Monday, April 30, 2012

The Heroes of Weaverham: Being the Recounting of Their First Adventure

The morning rose clear and already a bit too hot on the day that the Heroes of Weaverham sauntered forth with the intention of ridding Gullifurd's Path of the brute that had been disrupting traders and causing no small amount of missing livestock in the neighboring farms.

Counted in their number:

Beefsteak Piledriver, doughty dwarf
Mulch Woodtwig, of the Aspleaf Woodtwigs
Father Guinness, leader of the Braumeister's faithful
the mysterious wizard known only as "Brains", as well as his hired followers:
            - Werner, of strong back and tired feet
            - Nyx, who was sired by a pig
            - and Ursula, a typical Stavrovian in that she is sharp-tongued and skilled with the bow

Our heroes, after traveling some hours and nearing the area that the beast was reported to frequent, decided to deploy Nyx as a "scout", a role that was described to him as consisting of walking 50 feet of everybody else and singing loudly, a role he proved to be born for. Eventually the remains of a destroyed caravan was found and here Mulch took over, his keen elven eyes picking up the tracks of a mighty humanoid, as well as many furrows indicating that some large bulky objects had been dragged along the ground.

Said tracks eventually terminated in a small valley in the foothills, featuring a rock wall and a large opening therein, from which uttered a most effluvious scent, as if of a charnel-house. After some short discussion, it was decided that Nyx should again sing. At this, the brute emerged from the cave, a 10-foot tall yellow hulk of what might described as a man in the most fevered imaginations of a poppy-smoking, lotus-eating wreck, clothed only in a greasy shift of cloth and carrying a great club, banded with iron.

Battle was joined as Nyx and the ogre rushed forth at each other, the remaining Heroes letting loose with arrows or exchanging bets on the ensuing physical combat. Curses were uttered as a single blow of the mighty club crushed Nyx's skull and the beast lurched forward at the group, with Beefsteak now rushing to meet him. Things finally started going well for our Heroes when the giant lost his grip on the club, flinging it deep into the valley and forcing him to rely on his fists. However, the threat was still dire and Father Guinness was forced to reinforce Beefsteak in the wild melee, with the archers still able to pick out their foe above the others due to his great height. A fortuitous laying of hands and ale by Father Guinness saved Beefsteak from being bludgeoned to death and as things appeared to be heading toward an early grave for at least one more of the Heroes, a wild swing of Guinness's mace and a well-aimed shaft from Ursula downed the beast.

Werner, who had wisely taken cover in a neighboring copse during combat, was tasked to dig Nyx's grave while the rest of the group took it upon themselves to investigate the cave. Finding a great pile of bones and rotted flesh, as well as a large cloud of insects, the party was able to further discover several great sacks of coin as well as the fact that no-one had remembered to purchase flint and steel, meaning that further exploration of the cave as it extended further would have to be left for another time.

Instead, the Heroes contented themselves with saying a few words (and pouring some special brew) on Nyx's final resting place before heading back to town bearing their trophy, the still-dripping head of the Bane of Gullifurd's Path. Huzzah!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting the Gang Back Together

One of the former members of our gaming group moved to Japan a couple years back, which acted as a breakpoint between various RPG campaigns. While he's generally enjoying himself over across the Pacific, there is a lack of polyhedral dice in his life, so when he noted that he'd be in town for a few days next month, I brought up the idea of playing a game and he, naturally, was receptive to the idea.

Since he doesn't have a character in either of the main campaigns we have (the Fenrecz campaign, in which everybody is still stuck in a ghost-dream-time-loop and a Type 3.5 campaign in which I believe we are in some underground caverns having just caused a major cave-in with the hopeful end result of a giant underground flood wave flushing out a yuan-ti hideout), I decided the best thing to be done was to set up the framework for a troupe-based Labyrinth Lord game.

In preparation for this, I had the other available members of the group sit down and create three characters each, using the following criteria: 3D6 in order; after which, the player can decide, if the player meets the requirements, whether they want to play as a demihuman. Should they either not meet any requirements or the player decides to play a human, then the stats can be rearranged. The theory was that this would 1. make humans more desirable and 2. make demihumans rarer.

The final total, was, for 12 characters: 2 fighters, 1 dwarf, 1 magic-user, 2 elves, 2 thieves, 2 halflings, 2 clerics. So, 7 humans and 5 demi-humans, with a number of the humans qualifying for demihuman status and the player deciding that it would fit better with their character idea to move some of the stats around. The clear biases of the group of players came through in the lack of pure magic-users, who are always poorly represented (in Fenrecz, the only "wizard"-y type is the player who's the DM for the Type 3.5 game, where the player who is the sociopathic halfling thief in Fenrecz is a sociopathic necromancer with an unfortunate habit of having missile weapons hit the donkey carrying his mobile laboratory*). Highest stat was 17 (Int for one of the Elves) and the lowest was 5 (Charisma for one of the Clerics, who also has a 6 Intelligence and whose "high" stats are 12 and 10. His name thus far is Father Lump of the Three-Legged Horse).

I wanted multiple characters per person because I'd like to have a campaign where we have a lot of flexibility in terms of who can show up from week to week. If we have only two people, they can run two of their characters. If people are off investigating the Dungeons of the Red Queen and we have to break off at the end of the session and next week we have a different group of players, they can grab some other characters and go somewhere else. And of course with the general durability of 1st level LL characters (I did make the allowance of maximum HP for level 1), it's always nice to have backups.

* - My character in that campaign, Al-Wedjat of the All-Seeing Eye, was intended to be a soothseer-type with the intention of being a Divination specialist. After reading through the PHB and various Type  Three splatbooks, it became apparent that if you want to do divining, you're really better off going with a cleric, which makes no sense to me; however, that's pretty much true of all the specialist wizards in Type Three, which is too bad, because it always seems like a good row to hoe.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rumor Table for Weaverham

Weaverham is a small town nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Spine mountain range. Sitting on the junction of two major trade routes, the North-South Spinal Trail and the East-West Gullifurd's Path, it has a small number of outlying farms and a decent amount of businesses and residences clustered around the crossroads. Any basic goods and services should be expected to be available. Those cooling their heels in any of the bars of Weaverham (The Old Mill (mostly laborers), The Red Queen (landowners, other elites), Weaverham Arms (well-to-do travelers), Grange Hall (travelers who can pay)) will be talking about, aside from other things, certain subjects that might be interesting to potential adventurers in the area.

1. If you journey due north into the deep woods for a day and a half, you will find a small pond that doesn't ice over in winter or dry up in summer. A beautiful nude woman has been seen multiple times in this area, although nobody has been able to talk to or catch her. TRUE
2. The owner of the Weaverham Arms, Stanley Dimsdale, has a series of cells built underneath his Inn where he keeps a stable of youths who fell into his nefarious clutches while travelling alone. FALSE
3. The animals of the surrounding wood have gone mad, led by an insane druid, they desire to destroy the town of Weaverham and consume all the salted fish in the land. They meet to plot underneath the New Bridge north of the town and can be infiltrated with a clever enough disguise. FALSE
4. A group of bandits has been hitting caravans and other unlucky travelers along a stretch of the Spine Trail south of town. TRUE
5. The Red Queen is named after an ancient monarch who earned her name through the various bloodthirsty religious rites inflicted on her unfortunate prisoners before the peasantry arose and burned her keep. The remains of the castle donjon still stand in the forest northwest of the town and supposedly the lower areas have never been explored due to the unnerving feeling that affects all who come near. TRUE
6. A stone idol with a great sacrificial bowl stained with dried blood lies in a small gully southwest of the town. Cultists gather here to sacrifice unfortunates to Demons. FALSE (There is an altar in this area; however, it's been unused for years and the bowl is full of stagnant rain water, which hosts a couple gnarly worm-pupae things)
7. Gullifurd's Path is named after the famed explorer, Gullifurd the Gold, famed for his obsession with finding new sources of the precious metal. Although Gullifurd was the first man to find a route across the Smoky Spine, he returned to the mountains again and again. The last time Gullifurd was ever seen was heading West from Weaverham on the road that bears his name, meaning that his remains and his possessions are most probably somewhere in the mountains. TRUE
8. Father Nireni has a magical mirror in the basement of Old Weaver Kirk that allows you to travel great distances by stepping into it, including inter-dimensionally. His price for using it involves various unnatural acts. He will deny knowledge of this artifact unless you give the secret passphrase. FALSE
9. The inhabitants of neighboring Hay Bale have been acting extremely strangely lately -- visitors to the town recount hearing a horn blast as they approached, followed by all of the buildings being shut and shuttered with the occupants silently staring from within. Domestic animals have also been found wandering free in the woods, clearly disturbed. TRUE
10. Cows have been disappearing from the farms west of town -- one of the farmer's sons reported seeing a giant figure moving through the fields at night. A caravan guard also told a tale of being ambushed by a giant rock-dwelling humanoid not far out of town, headed west on Gullifurd's Path. Sounds like we got an ogre on our hands mmm hmm, mmm hmm. 'M sure the mayor could be convinced to cough up some coin if that problem were to be dealt with, hrmrmm. TRUE