Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Early Afternoon (Abbot James)

Oloc says: "Cool air to the east - my guess is the passage joins up with the northern passage from the burial chamber." The mage looks to his companions. "Shall we take a look at the door?"

Duran nods in agreement with Oloc and moves to the door searching for anything out of the ordinary.

Gaven moves along with the others.

Duran finds no traps near the door and hears no noise. With a nod from Oloc, Duran puts his shoulder to door and heaves it open.

Blue arrow indicates party location.

Inside you see a smooth, clean, stone chamber, 20' x 30', completely devoid of markings on the walls or refuse on the floor.

At the north end of the room is a small dais, atop which sits a sepulcher. Standing in the doorway, you can just barely make out the following letters carved along the front face of the tomb:


OOC: Actions?
Time: 13:50
Current Torch Expires: 14:10

Pacing question: are we going too fast for anyone? We've been posting a bit more quickly recently, sometimes a couple of posts a day, largely because a lot of posts have been comparatively trivial ("let's go left," "let's turn right," etc.) and I thought it best to scoot through those quickly to get you guys to posts of more substance (rooms to explore, things to manipulate, monsters to encounter, etc.), at which point I assumed posting pace would slow to more normal rates. Just wanted to check and see if everyone's cool with that. I'm assuming you guys don't want to spend 2-3 days between "let's turn right" and "let's go straight," but if I'm wrong on that and you do want more time, just let me know. I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable with the pace.

As I say, this dungeon is a bit of a different creature from the ones we've done up until now, so I'm trying to get a sense of a good way to pace it. Scooting through the trivial decisions and slowing for more substantial ones -- adapting our pace to fit the circumstance -- seems to be a reasonable way to go (at least at first glance).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Early Afternoon (Go West)

The party heads west, following the corridor until it bends north again. Shortly you come to another T-junction. At this intersection, the corridor continues north, as well as branching back east opposite the direction you came. Down the eastern hallway you can barely make out the edge of a door in the north wall at the very limits of your torch light. You feel slightly cooler air coming from the east as well.

Blue arrow indicates party location.


OOC: Actions?  Really the same as before; I mostly need to know a direction.

This dungeon is a little different from the smaller lairs you've entered into before. Those were so small that there was little exploring to do, and fewer options in terms of paths to take -- they were pretty much linear marches with a few side passages. This one will be far less linear; so with each move, I'll take the party along the indicated path up to a decision point (junction, door, and/or some change in atmosphere), and ask for actions/directions.

Time: 13:40
Current Torch Expires: 14:10

Sunday 1 August 1280, Early Afternoon (A Sample of Crimson Malice)

The mage examines the red liquid coating Gaven's weapon without getting too close. Oloc tries to discern if it appears to be a living organism or some foul substance. As best he can tell it seems like something in between the two, not quite one, not quite the other, but with elements of both. The liquid seems rather nasty; up close it appears to release a sort of malignant anger, much like the graffiti above.

Gaven is taken aback at the way the liquid enveloped the spear tip. He examines the tip without touching the substance and feels malice emanating from it.

"If only we could discern more about this I would be tempted to coat the tips of my arrows in the substance," Duran says aloud. "What say you Gaven?"

Responding to Duran, Gaven says, "I am sure it would be harmful to us, but to those of evil intent, I think not. This substance is like pure darkness."

Given Gaven's advice, Duran opts to not coat his arrows.

The sample of the red substance seems completely dried on the spear tip. It no longer moves or squirms, or gives any sign of life at all beyond the feeling of evil it inspires.

Gaven breaks the tip off the spear and without touching it, wraps it tightly in a sack and stuffs it in his bag. He keeps the pole for now.

Oloc hands the old parchment over to Gaven. "This may hold some significance for you, Gaven. It appears to be a prayer on a very old piece of parchment. My guess is this place has been undisturbed for many, many years."

Gaven thanks Oloc for the parchment and places it in his scroll case for safe keeping.

With nothing else to see in this room, the party prepares to choose a direction and move out.

The exit to the north feels colder than the rest of the chamber, and the puddles of red liquid are located along the north wall of the chamber. Ten feet up the corridor to the north a way west branches off at a T-junction.

The east and west exits of the chamber exhibit nothing to distinguish them.


OOC: Direction? Just need a vote on which way to go. Once I have two votes for any given direction, we'll move the party that way.

Time: 13:30

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Early Afternoon (Chill, Squirm, and Prayer)

Gaven cautiously approaches one of the puddles. Staying within the symbol of the light, he uses his spear to scoop up some of the liquid.

While Gaven works, Duran searches the area for any signs of recent activity or traps. The only thing Duran notes is that the air near the north exit seems a bit cooler than the rest of the chamber.

Out of respect for Gaven, Oloc suppresses the urge to pilfer through the burial alcoves for anything of value. Instead he scans the walls for secret doors.

He finds none, but he does notice a small fragment of parchment lying exposed amid the bones. He is able to read part of it without disturbing the remains. The writing appears to be a simple prayer for the dead, written in a very, very old variation of common. If it was placed here at the same time as the skeletons, that would make the remains hundreds of years old, if not older.

Oloc then turns his attention to Gaven and the strange, red substance.

When the point of Gaven's spear touches the liquid, a tendril of the fluid rises up and attaches itself to the weapon. The squirming measure of liquid quickly envelops the weapon's tip, then dries and hardens in place, covering the spear head in a smooth, shining red sheath,* similar in appearance to the dried substance of the graffiti above in the church.

OOC: Actions?

Time: 13:20

*I.e., it forms a sort of red "skin" over the spear point; the spear point appears to have its normal shape and even sharpness. It's just now covered in a thin dried layer of the red stuff.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Midday (A Hallowed Place)

A huge grin spreads across Oloc's face as the trap door opens. "I knew it," he mutters under his breath.

"Need have no fear indeed," Gaven says after being bathed in the holy fire.

Duran and Gaven look to see if the trap door can be opened and closed from the inside of the passage. They discover that the lever does precisely that. The lever inside the trap door also seems to trigger no holy fire.

With the mechanism of the trap door figured out, Gaven considers Oloc's suggestion and turns his attention to the graffiti once last time. First the cleric rubs a little bit of holy water on the red markings; then he tries a mix of holy water and the liquid from the font. In both cases, the reaction is similar to the one before – an angry hiss, but no luck in removing the markings.

Before heading down into the darkness, Oloc empties his waterskin and fills it with the water from the basin. Duran follows Oloc, as does Gaven. Between the three of you, you empty the basin.

The party decides to leave the mule, Sophie, the two porters at the top of the stairs. Stan is also assigned to guard them, since, being a fervent believer in the light, he can likely use the lever in the altar if need be.

The remainder of the party descend into the darkness, Oloc holding a torch so that all may see.


At the bottom of the stairs, you find yourselves in a very long tunnel heading north. The tunnel is 10' wide, and featureless, but lined with the same smooth stone as that of the church above. After about 100' or so, the tunnel opens out into a 30' x 30' chamber.

Horizontal stone recesses are set into all the walls, going all the way around the room, from about 2' above the floor, all the way to the ceiling, some 10' up. Each recessed shelf has about 2' of horizontal space, into which have been laid the bones of dozens and dozens of skeletons. The remains look very dry, brittle and old.

Gaven recognizes this immediately as the church's catacombs. The skeletons here clearly belong to the brothers and sisters of the Light who once served in this church.

Engraved in the center of the floor is the symbol of the Light.

Also covering the floor, in the northeast and northwest corners of the room, are shallow puddles of what appears to be the same red substance used to trace the graffiti in the church above. The substance is in a slowly bubbling liquid form, and it appears to be oozing up from the spaces between stones in the floor.

Otherwise, you note exits to the north, west, and east, in addition to the opening to the south, through which you entered.


OOC: Actions?

Time: 13:10

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Midday (The Light of a Thousand Stars)

The Duran and Oloc step back as Gaven trips the lever.

The cleric reaches his hand into the altar compartment and pulls on the handle. A blinding flare of white energy rushes up out of the compartment, bathing Gaven's torso in pale flame. The cleric of the light seems to feel no discomfort at all.

The flame slowly dies down again, and there is a second of silence. Then you hear the sound of grating stone, and the portion of the floor behind the altar which Duran had previously identified gradually slides open.

Through the dark opening in the floor, you see a stairway down ending in a corridor that extends out of sight to the north. At the bottom of the stairway is another lever.

Duran asks Gaven if it is appropriate to take some of the water in basin for their water skins, and Oloc agrees with the suggestion. Gaven believes that taking some would be fine. The Light does not offer what is not meant to be taken.*

Oloc also asks if anyone has any holy water, thinking perhaps that would work on the stains.


OOC: Actions?

Time: 12:45

*This is based on character knowledge that Gaven would have as a cleric.

If you take some of the water from the font, please state that (just to confirm).

If you descend, please let me know how many torches/lanterns you have lit and who's holding them.

It has been suggested that Buckeye, Sophie (animal handler), Bill (porter/torchbearer), Ollie (porter/torchbearer) and Gweneth (merc) remain topside in the church. Please confirm, sometime before you descend, if those are the NPCs you want to leave in the church.

If you were to leave the proposed NPCs behind, you might have a marching order looking something like this (vs. the one currently posted on the PC Info Page):

Scouting:   Karnak (7/7)
Front Rank:   Gaven (12/12)   Almo (10/10)   Duran (11/11)
Second Rank: Filbert (6/6)     Oloc (6/6) [Light?]     Wally (4/4)
Third Rank:   Stan (3/3)   Jack (4/4)

Also, the corridor is 10' wide, so you could take the mule with you if you wished. Upside: you need leave no one behind; downside: the mule will "clop-clop-clop" a bit as you walk, so you will be less likely to surprise anyone you meet.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Midday (Red Anger and Silver[ish] Linings)

Oloc is fascinated by the sudden appearance of the liquid. He doesn't dare mention magic, certain that there is divine power at play here.

"I am not versed in such matters, but do you think this liquid might have special qualities, restorative perhaps?"

As a cleric of the light, Gaven knows enough about Brother Camillus' association with healing to suspect that Oloc's proposed theory of restorative qualities is very possible.

Oloc takes some of the liquid in the cup of his hand. The liquid feels warm and clean. The mage applies it to the mysterious red substance to see if it can act as a solvent.

When the liquid touches the red pigment, Oloc hears a faint hiss escape the grim substance. It is not the hiss of alchemical reactions, but the all-too-emotional hiss of utter and bitter hatred. The clear liquid applied to the pigment rises from it in a wisp of vapor, and the pigment remains unaffected.

Gaven tries to lift the plate out of the alter and/or slide it to the side. The plate still refuses to budge.

Meanwhile, Duran continues to help search the area for a trigger for the trap door. The fighter notices that one of the sconces behind the altar shows evidence of a split between the stone of the sconce and that of the wall, very similar to the one in the shoulder of Brother Camillus' statue.

Duran gives the sconce a twist, and the small plate in the altar slides open with a delicate "snick" sound.

The now open panel reveals a compartment within the altar. The compartment is lined with unrusted steel. The steel shows evidence of severe burn marks. Inside the compartment is a steel handle, also bearing burn marks. In very small letters, engraved on the lining of the compartment are the words:

OOC: Actions?

Time: 12:40

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Midday (Putting Things in Motion)

"Ahhh, so there is a secret entrance," Oloc says with a smile. "My guess is we move the statue's arm to release the mechanism opening the door. What say you? Shall we give it a go?"

Gaven replies to Oloc, "Shall we try to trigger both the altar and statue at the same time?" The cleric makes sure everyone steps away from the possible trap door in the floor.

Duran nods in agreement and steps back as the others try and activate the trap door.

On the count of three, Oloc pulls on the statue's arm, and Gaven presses the square on the altar.

The square piece on the altar does not move at all. It yields to neither pushing, pulling or twisting. Gaven notes, however, that the square section does seem to cover a hollow space, unlike the rest of the altar's surface, which seems quite solid.

Oloc has better luck. The statue's arm descends slightly with a faint scraping of stone on stone. As the arm is lowered, the font is suddenly filled with a clear liquid.

How the liquid entered the font is impossible to tell. There seems to be no spigot or opening from which it poured. It merely appeared in the basin when the statue's arm was moved.

A pleasant fragrance emanates from the transparent fluid. The scent is difficult to identify. If the sunlight of a fair spring day had a scent, the perfume of the liquid could best be described that way.


OOC: Actions?

Time: 12:35

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Midday (That Stubborn Stain, and Other Marks)

Gaven is amazed to see the altar, statue and font are unabused by time, but is dismayed at the graffiti. He kneels and prays at the altar looking for divine inspiration on how to purify the temple.

Gaven writes out the temple's engraving and draw the graffiti on a piece of parchment to show Abbot Cuthbert and Cosmo.

The cleric also tries to identify the ink. It is difficult to say what it is. It is not blood, though it has a bloodlike color, and a foul smell is noticeable when Gaven moves closer to inspect it. Perhaps blood was one ingredient that went into the pigment.

As he cannot identify it himself, he attempts to chip some off the wall to bring to Cosmo for identification (or perhaps the sage). However, the pigment refuses to break apart, crack or flake away, no matter how much force Gaven applies, or what type of tool he attempts to use. The pigment may not be entirely mundane in nature.

Cleaning the pigment off the wall seems entirely out of the question.

Meanwhile, Oloc wanders around the church, inspecting the old masonry and remaining features. "I also wonder if there is a 'back door' somewhere around here."

Disturbed by the red graffiti on the wall, Duran joins up with Oloc to search for some secret or trap door. Duran notices an outline on the surface of the dais that could denote a stone trap door in the floor, just behind the altar. If it is a camouflaged door, there is no obvious way to open it. The stone appears very large and heavy, and there is no handle.

Oloc turns his attention to the statue. "What do you think, Gaven? It is amazing the statue seems to have survived all these years. And the altar and font also appear to be amazingly 'undisturbed'...."  Oloc perceives, upon closer examination, that there is a thin line along the shoulder joint of the raised right arm of the statue, as if the arm were a separate piece. The line appears perfectly straight, and is clearly not a crack caused by weathering or abuse. The mage also notes that there is no other such line anywhere else on the statue.

Gaven, meanwhile, searches over the altar, statue and font for holy works. He spots nothing more on the statue than the line Oloc points out.

The beautifully crafted font reveals one additional detail. Now visible close up is a finely, delicately carved inscription that reads: "The Light Renews."

On the altar, Gaven also spies the thinnest outline of a square carved into the surface. It is clearly not a defacement of any sort, as the cut is extremely clean and regular. However it has no particular religious signification that he is aware of. It is nothing more than a simple square, with no words or symbols of any sort.

OOC: Actions?

Time: 12:30

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Midday (Inside the Old Church)

Gaven is drawn towards church in an almost trance-like state. He starts walking towards it and then catches himself. "I think it may be worth checking the church. There may be a secret passage that enters the Keep. Perhaps we will be lucky and be able to catch the bandits by surprise."

Duran nods in agreement with Gaven. "Even if we don't find a passage perhaps this would be a good place for Buckeye, Sophie, Ollie and Bill to wait and hide in safety until we have dealt with the bandits. We just need to make sure and cover our tracks into the church."

Duran then feeds Karnak a bite to eat and sends him up to circle the ruins to keep an eye out for them until their course of action is determined.

Karnak gives no indication of threats in the area. With no signs of trouble, you make your way carefully through the brush and weeds up to the church. You leave very little track behind you – only enough that someone specifically looking for it would notice.

Entering the church through the large hole in the wall you can see that most of the roof has crumbled away. Litter of stone and wood fragments is scattered across most of the floor. Sunlight pours through the roof, which has almost entirely collapsed from the midsection eastward. A few scattered shadows cross the floor from the odd remaining rafter.

At the far end of the church, to the east, you see a massive set of old double doors. The wood is rotting, and the iron bands are rusting, but they still hold together. Along the walls are small stone sconces built directly into the walls, obviously intended for torches at one time.

The north and south wings bear the remnants of painted frescoes. The colors are so chipped and faded that you cannot make out any distinct images.

To the west you can see the altar you perceived previously through the hole in the wall. It stands upon a raised stone dais. In this one section of the church, the roof is still almost entirely intact. No rubble at all can be seen on the dais or the altar. The altar's surface is perfectly smooth and unscratched.

High on the wall behind the altar, you see engraved in large characters the following words:

Beneath this, scrawled on the wall in some thick, red pigment is a symbol and words that look distinctly out of place in a church of the light:

This portion of the wall appears slick with water – while none of the other stone in the church seems damp at all. It is as if the church is weeping, or perhaps trying to wash itself clean of the blasphemous graffiti.

To the left of the altar (south) there is a stone font, now empty and dry. The surface of the font is smooth and clean, like that of the altar.

To the right of the altar (north), there is a life-sized statue that Gaven recognizes as a likeness of Brother Camillus, a legendary healer from the early days of church history. Brother Camillus wears a simple robe, and stands with his right hand raised high in benediction, and his left hand resting on his breast.

A single ray of sunlight, entering through one of the very few small holes in the otherwise intact ceiling in this western section of the church, casts a golden aura around the figure of Brother Camillus.

OOC: Actions?

Time: 12:10

Surprisingly I managed to get some things done I didn't expect to, and was able to write this post today after all. (Yay!)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sunday 1 August 1280, Dawn through Noon (The Road to Blackwell)

An hour before dawn you set out marching north from Fairbrook. A two-hour journey brings you to the stone bridge across the Coldstream, and another three hours of hiking bring you to the Northstar Inn by 9:00 a.m. The day promises to be sunny and hot.

Harlon is happy to see you and you enjoy a second breakfast on the house. Harlon shakes his head at mention of the Grey Fox bandits, and tells you they have increased their activity in the area. More than that he really doesn't know, though he expects that they are indeed holed up in the ruins of Blackwell. The dwarvish inkeeper laments how bad it is for business, and is glad to hear that your expedition with Filbert is likely to do the bandits a bad turn. You notice that there are no other patrons in the Northstar inn this morning.

Another three hours of travel bring you to the hill on which the ruins of Blackwell can be seen. By noon, you find yourself on the trail leading away from the road and up to the main gate of the outer wall.
This is the hex immediately north of Fairbrook from the main map.

The trail from the road takes you up the hill to the crumbling outer wall surrounding what must have once been a magnificent fortress. Little of the outer wall now stands above shoulder high to a man, though you judge from its thickness and the amount of rubble on the ground that the walls were once at least two to three times higher, maybe more.

Virtually nothing remains of the outer gate house facing westward, overlooking the road. The trail narrows once inside the outer wall, and leads eastward toward the inner gate. This smaller gate house is in much better condition, though it holds nothing particular of note. Once you pass the inner gate, you see a broad open space overgrown with weeds and sparse thorn bushes. The wide open space is spotted here and there with bits and pieces of stone foundations left over from wooden buildings long ago collapsed and rotted away.

Upper Ruins of Blackwell; party is just inside the Inner Gate.

Immediately to your right, south of the inner gate, are the stone remains of a Church of the Light. The style is somewhat archaic, structured in the form of a cross, rather than square with a dome as the modern churches are built. The walls stand some twenty feet tall in their highest remaining spots. From outside, through a gaping hole in the church wall, you can just make out the form of an altar still standing in the western wing.

To the north, you can see the main keep, Blackwell proper. Although it certainly must be the oldest structure in the ruins, it is in better condition than any other building you can see. It measures 75 x 30 feet, and stands some four stories high. Very little of the outer wall of the main keep has crumbled – from where you stand it appears almost entirely intact.

There are clear footprints – made by human-sized boots – leading along a thin path cutting north through the weeds and thorn bushes from the inner gate toward the main keep. No path of any sort leads to the old church, and it appears that there has been no traffic to or from that building in years.

Apart from the footprints, you neither see nor hear any signs of life.

OOC: Actions?

Time is 12:00 noon.

I've statted up the halflings and your new hireling (the animal handler) over on the PC information page. Also, I've put a possible marching order up on that page. Let me know what changes if any you wish to make to it. (I've put "light" next to one of the hirelings in anticipation of your eventual descent; and of course, if Sophie and Buckeye don't accompany you underground, we'll remove them from the order).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Saturday 14 July - Saturday 28 July 1280 (Rumors, Halflings and Goodbyes)

The party comes to a consensus and agrees to head off to Blackwell to help Filbert recover his stolen goods.


Duran undertakes his training with Sergeant Ragnar, and spends a fortnight on that. He returns to the inn each night soaked with sweat, bent with aching muscles, and thoroughly exhausted, but it's very clear that the payoff from Ragnar's training is worth the rigors Duran endures.


During the course of Duran's fortnight of training, Gaven and Oloc prepare the party's expedition. Old Bob Barley is delighted to show his gratitude for the party's efforts by providing Gaven with a good deal on a very sturdy mule, named Buckeye, along with a set of saddlebags. Oloc is able to hire the services of a local lass, Sophie, to serve as animal handler for the mule.*


Additionally, while Duran trains, Gaven helps at the church. The brothers and sisters are delighted to have a humble helping hand from a warrior priest like Gaven, and during meal times they are eager to hear stories of the adventures he has had.

For several days, Gaven neither sees nor hears any news of the abbot. However, around the end of the first week, he learns that Cuthbert has returned to Fairbrook, and that the abbot is receiving no visits. A few days later, Gaven finally gets to talk to him. Gaven notices that the abbot has a bound injury on his left arm, but Cuthbert insists it is nothing, merely a scratch from an accident on the road. Gaven is also told by the abbot that Brother Abraham's efforts against the werewolves are going quite well, and that a soldier named Sergeant Bertrand has been given temporary command of the garrison at Ham's Fork, replacing Lieutenant Alanna until another officer can be selected.


Gaven also visits Belloc to learn any new rumors.

With regard to Alanna, the Captain confirms the temporary assignment of Sergeant Bertrand as commander in Ham's Fork to replace her, but he has received no further reports of any sightings of the traitor. For the moment, she seems to have simply vanished. That she might be up in or around Blackwell with the Grey Fox Band is as likely a scenario as any. But he simply doesn't know.

Captain Belloc does inform Gaven of a strange mystery involving the giant the party spotted off the Ham's Fork road. The giant is now gone. When Belloc's men arrived, they found the giant's house half built, with tools and materials left scattered on the ground. They also found massive blood stains on the ground – so much blood that his men surmise that it could only have come from the giant himself. Belloc admits: "I have to say I'm a touch nervous at the thought of something nearby that could take out a giant like that." Beyond that worrisome speculation, the captain has no addition information to offer.


As these preparations and fact-finding conversations take place during the day, the party also meets with Filbert in the evenings to begin discussing plans to enter Blackwell. Gaven says to Filbert: "I hope you can wait a few weeks more while my friends train and we all rest. We will journey to Blackwell Keep soon enough."

Filbert seems to have no problem with this.

About a week into Duran's training period, Filbert rushes into the common room all a-flutter one evening as you are finishing your dinner. He is decked out in a fine set of halfling-sized plate mail, and he jumps and skips as he runs to your table, flailing a piece of paper around in the air.

"Great news, great news!" he exclaims. "Remember how I said I couldn't trust any hired help from around here?" This indiscreet exclamation draws a more than one sour look from the locals in the Red Tankard's common room. Filbert seems not to notice.

"My cousins! I have two cousins who often do merchant caravan duty. They were away on jobs in the east, but their work out there finished early. I had word sent to them that I – we – could use their help, and I've just gotten a reply that they'll join us!"

He gleefully shows you a letter from his cousins, Almo and Wally, who say they will be in Fairbrook three days before Duran's training is to be completed. Before you can even ask the question, Filbert puts up a hand and says "And don't worry, I'll take care of paying them out of my own pocket." He grins impishly: "I'm sure I can talk them into a family discount."

It appears that your excursion to Blackwell will be bolstered by the presence of two more experienced fighters.


With these matters settled, Gaven pays a few visits to Elsie to attempt to convince her to join the cleric ranks.  "Miss Elsie, I notice you have a burning passion and yet emptiness due to the loss of Bill. The Light can help heal your wounds and give you a calling to repress the chaos of the land. If you wish to start training, please let me know..." Before Gaven can even complete the sentence, Elsie throws herself into the cleric's arms and sobs uncontrollably. Gaven senses she has been holding this in for quite some time, and it all comes out in a flood. When she finally catches her breath, she simply nods and says "Yes, I would like that."

Elsie discusses the matter with her mother that night, and the very next day she accompanies Gaven to the church where she is taken in by the brothers and sisters of the Light.


The only thing that goes awry for the party in this time of rest and recovery is that Varros seems to suffer still from some malady. While Gaven's prayers have clearly healed his wounds, there appears to be some lingering after-effect of the poison that infected them. Feeling that this weakness will bring undue risk to himself and his companions, Varros also accompanies Gaven to the church so that he might be brought under the care of the master healer of the church.

Varros bids an emotional goodbye to Karnak, shakes hands with the rest of the Free Company, and promises Gaven that he will look after Elsie's well being from time to time while he is residing in the church infirmary.


After a fortnight, Duran's training is complete, and as the night of July 28 falls, the Free Company enjoys what will likely be their last hot meal for some days to come, shared with Karnak, the hirelings, Filbert, Hazel, Almo and Wally. Hazel sheds a tear or two at the thought of the risk her husband is about to run, but she also looks quite proud of him, as well.


OOC:  Actions?

Basically, not a lot to decide here, more just a final chance to buy any last gear take care of any other last-minute items on the way out.

If you're good to go in terms of heading off to Blackwell after the Grey Foxes, just say "OK" and I'll post the journey out there this weekend.

I'll get the three halflings (Filbert, Almo, Wally) statted up this weekend too. I plan to make Almo 2nd level to compensate for the loss of Varros. Filbert and Wally will be 1st-level each.

Total Cost to the Party for the Mule and Saddlebags: 35 gp
Cost of Search for Animal Handler: 10 gp
Cost of Wages for current mercs: 5 gp x 3 mercs x 2 weeks = 30 gp
Cost of Wages for current laborers: 2 gp x 2 porters x 2 weeks = 6 gp
Cost of Wages for new Animal Handler: 2 gp x 1 handler x 1 week = 2 gp
Total Group Expenses = 83 gp
Share per PC = 20 gp, 7 sp  (I divided by 4, purchases made while Varros is still in party)
Individual Living Expenses = 1 gp/day/PC=14 gp*

Total cost per PC: 34 gp, 7 sp

The total cost per PC includes individual shares of group expenses (mule, saddle bags, new hireling search, hireling wages) as well as individual living expenses.

For shares of the group expenses, I divided by 4, ruling that these expenses are paid while Varros is still in the party.

For individual living expenses, I ruled it 1gp/day (first level rate), since you were all first level at the start of your stay. We'll shift to the 2 gp/day second-level rate for those of you at level 2 with your next stay in town (the rate is 1 gp/level/day).

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Friday 13 July – Saturday 14 July 1280 (A busy day)

(OOC: I've "rewound" a bit to allow for the purchasing of items and for Gaven's conversation with Cosmo, so we start back in Cosmo's shop before you head back to the Tankard where you'll bump into Filbert)

Oloc wanders around Cosmo's place with huge eyes and an open mouth, eyeing all of the magical wares. Ultimately he ends on three items that he offers to buy: Ring of Spell Storing, the Returning Throwing Dagger, and the Potion of Cure Light Wounds.

Duran purchases one of Ruger's Perfect Arrows and one Losenge of Healing.

Gaven too looks over Cosmo's wares. Spotting Borland's Shield, the cleric says:  "This is a fine shield, I will take it."* Gaven also inquires: "When we spoke with Captain Belloc, he mentioned that Maggie the Moon Witch has been seen again. What do you know of her?"

Cosmo replies: "Mostly rumors. I've never met her. Some say she's a werewolf. Others say she's a witch. Many say she's both. I've never met her, so I can only speculate. But the latter assumption – that she is both werewolf and witch – is certainly a possibility. After all, any mage bitten by a werewolf can be transformed into one, and there is no reason to think that he or she would necessarily lose the ability to perform magic."

Cosmo then adds: "The last time you came in, I recall, you asked me about werewolves. So I divine your question may be connected to that ribbon I identified for you. If that ribbon was a gift, it may indeed be that Maggie is both a werewolf and a witch, and one who has managed to assert her human side over her wolfish aspect. Those with the strongest wills can. If she has seen fit to lend you aid for some reason – as a gift would suggest – she could be a powerful ally. Or a dangerous foe if crossed. It may also mean there is something she wants from you as well."

He lowers his voice, and looks around, as if even the walls in his secret back room might have ears.

"This may not mean anything," Cosmo whispers, "but I have sensed a tension in the night. It is difficult to explain, but it feels as if two primordial noctornal forces were about to clash. I have no idea what those forces might be, or if they're anything other than figments of an old mage's imagination. But if my senses aren't simply fooling me, a powerful lycanthrope – or a group of them – would certainly be a force to cause such an impression on my mind."

Then he shrugs. "Of course I cannot substantiate that feeling. And what do I know?" He smiles. "I've been sedentary too long, spent too many years avoiding adventures. So my senses may not be as sharp as they once were."

Finally you conclude your business for the evening with Cosmo, who sends you off with a cheerful farewell. "I assume you'll be in Fairbrook for a while refitting. If you have any more questions to ask me while you're here, feel free to stop by again," he adds as he sees you out the door to his shop.


As darkness begins to fall, you return to the Red Tankard. When you enter the inn, the place seems a bit more crowded as travelers have arrived to spend the night, and the local townsfolk drink and talk. You barely get inside the door before you see a familiar face – it's Filbert.

The halfling jumps up and waves to you from across the room. "Hallo! Sadie and Sal told me you were back in town. Earlier than I expected too!"

Seeing Filbert's enthusiastic greeting, Oloc suggests quietly to the rest of you: "Blackwell Keep, anyone?"

Gaven smiles at the halfling, "Well met Filbert. I am glad to see you waited for us. Have you gathered any men?"

"No, no," Filbert says. "I've been waiting on you." He whispers to the group quite confidentially: After giving it some thought – and admittedly watching the fairly slim pickings around here in your absence – I've come to realize I should put my trust in you alone. I don't expect anyone would be more likely to help me get my wares back than you gents. And anyone else is just as likely to stab me in the back once I do recover my merchandise."

Greeting Filbert, Duran says, "Glad to see you did not set off without us. When were you planning to leave?

"Ah that," Filber replies. "I've passed my time well this past day. I went to the blacksmith who says he can have a fine new halfling-sized suit of armor done up for me in a week. So I wouldn't be ready to go before then. With that and..." he flings his cloak aside, "...this little beauty, I should be able to take what those bandits owe me right out of their hides if I can't actually retrieve my gems." Hanging from his belt is a finely made short sword.

The halfling has a determined look on his face. "I must admit, I was being a bit hasty wanting to run off half-cocked earlier. But Hazel, well, she's the voice of reason. Made me calm down, take a hard, realistic look at my situation, and convinced me that careful preparation and precautions were more important than fast action."

Gaven asks: "Have you heard any more rumors on the Grey Foxes?"

"Nothing in particular," Filbert says, "though I've been trying to keep my ears open. Just general rumors that there has been some activity up on the road past Blackwell. It's always been said that a man was safe walking the road past Blackwell as long as he did it in daylight. Apparently that's not entirely true any more. So I'm guessing they're up there alright, since I don't seem to be the only one they've robbed."

Duran says: "We may need some time to rest and refit. Our friend Varros here had a rough go these past few days."

Filbert eyes poor Varros, who still looks a little the worse for wear. "Say no more. I reckoned you fellows would have your own business to attend to after your excursion to the south. So why don't you take a day or two to take care of your business, and then we can talk sometime in the next few days about how to proceed."

With that the halfling bids you good evening, leaving you to ponder your options.


No sooner has Filbert left you than Karnak flies through the window to perch on Varros' shoulder. Sadie raises an eyebrow and opens her mouth to comment on the presence of what she must consider just some filthy animal. But seeing how much the weakened Varros perks up at Karnak's arrival, her expression softens, and she goes about her business, turning a blind eye to the presence of a raven in her common room.


After you breakfast the next morning, Oloc locks himself in his room and begins copying out the spell from the scroll you picked up from the bandits. It will take him all day, and the rest of you realize you won't see him again until suppertime.

The hirelings, who have received quite a decent bonus, are pleased and go about the town on their own for a few hours to enjoy their new wealth.

Gaven prays for the healing of Varros' wounds, and the fighter rapidly feels better (OOC: Varros is back at full hp at the end of the day, so he can train if he wishes).

Gaven visits the temple to aid as he can and to pray for guidance on the group's next mission. He asks after Abbot Cuthbert, but is informed simply and politely that the abbot is "away on business near Ham's Fork." One brother says he believes that the abbot went to visit brother Abraham, but beyond that Gaven gets no further details out of anyone.

Gaven then visits with Elsie Miggins, Bob Barley and Dagwood.

Elsie welcomes him, and seems genuinely pleased to see the cleric. But she smiles sadly and distantly as they converse.

Bob Barley appears to be doing far better than Elsie, despite the recent loss of his son. They chat about this and that – mostly about Bob's memories of Bill – though Bob does seem eager to express his gratitude for the concern shown for his son by way of discounted prices should Gaven and his companions need mounts or beasts of burden.

Dagwood expresses thanks on the part of the Mayor for the Free Company's actions in stomping out the Red Serpent bandits. He also confirms Filbert's statement about Grey Fox bandit activity in the vicinity of Blackwell keep. Dagwood's theory is that with their competition out of the way, the Grey Fox bandits may be getting bolder, intent on expanding their nefarious activities.

Meanwhile Duran spends the day tracking down Sergeant Ragnar, and talks to him about training times and cost, and making plans to begin training the following day.

Varros, feeling better after Gaven's pious ministrations, spends most of the day convalescing, but by evening he feels in full form, and is up and about as if he had never been injured at all.


Evening comes again with your respective activities for the day completed, you find yourselves seated once more around your usual table in the Red Tankard. Amid the buzz of others' conversations, you discuss your next job.**


OOC: Actions?

*I took the liberty of just assuming that you had the cash with you. I think from now on, whenever you want to buy anything in Fairbrook (which is, at least for the time being, your home base), that I will just handwave the details of actually going to the bank and depositing/withdrawing moneys. Whenever you need the gold to buy something there, I'll just assume you snagged it before heading to the merchant's shop.

**The developing consensus seems to be heading up to Blackwell after the bandits with Filbert. Let me know if I'm wrong in this.

Also, let me know if there are other people you want to talk to before heading out to Blackwell (or elsewhere). Feel free to buy any remaining equipment.

Dienekes: if you decide to have Varros train with Ragnar, too, let me know.

There was discussion before about mules/horses/etc. If you decide to buy one or more, we'll say that Bob Barley is willing to sell you horse(s), mule(s), saddle(s), saddlebag(s) all for 5 gp below book cost each (prices are on p. 21). Was the mule a done deal? The horses seemed in question.

If you want to hire someone to handle the animal(s) (i.e. to stand watch over it outside Blackwell) we'll say that you can find someone (equivalent in cost to a porter). If you wanted to hire someone to actually guard the animal(s), that would just be a merc.

Lastly, if I overlooked anything anyone mentioned in the comments from the last post, let me know, and I'll work it into the next post. I think I got it all, but you never know.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Friday 13 July 1280, All Day (Good Housekeeping)

Duran listens as the others ask questions, suddenly feeling exhausted.

Gaven, whose curiosity outweighs his fatigue, asks Belloc: "any news on the Grey Fox bandits?"

"Not much," replies the captain. In fact, most of what I know comes from you. There have been some robberies on the road near Blackwell, but otherwise nothing you haven't already told me yourselves. The appearance of the 'grey men' that Alanna sent to do you in makes me wonder if she has joined up with them. Odd, since one of my own detachments reported seeing her heading southwest..."

The captain trails off as if thinking.

Gaven then asks: "What of the giant south of here we sent word on?"

"Ah, him," says the captain. "I've dispatched a diplomatic mission on that front. We've had the odd giant in the vicinity before. They're not all bad, some of them are fairly decent creatures. They come in, build a small cabin pasture some giant sheep for a season or two then move on. That type you can talk to and usually come to an understanding with them – making sure they keep off the roads and somewhat out of sight so as not to frighten travelers and merchants. The other type...well, let's just say I hope this one isn't the other type. In a day or two we should know which kind this fellow is."

"Do you know if the halfling merchant Filbert is still in town?" asks Gaven. "Filbert...Filbert..." says Belloc. "Was he that little fellow with the banged up head back at the Northstar Inn last week? Had a run-in with some grey men too, didn't he? To be honest, I'm not too sure. I haven't much thought of him with all the post-battle refitting and the new situations with the giant and Alanna."

Gaven asks one last question: "Any other rumors or concerns of note?"

The captain says: "Just that Maggie the Moon Witch was spotted again up near the Northstar again, though no trouble came of it. And there was the usual report of wolf – or werewolf – howls down Blackleaf way. With the full moon out right now, I'd say you were fortunate not to run into any yourselves."

The captain reads the fatigue on the faces of the party members. "You men look like you need a rest now. Go on back to the Red Tankard. If that giant turns out to be the wrong sort, and you're not engaged in any other work, you'd certainly be welcome to help us deal with him."

Oloc thanks the Captain for his generosity, and suggests that the party get a table at the inn to divide up the treasure and discuss their next course of action. He wants to see about getting a room, then take a bath, eat, and the hit the sack.

Duran, too, wants only to go to the Tavern, divide up the loot and get a meal, drink, bath and a bed. 


With that you leave Belloc's office most of the party head to the Red Tankard, Gaven goes first to the Temple to pray then joins the rest of you at the inn.

Sadie and Sal greet you warmly. Sal starts making you a good hot meal while Sadie runs upstairs to get some rooms ready. The inn itself is rather quiet this morning – all the travelers have resumed their journeys, and the locals tend to show up only at meal times.

Shortly Sadie comes back down and tells you baths are prepared and your rooms are ready. Since Sal's food isn't quite ready, you go upstairs and clean yourselves off, before returning to the common room for your meal. After that, barely able to keep your eyes open, you head up to your rooms to get some sleep.

After a few hours, the noise of the lunch crowd wakes you and you take another meal in the common room, before heading out to sell off the mundane items and valuables you picked up in your foray against the bandits. All told, you manage to pull in 1824 g.p, 5 s.p. for those items. Along with the coins you picked up from the bandits, your total monetary haul comes to 2629 g.p., 7 s.p.

By the time you sell everything off, it's the dinner hour, and you head back to the Tankard to take another meal and divide up your coin, each of you taking a share of 657 g.p., 4 s.p., 3 c.p.

You still have some potentially magical items to deal with. Gaven asks to take possession of the vial of pale green liquid, and he and Oloc both look at the scroll you picked up. Gaven finds the words unreadable, but Oloc can decipher it with little difficulty – the scroll contains an arcane variant of a "Protection from Chaos" spell.


With a few hours of daylight left, you decide, at Gaven's suggestion, to go to Cosmo's to identify the potion, and just to look around at any new items the old mage may have in stock.

On the way there, you pass by the temple once more and Gaven steps in to make a donation. Pleased with Gaven's substantial donation, the brothers reward Gaven with an amulet. "This amulet," a brother tells him, "is called the Medallion of the Righteous. It will grant you protection against the dead who have returned to the living (OOC: +1 to AC vs. undead)."

Leaving the temple, you continue on your way to Cosmo's.


Cosmo seems genuinely pleased to see you, and as you walk down the long dimensionally transendental corridor to his back room, you have plenty of time to relate your tale, which is punctuated frequently by Cosmo's "oohs" and "ahhhs" that make you think he misses adventuring now that he seems too old for it himself.

Once in the back room, Gaven hands the vial of green liquid to Cosmo.  Cosmo looks at it, swishes it around, peers at it with candle-light behind it, gives it a sniff, then smiles.

"Ha!" he says. "I know what this is!" He sticks the tip of his finger into the liquid and licks it off. "Sure as the sunrise!" he exclaims. "I made this one myself. Distillate of Bezoar, is what you've got there my young cleric. That will cure any poison known to man, as long as the victim drinks it before the poison manages to kill him."

Then he frowns. "You picked that up from the bandits you say? Hmph! I've never sold to any bandits. Harlon and a few other screen my customers carefully for me, as you well know. The rotten no-goods must have stolen it from one of my legitimate customers."

He thinks a moment and then adds. "Tell you what. I'm so glad you took that away from those ruffians, I'll let you have the identification for free – I'd hate to think anything I made or sold fell into the wrong hands!"

Cosmo then glances at the rest of the party members milling around the back room. "See anything you like lads?"

Looking over the shelves, you see that the stock has changed considerably since the last time you were here. You note the following items that could be useful for individuals in your line of work:

Potion of Invulnerability.....250 gp (OOC: +2 to saves; -2 to enemy's attack roll)
Potion of Fire Resistance.....250 gp (OOC: +2 to saves vs. fire; if no save allowed, half damage from fire)
Potion of Cure Light Wounds...200 gp (OOC: cures 1d6+1 hp)
Returning Throwing Dagger....150 gp (OOC: no bonus, but returns to throwers hand after each shot; ROF = 1)
Borland's Shield.....500 g.p. (OOC: Shield +1 to AC)
Hagar's Short Sword....500 g.p. (OOC: Short Sword +1 to hit/damage)
Rope of Climbing....1000 g.p. (OOC: leaps upward, ties and unties on command)
Ruger's Perfect Arrow.....250 g.p. each (OOC: only one use each; automatically hits the target and does double max damage; Cosmo has four in his stock)
Apprentice's Ring of Spell Storing.....300 g.p. (OOC: grants M-U one additional spell slot per day) Losenges of Healing (Wild Cherry).....50 g.p. each (OOC: heals 1 hp; Cosmo has four of these)

After looking around and deciding what you do or don't want, you conclude your business for the evening with Cosmo, who sends you off with a cheerful farewell.


As darkness begins to fall, you return to the Red Tankard. When you enter the inn, the place seems a bit more crowded as travelers have arrived to spend the night, and the local townsfolk drink and talk. You barely get inside the door before you see a familiar face – it's Filbert.

The halfling jumps up and waves to you from across the room. "Hallo! Sadie and Sal told me you were back in town. Earlier than I expected too!"

Seeing Filbert's enthusiastic greeting, Oloc suggests quietly to the rest of you: "Blackwell Keep, anyone?"


OOC: Actions? If you wished to buy anything from Cosmo, just let me know and we'll say you bought it while you were there. Simply tell me, subtract the g.p. and add it to your sheet.

Depending on whether or not you use magical healing to bring Varros back up to full hp, you may need to spend time in town to heal him up; Oloc may or may not want to spend some time copying the new scroll; Varros and Duran may want to spend time training, etc. Just let me now what you want to do. 

Note that for healing, any "light" activity like running errands, buying gear, etc. is considered "rest," allowing healing to take place. More rigorous activities (like martial training) do not count as rest and no healing takes place on a day when such activity occurs. So Varros (and anyone else who was down any hp) just healed 1 h.p. today.

Recovery of h.p. is at a rate of 1 per day of rest, unless magic is used.

If you want to buy specific pieces of equipment, just say so, subtract the g.p. and it's yours. Anything in the rulebook is available at price in town.

If you want to talk to Cosmo again, or the Abbot, the Mayor, Belloc, just let me know who you want to speak with and about what. Remember too, that you did hear tell of a Sage named Bede (see NPC page) who might know things that might relate to activities you wish to undertake (though you'd have to travel out to see him). 

Finally, here is the rundown on the new items you acquired/identified in this post:

"Protection from Chaos" Scroll (Magic-User version; chaotic creatures attacking M-U get -1 to hit, and M-U gets +1 to saves)

"Medallion of the Righteous" (given to Gaven for contribution to church; provides +1 bonus to AC vs. undead)

"Distillate of Bezoar" (pale green liquid Gaven had ID'd by Cosmo; cures any poison if taken quickly before death occurs)

Make sure you've made notes of these things on your sheet (along with whatever advantage they give you).