Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friday 6 July 1280, Evening (Cosmo's Back Room)

Gaven accepts Cosmo's offer and shows him Maggie's ribbon. Cosmo places the ribbon on the lectern beside the inventory book, and begins mumbling and waving his hand over it.


As Cosmo does this, Gaven's thoughts go back to his conversation with the abbot, and things the abbot said when the cleric spoke of Filbert and Hazel, the bandits, Blackwell, and his vision.

After expressing his sympathy over the halflings' misfortunes, the abbot said that such sad tidings are all too common on the highways these days, despite the best efforts of Belloc's men. While this was the first he'd heard of bandits to the north, he was not surprised – as the bandit trouble to the south is already well known.

Cuthbert was somewhat surprised to learn of Gaven's vision. He briefly led Gaven into a small chamber off the main chapel of the temple and showed Gaven a painting on the wall. Amazingly, although Gaven had never seen the painting before, the image on the canvas matched the scene from his meditation exactly. The abbot explained to Gaven that the painting was entitled "Dagmar's Dream."

According to the abbot, Dagmar was a cleric of the militant branch of the faith, much like Gaven himself. Some fifty years ago, Dagmar had had a dream, in which she claimed to have seen the very image that had come to Gaven. She decided that it was her calling in life to reconquer the ancient keep from the shadow which enveloped it. She gathered and armed a small band of fellow clerics, and led them into the keep. But she was never seen again, and the local church  has since considered her a revered martyr.

"Ah," Cuthbert had said. "If only the Light could be brought back into that place of darkness."


"Well," says Cosmo, interrupting Gaven's reflections. Looking up, Gaven immediately notices that the ribbon is glowing faintly under Cosmo's hand. Your ribbon is indeed magical, and has been infused with the power of the full moon." He quickly puts his hand up as he sees the beginnings of a thought forming in the cleric's mind. "Not to worry my faithful soldier of the Light! The magic of the moon with which it is infused is not evil. It is the magic of nature, and as such, it is neither good nor evil. The magic of nature simply is."  He squints at a line in his ledger. "According to my notes, this moon ribbon will enhance the power of any weapon by attaching it to the haft or pommel – and due to its infusion of pure moonlight, it is particularly effective against were-creatures."*


Duran wanders around the room looking at the various wares. Nothing grabs his interest as he has never been particularly interested of anything of the magical nature. Although he does take notice of the Lesser Magic Arrow and asks Cosmo about it.

"Those," says Cosmo, will increase your accuracy and the damage done, relative to a normal arrow. They are also more durable than a normal arrow, and easier to find – they give off a faint glow, so that if they miss their target, they are easier to spot, wherever they may land."**

OOC: Actions?

Gaven's cost for ID: 60 gp.

* Maggie's Moon Ribbon: Attach to any melee weapon; adds +1 to hit and damage; +2 to hit and damage vs. all were-creatures (does not stack by attaching it to an already magical weapon).

**Lesser Magic Arrows: +1 to hit and damage.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friday 6 July 1280, Evening (The Boys are Back in Town)


Oloc's eyes widen as he examines the piece of paper from Harlon. "Thank you sir," he says. "I definitely plan on paying him a visit!"

As the party makes their way down to Fairbrook, the young Mage addresses the rest of the group. "Am I the only one excited about exploring the old ruins? Just think what treasures lie therein, waiting for the adventurous to come and take it! And Filbert, I'm sure we will take care of those bandits in the process!"

"I too would like a look at those ruins Oloc. However, Belloc seems to think the danger is quite great. I think maybe a bit more experience would aid us greatly in making an attempt on them." Varros considers for a moment and looks to Stan and Ollie, perhaps you might have some associates who would be interested in employment?" Varros turns back to Oloc, "Gaven suggested hiring some extra help, I feel that with a few men as good as Stan and Ollie and a bit more seasoning we will be ready."

Duran and Gaven seem to agree that the company should gain a bit more experience and some more manpower before tackling a target with such a reputation.



As the group approaches the tavern, Gaven says, "I would like to visit Cosmo's, but before I do anything I must visit the temple."

The company waits for him while he takes care of his spiritual obligations.

At the temple, Gaven prays to the Light and gives thanks for the Company's success and health. He also prays for guidance on the bandits and the ruins.

As he does so, his mind clears and he sees the image of a hilltop, in the far distance. The hilltop moves closer in dreamlike fashion, as if Gaven is being carried toward it. Ever closer, he can soon recognize the ruins of the keep that Belloc pointed out. But instead of the dirty, gray, mildewed stone he saw on the march, Gaven sees in his mind's eye stone that appears white and pristine, and the brilliant blue and white banner of the Light fluttering in a gentle breeze above it on a sunlit morning.

The vision ends as footsteps behind him break his meditation. Turning, Gaven sees Abbot Cuthbert approach. "Forgive me for disturbing your prayer my son. I was told by one of the brothers who saw you enter that you were here, and meant only to look upon you to be sure you had come to no harm. There are rumors in town you and your comrades had some excitement."

Gaven tells the abbot of the adventure and of Maggie. When the young cleric mentions the moonwitch, the abbot's face appears troubled.

"I've not heard that name in some time. And I suggest you forget it. Though I've not seen her personally, I've heard the same stories the farmers told you, and I believe they are right. If she is a werewolf, who knows? I have heard some suggest that she is, and I'm not inclined to disbelieve them. But I have not heard of Maggie for many, many years – indeed, I believed she must have died long ago."

Gaven shows Cuthbert the ribbon and tells him what happens when he and Oloc touch it, then asks whats the Abbot feels or knows of the item. The abbot becomes quite agitated.

"No good can come of such a thing! You should destroy it! This ribbon reeks of danger! Now put it away my son, I cannot bear to look upon it!"

Gaven puts the ribbon away, and the abbot rapidly calms down. "Apologies, my son. Forgive an old man who no longer has the strength to look upon evil, let alone lay a finger upon it. Indeed, I would not trust any of the brothers here with it. Suffice to say that I must trust you to do the right thing with that token of darkness."

With a sigh, Cuthbert returns to the broader subject of werewolves. "The only current werewolf activity I know of is down south in the Blackleaf forest, near Ham's fork. There is a brother of our order there, Brother Abraham. He has made somewhat of a study on werewolves, and is in the practice of hunting and trapping them in the forest – with some success I might add. If anyone can give you more detailed information on them he can."*

After thanking the abbot for his time and advice, Gaven donates one of his gems to the church, then returns to the inn.



While waiting at the inn, the rest of the party considers the possibility of obtaining additional hirelings. Sadie happens to overhear the conversation. "If you boys want, you can leave some money with me and I'll be happy to get some placards printed up for you and start spreading the word around here. With the reputation you've gained yourselves in just three short days, finding help shouldn't be much of a problem for you!"**



Shortly, Gaven returns to the inn. Once everyone is settled in at the Red Tankard, Oloc asks if anyone is interested in heading over to Cosmo's.

"I'll tag along while we visit Cosmo's then perhaps Varros and I can see about finding a trainer in town."*** Duran downs a mug of Saddie's Crimson Ale.

Varros replies: "Yes, what say we take a look at this magic shop?"

Filbert and Hazel still somewhat shaken by their ordeal, decide to remain at the Tankard to relax and drink some ale while talking to the other customers.



You make the short walk north from the Tankard and soon arrive at the shop Harlon told you about. Above the front door hangs a gently swinging wooden sign board that reads COSMO'S CURIOSITIES in bright yellow letters. Beneath, in smaller print, you can see the words: Purveyor of Fine Antiquities.

Pushing the door open, you hear a small silver bell ring above the door. Looking around the room, you see shelves and display tables galore, stocked with ornate bronze lamps, finely crafted pewter goblets, statues of fat cherubs and mishievous satyrs, rows and rows of books with old, dusty cracked leather bindings, and all sorts of other odd knick knacks and bric-a-brac. On the counter stands a large, brass birdcage. On the bottom of the cage lies a blue parrot, flat on its back, with its feet in the air. You can't help thinking what a shame this is, given the bird's lovely plumage.

As Ollie brings up the rear and the door closes behind him, the bell gives a final jingle. Hearing the bell, the parrot suddenly cocks open an eye and jumps up on his perch, startling Stan.

"Oh, I see," says Stan, recovering. "He's not dead, he's resting."

"Of course," says Ollie, stepping up to the cage. "They prefer kipping on their backs."

"Grraaaawwwk!" says the parrot. "Cosmo! Customers! Graaaawwwwwk!"

Out of the back steps a bent and wizened old man with a hooked nose, wearing a robe and a rounded, close-fitting cap with flaps that come down over his ears.

"Yes, gentlemen? What can I do for you?"

Oloc shows Harlon's parchment to the old man, whose face splits in a smile of recognition. "Ah, friends of Harlon's! Wonderful! I take it you're not looking for antiques, then. Let's see what we can dig up shall we?"

He motions for you to come around the counter and follow, then leads the way through the door to a corridor to the back room. "Keep an eye on the shop, Morpheus!" he calls over his shoulder to the parrot.
"Okay, Cosmo! Grawwwwwk!"

The hallway is dark, and poorly lit by dim candles at regular intervals. You notice cobwebs near the ceiling, and dust near the sideboards along the floor.

The corridor is long, very long, too long in fact to possibly fit inside the building in which Cosmo's shop is located. You walk down the hallway for a full ten minutes. Looking behind, you can see only darkness. A few minutes more, and another door opens before you, and you find yourselves in what appears to be a stockroom with rough shelves lining the walls, and a large book on a pedestal – it appears to be some sort of inventory ledger.

"We don't have a large stock at the moment," says Cosmo, "but feel free to take a look around. All top quality merchandise, I assure you. It all comes with my personal guarantee. If any member of your party dies due to the defective functioning of any of my items, I will personally refund to your estate three times what you paid for it." He pauses, then adds, "It should reassure you that I've been in business fifty years, same location. And no one has ever requested a refund."

Two of the wooden shelving units are completely empty. The others contain a variety of items. Some are so strange you have no idea what they might be, and you can't imagine how they could possibly be of use to an adventuring party.  Mostly self-washing dishes, brooms that sweep on their own, and similar items.

On one shelf, Ollie spots several rolls of a thin, white, almost parchment like material labelled "never-ending toilet paper."

"I wonder what a toilet is..." mutters the porter.

Stan on the other hand, finds a bright pink whip that hops into the air and lashes itself over and over again screaming "yes, yes, oh yes!" The mercenary stumbles over himself in a panic, backing away from the thing.

Cosmo laughs. "I do get some customers with...unusual tastes."

Examining the shelves, however, you also see some items that could be of use to you. From each dangles a tiny tag with a name and a price inscribed in crimson cursive:

Potion of Cure Light Wounds....400 gp (there are three of these)
Potion of Speed.....450 gp
Potion of Levitation.....400 gp
Scroll of Magic Missile.....300 gp
Scroll of Read Magic.....300 gp
Scroll of Protection from Lycanthropes.....3000 gp
Lesser Magic Arrow.....250 gp (there are five of these)
Lesser Magic Shield.....2,500 gp
Wand of Polymorphing.....25,000 gp
Ring of Spell Storing.....25,000 gp

As the rest of the party examines the shelves, Gaven shows Maggie's ribbon and asks Cosmo if he can shed any light on her or it. Cosmo can tell Gaven little more about Maggie than you already know. If she is a werewolf, as the abbot suggests, she'd likely be found near Ham's Fork, which is the only place Cosmo has heard of werewolf sightings. Looking at the ribbon, Cosmo states: "As a matter of fact I do offer the service of identifying objects. I charge 10 gold as a consultation fee; 50 gold if it turns out that the item in question has any magical qualities."

Turning back to the rest of the group Cosmo says: "Do let me know if there's anything you like. I have associates who collect these things for me, and others to whom I sell wholesale. So my inventory changes constantly."

OOC: Actions?

*If Gaven has any additional questions for the abbot, I can retroactively work them into the next post in the form of a "report" of the conversation to the party.

**Seemed like an easy way to narratively get the ball rolling on this. So far, the consensus seems to be for one more laborer and two more mercs. Let me know if anyone objects. The cost and time for those searches would be:

1 Laborer: search cost 10 gp; guaranteed find (*), time 1 day.
2 Mercs: search cost 20 gp; guaranteed find(*), time 1 day for the first, 3 days for the second.
(*) guaranteed find in this case given the fact that your currently having 15 minutes of fame following the rescue of Elsie Miggins and thwarting the goblin horde back to back. All times are overlapping, so a grand total of 3 days to acquire all three hirelings.

If you opt to get a pack mule (now or later), it's very likely Barley will give you some degree of discount (compared to book value) for having brought him closure regarding his son.

***I'll work the trainer issue into the next post.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Friday 6 July 1280, Afternoon (On the Road Again)

At Gaven's suggestion, the party agrees to help the halflings, and you invite Filbert and Hazel to join the Company in traveling and lodging in Fairbrook to prepare for the investigation.

Gaven gives Harlon and Eric 50 gp to split amongst the farmers to help repair any damages to their properties. The two locals are most appreciative of Gaven's generous gift.

"Any time you come back this way," says Harlon quietly, so others in the room don't hear, "I'll offer you gentlemen my finest room and my finest ale, all for the price of my standard room and fare." He looks around then huddles over the table and quickly writes something on a piece of paper, which he hands to Oloc. On the paper, you see this:

"If you gentlemen are going to continue in this dangerous line of work, you may want to pay a visit to a friend of mine, named Cosmo. He has a curiosities shop in Fairbrook, just west of Barley's stable. Show him this paper and he'll know you can be trusted. He may have some special items for sale not normally available to the average customer."

With Harlon's paper in hand, and the halflings in tow, the party sets forth from the Northstar in the early afternoon. As you march down the road toward Fairbrook, Gaven asks the halflings to show the spot they were waylaid so that they can look for clues. Only about a half-hour's walk along the road, you come to a slight bend, with a small cluster of trees alongside.

"Just there," says Hazel, pointing. "As we came even with the trees, the three men stepped out from behind them, and surrounded us. Then they told us to hand over our valuables. After they got what they wanted, they made off running back up the road toward Woodfield. I helped Filbert up and we went back to the inn, where you found us."

Examining the area of trees indicated by the halflings, you find a small, torn strip of cloth – most likely from a cloak – hanging on the sharp end of a broken branch. You also notice a few boot prints in the dirt. Duran then suddenly notices two marks, carved into the bark of a tree. The mark looks like this:

None of you recognizes the symbols carved in the bark. Having made a note of the markings* there seems nothing left to do but to move on toward Fairbrook as planned.

You pass through the gate, then arrive not long afterward at the Red Tankard, where you are warmly greeted by Sadie and Sal.


OOC: Actions?

*I assumed that your characters would do this, for future reference, or for attempts at identification.

Time: It's now about 3 p.m.

For any "mundane" purchases (things off the equipment list in the book), feel free to simply make them, subtracting the appropriate gold (and adding the appropriate XP+bonus for gp spent) as you do.

Let me know how many hirelings you'd like to pick up (and which types), and we'll work that out.

For any "major expenditures" again, just make a note of what your spending (keeping track so you can claim your perk when you level up) and of the XP+bonus for the gp spent.

Let me know if you'd like to go to Cosmo's to investigate his wares.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Friday 6 July 1280, Afternoon (Northstar Inn Conversation)

Gaven thanks both Harlon and Belloc for their generosity. Duran joins Gaven in thanking the captain and the dwarf. Oloc is also very appreciative of the payment from Belloc and Harlon. The amount of gold in front of the young mage is well beyond anything he had ever imagined and his mind quickly races, thinking of how the coin will help in his magical studies.

Gaven says to the company, "I would like to aid our friend Filbert and Captain Belloc and Fairbrook by investigating the bandit situation. Plus, I would hate to enter the area near the ruins during the full moon." As he says that last bit, he lifts Maggie's scarf, which he had been absently twirling with his hands. The scarf feels light to the touch, and Gaven notes that it has, somewhat surprisingly, what could best be described as a "wholesome" quality to it.

At mention of the bandits, Oloc lets out a sigh. "Aye, I suppose the ruins can wait."

Gaven asks Belloc and Filbert what they know of the bandits. Belloc says "The only bandit activity I knew of before hearing of Filbert's encounter was that of the bandits to the south of Fairbrook along the Ham's Fork road. I wasn't aware of any bandit activity this far north. Whether Filbert's bandits are connected with those to the south, I've no idea."

Filbert says: "There's not much to tell about them other than what you know already. We were set upon by those grey men that were here in the inn night before last and yesterday morning. And well, you know the rest. The only thing helpful I can think of is that I'm sure they said something about 'getting back to the keep.' If you plan to go after them, I'd like to come along for payback. I may be short in stature, but I have pride enough to equal that of any man."

"The only keep in the area I know of," offers Harlon, "at least, the only one where bandits might hole up, is the old ruin of Blackwell."

Belloc agrees with Harlon. "That's likely to be true. I cannot think offhand of any keep along the road between Fairbrook and Woodfield that could be used as a bandit hideout.

Gaven then asks Eric what else he knows of Maggie. "I hope I never see that fearful moonwitch again – once was enough! They say she was responsible for a number of gruesome deaths, back in the old days."

"Hmph! 'The old days' and 'they say'," interjects Harlon. "I shouldn't put too much stock in such rumors. When was the last time any such 'gruesome death' occurred? Probably not in twenty or more years. If she is so horrible, why don't we find bloodied victims lying around left and right and up and down the road?"

Belloc confirms: "I've not had any reports of unattributable violence either."

Shaking his head, Eric insists: "That's as may be, but I have no reason to doubt the stories of our grandfathers, fathers and uncles." Looking at the party he says: "If I were you, I'd think twice about having any dealings with Maggie."

When Gaven asks what they know of werewolves and any other weird happenings during full moons, Belloc is the first to answer: "Well, we have crimes and such, both in Fairbrook and the outlying areas. But nothing out of the ordinary. The full moon is the best time for bandits and thieves to operate, of course. They can still hide in the shadows, while at the same time have enough light to take care of their enterprises. Nothing unusual at all in that. And we've had no reports of werewolves. There may be foul things about – you've seen the goblins and hobgoblins yourselves. But werewolves? Not that I'm aware."

Harlon, Filbert and Eric simply shrug their shoulders with nothing to add to Belloc's answer.

Turning to the others Duran says "I would have no problem investigating the bandit problem but I would first like to return to Fairbrook for a proper rest and resupply. Plus I could use a mug of Big Sadie's Crimson Ale."

Oloc agrees that a return to Fairbrook sounds good. "I am interested in securing this gold - or spending it!"

"Plus, with our new funds," the cleric adds, "I would like to try to hire some extra help to either fight the bandits or investigate the ruins."

OOC: Actions?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday 6 July 1280, Morning through Noon (The Aftermath)

Following the battle Gaven steps aside and gives a benediction to the Light.

Sinking to the ground in utter exhaustion Duran takes a long drink from his water skin.

After giving some orders to his men, Belloc rides up to the party, with a wide grin on his face. "Well done, well done!" he says.

As Captain Belloc approaches, Duran pushes himself off the ground and with Gaven rejoins the others.

The captain climbs down from his horse. "I was a bit worried about our center, but your distractions and your blows to the enemy's flank were more timely than I could have hoped."

Gaven says: "We were blessed by the Light to drive away chaos this night."

Varros looks to Belloc and adds: "Thank you captain, it was touch and go there at first, the fire creature could have been the death of us all."

The captain nods. "Certainly so. I also suspect," he continues, looking at Oloc, "that the flaming beast's flight was of your doing. I'm not sure how we would have dealt with that creature without taking far greater casualties than we did.

In response to Belloc's praises the young Mage only shakes his head. "I was fortunate. My spell was ineffective, but it was enough to break the concentration of the hobgoblin spell caster. All those who use spells have such a weakness."

"Like many of his kind, the hobgoblin mage undoubtedly reached beyond the limits of his power, and when you cast your spell, successful or not, it cost him. At any rate, you've all definitely earned an even more substantial bonus than I had originally planned to give you – and you shall have it."

Out of nowhere, Karnak flies down to land on Varros's shoulder. He appears to have darkened goblin blood on his talons and beak. Varros turns his attention to Karnak and hands him his usual reward for a job well done then rubs the feathers on the raven's neck, "Well done Karnak! It looks like you had a part in the battle as well. Good job my friend."

The captain looks around. "For now, my men are exhausted. Our plan is to return to the Northstar inn, take a few hours sleep, and then return to town. Will you join us? The road will be safer if we all travel together. Besides, you look like you could use a few hours' rest as well."

"Captain Belloc, I agree it would be best to travel together," says Gaven.

Oloc, too, wholeheartedly accepts the offer of escort back to the inn. He desires a good rest, a meal, and then to sit down and discuss plans to investigate the ruins!

Duran also adds: "I would welcome the rest Captain. You may want to send someone to let the farmers know they can return to their homes. The poor fellows are frightened enough as it is."

"Not to worry," replies the captain. "I've already send a message to Eric Fallow. Come. If you are ready let us depart."

Belloc's men are just finishing their cleanup and the sun inches over the eastern horizon. He gives them the orders to move out, and the entire weary battalion sets out. Captain Belloc remains dismounted and walks along with you.

The party marches from the battlefield (hex 8), southeast along the road to the Northstar inn (hex 40)

Varros engages Belloc in conversation, praising him on his leadership, valor and bravery in the battle. The fighter also makes inquirires regarding the ruins, Mayor Adsul and Karnak.

"The mayor..." begins Belloc thoughtfully and quietly. "The mayor is an administrator. And a good one, I believe. But, as an administrator, his ways are not a soldier's ways. As you already know, for example, we differ on the question of prisoners and interrogations. But he does not share everything with me. It may be that discretion and the keeping of one's own counsel are essential qualities for an administrator, just as decisiveness is vital in a commander and obedience is necessary for the man-at-arms. What I do know is that Adsul runs the town well. The citizens are happy with his policies. And while my men and I could always do with more resources than we have, Adsul ensures that we have the equipment we need to keep the town proper secure, and even strike out into the surrounding countryside if need be."

When Varros mentions the keep, Belloc stretches his arm back and points to the ruin-crowned hill you passed earlier, now more clearly visible in the light of the rising sun. "As I'm sure you've surmised, your ruins sit on top of that hill. And though you have praised me for my valor and bravery, if you enter there, then you are a more courageous man than I." The captain rubs his chin. "I'd guess most of what folk tell you about that place consists only of fairy tales. I've not met many men who actually have been inside. It is for certain an unpleasant place. And if you wonder why our goblins cut a wide path around it, rather than using it for shelter, I can tell you that I've heard – from men I find reliable – that there are a tribe of kobolds and a clan of morlocks living in there. They say the former hate the goblins, while the latter love them – cooked and seasoned." Belloc chuckles softly at his own little joke, then adds more seriously: "You'll need to be careful in there."

In response to Varros' inquiry about Karnak, the captain says: "Karnak has been in the service of Fairbrook for many years. Our ravens are soldiers – they have a strong sense of duty and a great deal of courage, as you no doubt noticed from the blood on his beak and talons after our battle. He will continue to serve Fairbrook, I am sure, for many years." Belloc looks up at the raven flying above you. "I sense though, that he has developed a strong connection to you in a very short time. Quite remarkable really. I wouldn't be surprised if he returned to seek you out from time to time in the future."


An uneventful four-hour march brings you back to the Northstar, where you find a few of the farmers, including Eric Fallow, disassembling the barricades built the day before and putting Harlon's inn back in order. You are welcomed with slaps on the back, and Harlon feeds you a hearty breakfast, then gives you a room to get some rest. After a few hours sleep, he serves you a filling lunch too, all on the house, in exchange for the service you've rendered the locals, and he tells you that you are welcome to stay for dinner and the night as well.

During lunch, Captain Belloc and Eric Fallow share your table, as do the halflings Filbert and Hazel.

As lunch draws to a close, Belloc calls for his quartermaster, and makes some inquiries of him. You overhear the word "inventory" but nothing else of their quiet conversation. The quartermaster leaves the inn, then returns a few moments later with three small purses in his hands.

"This," says Belloc, handing you the first pouch "is the scouting fee we agreed upon. And this," he say holding out the second bag, "is the bonus I promised you for keeping on after we met up here at the Northstar. And lastly," he sets the third small sack on the table, "this too is for you, as payment for your outstanding service in the battle."

Opening the first two bags you find 300 gold coins in one and 500 in the other. As you open the third bag, Belloc explains: "That belonged to the goblins. Having returned the pillaged items to the locals from whom they were stolen, there was much left over in the way of weapons and jewelry that evidently belonged to the goblins themselves. The laws of Fairbrook allow my men and me to keep shares of any such plunder, and I have decided that you are entitled to a share equal to my own. I have consulted with my quartermaster and he tells me this is equivalent to four times my portion – a share equaling mine for each of you."

Emptying the third purse, you discover twelve small, beautiful, dark red gems. Looking across the table, Filbert points out: "Those are fine gems, indeed. Each of those should certainly fetch you 200 gold coins.

OOC: Actions?

XP and Treasure Tally

Monster XP
12 goblins = 120
1 hobgoblin mage = 60
1 fire elemental = 400               
Total Monster XP = 580
Individual XP: 145 xp for each of you

300 gp (scouting fee)
500 gp (scouting bonus)
2400 gp in gems (200 gp x 12; plunder share)
2 gp, 7 sp (found on goblins in woods)
8 gp (for the two goblin short swords)*      
Total Treasure Value: 3210.7 gp
Individual Treasure: 802 gp, 6 sp, 8 cp for each of you **

*I assumed you sold off the short swords to Belloc's quartermaster
**I assume you're dividing the treasure equally among the four of you

You can go ahead and add your monster xp to your character sheets now. Remember to add in any bonus to which you are entitled when you put this onto your sheets. And Dan, don't forget to add your 25 xp "Zulu" bonus! :)

For treasure xp, you'll have to wait until you spend it. You'll need to go back to Fairbrook to buy gear or spend any substantial sums (or to simply bank your coin). Once you make expenditures, you'll be able to add the xp for that to your character sheets as well (again remembering to add any bonus to which your are entitled).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Friday July 6 1280, Sunrise (The Crying)

The screaming and clashing of metal continues as Gaven comes out of the shadows. "Ho comrades, how goes the battle? The archers have split, but know of the ruse, so they will be returning soon. Stan, stay near Oloc and Ollie hold back." 

In answer, Varros attacks the now frenzied goblins near Belloc, attempting to help Belloc make his way through the goblins by choosing targets of opportunity that could pose any threat or block the captain. All the while he keeps an eye open to see what the fire elemental does, thinking it could turn on its former allies, an idea he expresses to the party.

Duran inquires of Oloc whether he has enough left in him to control the elemental. But Oloc is for a brief moment clearly drained by his struggle with Bloodfang. Seeing Oloc is otherwise okay though, Duran tries to bring down as many Goblins as possible, ready to follow Varros' lead if the elemental turns on friendly forces and help him bring it down.

Gaven follows suit, continuing to fire at the frenzied goblins as well. "Will wooden arrows or even steel be able to hurt a being of fire?" he asks.

Belloc's archers drop still more of their goblin counterparts, but the human left center begins to crumble and fall back in panic. Fortunately, Varros, Gaven and Duran drop five goblins in Belloc's path as the captain plows forward on horseback. The remaining right flank goblins flee in terror before him.

The elemental seems entirely uninterested in the battle and seeks only to get away, now that the one who enslaved him is gone and he has once again gotten his bearings. The creature turns and flees toward the west, slowing only to swat one of the remaining goblin archers who gets in his way, leaving the small humanoid's broken and smoldering body in his wake.

Far across the field, you hear a mighty cheer raised by human voices, and you can dimly make out the shadows of goblins fleeing on that flank, pursued by their human adversaries.

And almost like that, in the blink of an eye, the tumult of battle subsides as the remaining goblins throw down their arms. Realizing their leader is dead, their comrades in panicked flight, the beast departed, and their numbers greatly diminished, they evidently see that they have no hope, and give up instead.

As you look across the battlefield, you see Belloc's men almost immediately tying up prisoners and binding wounds. All told, the men of Fairbrook hold eighteen captives. Fifty-seven goblins and hobgoblins lie dead on the field, including Bloodfang. Belloc lost twelve of his original fifty men.

After giving some orders to his men, Belloc rides up to you, with a wide grin on his face. "Well done, well done!" he says. Out of nowhere, Karnak flies down to land on Varros's shoulder. He appears to have darkened goblin blood on his talons and beak.

The captain climbs down from his horse. "I was a bit worried about our center, but your distractions and your blows to the enemy's flank were more timely than I could have hoped. And I suspect," he adds, looking at Oloc, "that the flaming beast's flight was of your doing. I'm not sure how we would have dealt with that creature without taking far greater casualties than we did. You've all definitely earned an even more substantial bonus than I had originally planned to give you – and you'll have it when we return to Fairbrook."

The captain looks around. "For now, my men are exhausted. Our plan is to return to the Northstar inn, take a few hours sleep, and then return to town. Will you join us? The road will be safer if we all travel together. Besides, you look like you could use a few hours' rest as well."

Belloc's men are just finishing their cleanup and the sun inches over the eastern horizon. Belloc is right. You feel absolutely exhausted as you realize that you've been awake, marching and fighting for a solid twenty-four hours.


OOC: Actions?

Just for reference, it is now 5 a.m. As you have been up for about 24 straight hours, fatigue penalties will begin to accrue for any combat you might have between now and such time as you get some rest.

Combat Detail:

Initiative: Party wins 4-3


d20 = 16 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank shot) =  19 (hit); d6 = 5 (goblin killed)
d20 =  17+ 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank shot) =  20 (hit); d6 = 2 (goblin killed)

d20 =  18 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank shot) =  19 (hit); d6 = 3 (goblin killed)
d20 =  20 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank shot) =  20 (hit); d6 = 2 (goblin killed)

d20 =  6 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank shot) = 9 (miss)
d20 =  14 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank shot) =  17 (hit); d6 = 4 (goblin killed)

Total Monsters Defeated by Party in Battle

10 Goblins
1 Hobgoblin Mage
1 Fire Elemental

Quick Question

I'm inclined to make a switch in the awarding of XP to the "flat 100 xp / HD of creatures defeated" method that some people use. It's a nice simple formula, but one that comes with a trade-off. It tends to cause faster advancement at lower levels (you'd get 100 xp for a 1 HD creature instead of a measely 15 xp) but it slows advancement at higher levels (it comes out to less than the standard book values for higher xp creatures). Does anyone have an objection to using the 100 xp/HD formula? I'm just thinking you guys might find the quicker advancement more useful at lower levels than at higher levels.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Friday 6 July 1280, The Hour of the Wolf (Mage vs. Mage)

Gaven whispers to himself, "Thank the Light, one out of two and they are running scared."

The Hobgoblin and five archers from his company continue to move toward the rear to investigate the fires and the shooting. Moving past the fires, they stand silhouetted, peering into the darkness, trying to spot whomever shot at them.  One of them finally notices Gaven and gives out a cry just as the cleric looses another arrow. The missile whizzes past the archers' hobgoblin leader. Before the humanoid can react, Gaven releases yet another arrow which strikes the hobgoblin in the arm. The hobgoblin howls madly as Gaven dashes back deeper into shadow to join up with Stan and Ollie. Gathering up the two hirelings, the cleric gets them moving to rejoin the flanking party.


On the goblin right flank, Belloc and his men press in, even as Belloc's center continues to slowly backpedal.

Seeing the fire elemental and his spellcasting hobgoblin master approach, Oloc tries to muster up some courage. "If one of you would 'escort' me," he says to Varros and Duran, "I can try and sneak close enough to cast my spell. I may need you to guard me though, the slightest touch could ruin my spell!"

Using the men of Belloc's inward-swinging left flank as a shield, Oloc, covered by Duran and Varros, follow in behind them, easily closing the gap between Oloc and the hobgoblin mage.

The fire elemental strikes down another of Belloc's men with a fiery fist, while its master stays close beside, concentrating, it appears, with all his might on maintaining control of the creature.

Moving to within one hundred feet of the enemy spellcaster, Oloc makes eye contact, speaks the words, and traces the gestures for his spell. For a moment, the hobgoblin mage's eyes lock onto Oloc's, and it appears to Duran and Varros as if the two foes are locked in a battle of wills. Oloc suddenly appears to swoon, then stumbles slightly.

The hobgoblin cries out like the villain in an epic song by a second-rate bard: "Ha! I am Bloodfang, fool! You are no match for me!"

But as the words leave his lips he suddenly realizes that fighting off Oloc's spell has cost him his concentration and that he no longer controls the elemental. The flaming creature thrusts its arms aloft as if breaking invisible chains, then turns on its recent master, bringing a burning fist down on Bloodfang's head.

Having advanced with Oloc to provide cover, and with bows at the ready, Varros and Duran now shoot at the staggered hobgoblin mage. Between the two of them, three arrows strike the hobgoblin mage's body, which drops dead to the ground like a smoking pin-cushion.

The goblins nearby howl with fury, and show no signs of breaking as their comrades did earlier.

Seeing this, Belloc yells to his men: "The elemental! Take down the elemental!" Spurring his steed, he attempts to plunge through the goblin ranks to the creature. Even on horseback, his path is blocked by the goblins. Still, he slowly makes progress, taking down another two of the goblins that press in on him.

Having lashed out at its now dead master, the fire elemental seems momentarily at a loss. It is difficult to tell what the creature will do next.


In the midst of the chaos, Gaven, Stan and Ollie, finally manage to make their way forward, joining up with the rest of the party.

 Map shows relative positions, distances still not to scale


OOC: Actions?


The entire party is now reassembled at the flanking party's position, about 100 feet out from the elemental and the nearest point on the goblins' line.

Party Member Combat Details:

Gaven vs. Goblin Archers (Gaven misses surprise roll; Goblin archers subsequently win initiative 4-2)

Goblin action: round spent looking for Gaven.

Gaven shoots at hobgoblin:

d20 = 9 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank shot) = 12 (miss)
d20 = 15 +1 (medium range) + 2 (flank shot) = 18 (hit); d6 = 1 (Hobgoblin wounded)

Flanking Party vs. Hobgoblin Mage

Oloc casts Charm Person on the hobgoblin (Bloodfang).
Bloodfang makes save (not charmed) but loses concentration and control of the Fire Elemental. 

Fire Elemental vs. Bloodfang (auto- "surprise" attack vs. ex-master)
d20 + bonuses = 11 (hit); damage = 4

Duran shoots at Bloodfang:
d20 = 16 + 1 (medium range) = 17 (hit); d6 = 1 (Bloodfang wounded)
d20 = 7 +1 (medium range) = 8 (miss)

Varros shoots at Bloodfang
d20 = 16 + 1 (medium range) = 17 (hit); d6 = 4 (Bloodfang wounded)
d20 = 11 + 1 (medium range) = 12 (hit); d6 = 5 (Bloodfang falls to the ground, dead)


Overall Battle Strength Summary End of Round 3: 

Goblin Left Flank: ???
Goblin Left Center: ??? (pushing forward slightly)
Goblin Right Center: 12/20 (new right flank, overlapped by Belloc's left, looks strong, infuriated by loss of Bloodfang)
Goblin Right Flank: completely collapsed
Goblin Archers ("original company"): 5/13 (still shooting at Belloc's archers)
Goblin Archer Scouts (with Hob): 6/7 (just past the fires, Hob is wounded)
Fire Elemental HP: ??? (appears unwounded)
Hobgoblin Mage (Bloodfang): DEAD

Human Right Flank: ???
Human Right Center: ??? (from what you can see they are still moving back)
Human Left Center: ??? (from what you can see they are still moving back)
Human Left Flank: 8/10
Human Archers: ???
Belloc HP: ??? (appears unwounded)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Friday 6 July 1280, The Hour of the Wolf (The Fight Continues)

In the rear, the goblins continue to trade arrows with Belloc's bowmen. Another two goblins fall in the archer company.

Three goblin scouts make their way back to investigate the fires lit by Gaven, which still burn brightly and show no sign yet of dying down. Hidden in the darkness beyond the ring of light the fires cast, Gaven whispers, "Stan, lend me your bow and arrows. You and Ollie stay out of sight and range of the goblins bows."

Stan and Ollie nod silently and appear to have no difficulty complying with the command. Gaven hears Ollie swallow hard.

Gaven hands his backpack and spear to Stan and slings his shield on his back and hangs his club from his belt.  Gaven moves into range to fire at the goblin scouts. "Light, guide these arrows home and keep me hidden from scouts eyes."

Gaven releases two arrows in rapid succession, with one finding its mark and striking down a goblin scout. The dead humanoid's two companions are suddenly bewildered. They clearly cannot tell where the shots came from in the confusion of noise, smoke, flames and darkness. After a few seconds of peering frantically all around, without ever focusing on Gaven, they take one or two steps back and cry out: "Ambush! The humans are behind us!"

The hobgoblin captain hollers at his remaining archers: "You three come with me! The rest of you, keep shooting!" The hobgoblin and his three-goblin detachment move to take position beside the two remaining scouts to deal with the threat from behind.


In the center, it is hard to see what is happening, except that the goblins are pressing slightly forward, while the humans are slowly starting to move back.You have no sense at all of how things are unfolding on the goblin left.


On the goblins' right flank the melee continues, and one of Belloc's men finally falls.

Oloc is clearly at a loss to figure out how he and his minor skills could affect the outcome of the battle. The best chance still seems to him to be to get in range of the hobgoblin wizard. Then an idea comes to him. "Perhaps I can charm a goblin and have him do the work of disrupting the spell."

"Oloc, your spell could turn the tide if you can get a hobgoblin or the mage," says Varros. "It could be our only hope if the tide of battle shifts. Hold it if you must, but make it count my friend."

Oloc holds off on casting the spell, and looks for an opportunity to arise where a few gobs break off to investigate the party.

Varros and Duran continue to attack the flank, with Varros taking special care to engage any hobgoblins if possible, and Duran making sure to avoid the humans and Captain Belloc. The two fighters release their shots, with Duran killing two and Varros slaying one. Meanwhile Belloc's hammer continues to pound away, bashing in the skulls of two more goblins. 

With five more of their comrades' corpses lying at their feet, the goblins of the right flank company panic and flee, scattering in all directions. One of them jostles the hobgoblin mage in his frantic flight. The spellcaster, spins to the right, then turns back toward the elemental. He raises his arms and the blazing creature stops dead in its tracks, turns ninety degrees, then begins advancing toward the goblin right, evidently to shore up that side of the line. 

Belloc's own left flank company, heartened by this sudden success, turns in toward the center in a bid to roll up the goblin flank.

Map shows relative positions, but is not to scale.


OOC: Actions?

Some distances:

From the flanking party (Duran, Varros, Oloc) to the new goblin flank: about 225-230' (in other words, just out of bow range; you could easily move back into range).

From the flanking party to the Fire Elemental and Mage: about 225-250' (roughly the same; Oloc's charm spell has a range of 120'; again a move into range, for bows or Oloc's spell, would be possible).

From Gaven to the group of archers forming up near the fires: about 200' (just in range of Gaven's bow, out of range of the goblin short bows).

PC's Combat Detail, Round 2

Gaven shoots at scouts (surprise)
d20 = 17 + 0 (long range) = 17; d6 = 6 (goblin killed)
d20 = 7 + 0 (long range) = 7; (miss)

Gaven does not seem to have been spotted.

d20 = 16 + 1 (medium range) +2 (flank bonus) = 19 (hit); d6 = 5 (goblin killed)
d20 = 10 + 1 (medium range) +2 (flank bonus) =  13 (hit); d6 = 6 (goblin killed)

d20 = 8 + 1 (medium range) +2 (flank bonus) = 11 (miss)
d20 = 13+ 1 (medium range) +2 (flank bonus) = 16 (hit); d6 = 4 (goblin killed)

The flanking party has not been spotted by anyone still in the fight.

Overall Battle Strength Summary End of Round 2: 
Goblin Left Flank: ???
Goblin Left Center: ??? (pushing forward slightly)
Goblin Right Center: ??? (new right flank, looks strong, but overlapped by Belloc's left)
Goblin Right Flank: completely collapsed
Goblin Archers ("original company"): 5/13 (still shooting at Belloc's archers)
Goblin Archer Scouts (with Hob): 6/7 (moving toward the fires)
Fire Elemental HP: ??? (appears unwounded)
Hobgoblin Mage HP: ??? (appears unwounded)

Human Right Flank: ???
Human Right Center: ??? (from what you can see they appear to be moving back slightly)
Human Left Center: ??? (from what you can see they appear to be moving back slightly)
Human Left Flank: 10/10
Human Archers: ???
Belloc HP: ??? (appears unwounded)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Friday 6 July 1280, The Hour of the Wolf (Entering the Fight)

As the battle unfolds in earnest, the noise is earth-shattering, and the smell of death and burning flesh rises in the air. The magnitude of the danger and the potential scope of the carnage beginning to take place fills you with adrenaline as you quickly make your plan. Oloc scribbles the notes onto a small scrap of parchment which again Varros attaches to Karnak's leg before sending the raven to report to the Captain.

Arrows rain down from the Fairbrook archers into the ranks of their goblin counterparts. You see some goblins fall, but the majority, untouched, return a volley of their own. In the confused melee further on you see only shadows of men and goblins violently intermingled, while the large creature of flame picks up yet another man of the guard, and then tosses the burning body back in amongst his comrades.

Realizing time is of the essence, you quickly put your plan into motion. Duran, Varros, and Oloc carefully maneuver into position beyond the extremity of the goblins' right flank, ready to shoot missiles into the end of the goblin line. They keep themselves angled slightly to the rear of the goblins to minimize the chances of hitting one of Belloc's men by mistake. Though the enemy mage is too far off still to be seen clearly, by his silhouette against the flames of the elemental, he appears to be a hobgoblin. 

Meanwhile Gaven, Stan, and Ollie work their way into position behind the goblin archers, just out of bowshot (about 150' behind them), and pour Varros' three flasks of oil into small pools, connecting each pool with a line of oil. Gaven sends Stan and Ollie further back, then quickly, before the oil "fuse" can evaporate, strikes a spark to the oil-covered grass. A flame rapidly runs from pool to pool lighting them all as Gaven, too, dashes back to what cover is provided by the darkness outside the light cast by the newly set fires.

The hobgoblin commanding the archers notices the flames behind the group. The bulk of his company remains focused on returning the missile-fire of Belloc's archers, but the hobgoblin gives a sharp order to three of his goblin archers to move toward the burning oil and investigate. These three cautiously advance toward the fires Gaven set, bows at the ready. They do not yet see Gaven and the hirelings.

Once the diversionary flames erupt, Duran and Varros start shooting into the goblin flank, about 120 feet away. Each of them manages to take down a goblin in the rear rank. The other goblins  do not appear to notice the bodies fall to the ground with arrows in their backs. Out of dagger-throwing range, Oloc makes himself mentally ready to cast his charm spell when the occasion arises to use it.

Suddenly you hear another blast on the horn that sounded earlier and, a second later, a horseman – who can only be Belloc – can be seen by Duran, Varros and Oloc, crashing into the front of the goblins' right flank company. His warhammer rises and falls several times into the goblin ranks, and two new goblin corpses lie on the ground.


OOC:  Actions?

I assumed that the flanking group stayed out about 100-120' away or so from the enemy (medium range for the bows) which would prevent any goblins from charging the party in a single round if the group got noticed. Let me know if you wish to close the gap on the next round (or move back to long range). I assumed that Oloc is saving his charm for the M-U (still out of range); the flanking party is about 240' away from the enemy mage.

For every part of the battle in which you are not personally involved, I've come up with a simple abstracted casualty calculation system (so however active or inactive you are, the fight will eventually play out on its own). I'll report to you any of those casualties that your characters could actually see. Wherever your characters are directly involved, I'll play out those combats normally, rather than using the abstracted system.

Summary of what you can see now:

Rear: Gaven can see four goblin corpses laying on the ground among the company of Goblin archers. Discounting the three creeping back to investigate the fires, that leaves about 13/17 still shooting at Belloc's men.

Right Flank: On the far right flank, it appears Belloc's men are getting the better of the fight. Duran, Varros and Oloc can see no humans down on that part of the field, while they are able to count three goblins down, leaving about 17/20 vs. Belloc's left flank company of 10/10. Additionally, two more goblins in that same company are eliminated by Duran and Varros' arrows, and Belloc's charge takes out another two, bringing the right flank goblin company total down to 13/20.

Summary of your PCs' combat rolls:

Round 1 (surprise round for flanking party):

d20 = 4 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank bonus) = 7 (miss)
d20 = 10 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank bonus) = 13 (hit); d6 = 6 (goblin killed)

d20 = 6 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank bonus) = 9 (miss)
d20 = 18 + 1 (medium range) + 2 (flank bonus) = 20 (hit); d6 = 6 (goblin killed)

Out of range

Goblins do not notice Duran and Varros shooting.

Overall Battle Strength Summary End of Round 1: 

Goblin Left Flank: ???
Goblin Left Center: ???
Goblin Right Center: ???
Goblin Right Flank: 13/20
Goblin Archers: 13/17
Goblin Archer Scouts: 3/3 (creeping back to investigate the fires)
Fire Elemental HP: ??? (appears unwounded)
Hobgoblin(?) Mage HP: ??? (appears unwounded)

Human Right Flank: ???
Human Right Center: ???
Human Left Center: ???
Human Left Flank: 10/10
Human Archers: ???
Belloc HP: ??? (appears unwounded)