her hand at gambling, winning at dice, but losing at darts. While the other two were making money, Zolis decided to spend a couple of days making some scrolls.

The time the group is spending on the island is meant to give them a chance to make any items they wish, look for magical items and so on. I am thinking that this part of the adventure however is over and it is time from the next game to return to the high seas once more.
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There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
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« Reply #73 on: February 11, 2018, 06:13:35 AM »



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There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Dark Alex
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« Reply #74 on: February 11, 2018, 07:19:40 AM »

So how are things going in the campaign?

Well the whole pirate thing has been a bit of a bust. The idea here was to let the players take a bit more of a lead and make their own adventures. They haven't engaged with any of the crew, either the oppressed humans or their vampiric overlords. The stay on the island was supposed to give them time to do whatever they wanted, although various subplots were available including getting involved in bare knuckle fighting, an assassination plot between the three clerics of evil religions on the island, or even possibly escaping the pirates with the help of the one person on the island who doesn't have an evil alignment, all of which have been adroitly dodged by the party. Kind of feels like I have to drag the by the nose and present adventure hooks on a plate to them, so I am going to bring this part of the story to an early close and bring on Precious earlier than I had intended.

You try these things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't and then you move on.

Coming up the party potentially has the chance to get their own castle and land in a disputed border area between two countries. I wonder if they will take any notice of this opportunity. And in the background they still have the mystery of the Masks and the expanding war with the Thay/Mulhorand alliance against the free world.
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There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
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