Friday, July 15, 2016

Session LXXXIII: Irritable Balrog Syndrome

Continuing our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Torvin Fulvousmith (Dwarf)
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)
Sir Gwain (Paladin) 
Su (Cleric)

NPCs
Fermina (fighter)
Biggs (Henchman)
Liedrada (Magic-user)
Veleda (Halfling)
Antiope (thief)
Gimp the Imp

Standing at the edge of the clearing before the vanquished wizard's tower, the party spied a lone armored figure approaching the entrance. Calling out to him, Wang, Thenus and Centari discovered that it was Su the priest of Istar (last seen in session 74).  Su had been through Berkinstok and was pointed in this direction to aid the party with the Red Wizard.  However, the Red Wizard had been killed but a Balrog had taken over the tower and the party had set out to destroy it and retake the tower.

The party marched into the tower and after some attempts to gain some of the armor in the armory the proceeded up the stairs and into the former wizard's chamber where they found the demon had taken over and decorated it in his hellish glory.

The party wasted no time in charging in and battling the demon.  Suddenly, from a side door, three Wights burst in, two of which appeared as their missing companions Skwanky and Minimus.  Su forced these three undead back and up to the top level of the tower while the party defeated the demon.

Heading up stairs to hunt down the Wights, the party discovered that it was Gimp the Imp that activated the hellish portal allowing to demon to pass through as a gift for his new master Centari.  That was the final straw for the party and they killed the Imp.  Their next task was shutting down the hellish portal.  They tracked down the Wights and put their souls to rest.  This happened in a chamber of mirrors that also appeard to be portals of some kind.  After much debate and trial and error it was discovered that by breaking the mirrors the portal to Hell would close which is what they did, but only after they tossed Skwanky's dismembered body into it.

With the demon defeated and the main tower cleared of the Red Wizard's influence, there was much celebration in the forest with the elves of Grimmwood.  Minimus' body was burried in the makeshift cemetary that had been started for their fallen comrades near the tower.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Session LXXXII: Organ Grinders

Continuing our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Torvin Fulvousmith (Dwarf)
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)
Sir Gwain (Paladin)

NPCs
Fermina (fighter)
Biggs (Henchman)
Liedrada (Magic-user)
Veleda (Halfling)
Antiope (thief)

Spending the first couple of days in the tower, recovering from wounds and smoking the fine tobacco and drinking the fine wine and ale left by the Wizard, initially puts some of the party at ease.  Evenings, however, had proven troublesome as they all continued returning to the same hellish dreams of fire and torture which became more intense as the nights went by.  In fact, it became so bad that one by one, each of the party eventually moved to the edge of the forest and set up a permanent camp only returning to the tower during the day.  The only ones that didn't seem affected by the tower, and in fact, spent most of their time obsessively going through the library and studying was Centari and Gimp the Imp.

It was two weeks into their stay at the tower then Sir Gwain, a paladin of Mithra rode up to the camp on his horse. The priests in Berkenstok sent him to aid the party.  Chatting with the party on the main floor of the tower, Sir Gwain spied the armory room with the untouched armor.  Being in need of stronger armor and ignoring the lingering odor of mold, Sir Gwain, followed by the laughing half-orc Arg, tried to take the armor but an explosion of poisonous Yellow Mold puts a quick end to Sir Gwain's quest for armor... no wait, hold on, scratch that.... The party avoided* all talk of the armory and instead discussed exploring the wizard's tower, which they voted on NOT doing due to the deadly traps they had run into previous.

So they packed up their gear and headed out towards Larm to gather an army of heroes to fight this dragon!

The first day bushwhacking through the Grimmwood found Sir Gwain, Fermina and Antiope became enchanted by some mystical song floating on the air. At first the rest of the party tried to subdue their companions from walking off into the woods but soon then let them lead the way to the source - the source being.  Three Wood-nymphs were trying to ensnare some protectors but as soon as they saw the party approach, they quickly disappeared into surrounding forest.

By the next day, however, Thenus felt that the party was being watched and they all prepared to protect themselves. Within their protected circle and elven arrow flew and landed in the exact center.  The Perenth elves of Grimmwood had surrounded the party.  The elves had been spying on the party for a couple of weeks ever since they had fought a goblin raiding party in the woods.  They watched as they fought the wizard and took over the tower.  But now, the elves say, that the party had unleased something far worse in the tower as a winged and flaming demon had been seen upon the rooftop.  The elves felt that the party was responsible and that they should be the ones to deal with cleaning the spoil in their wood.

The elves led the party to their village and to their leader K'saeya who, even with a very strong argument of equality by Thenus, forbade the Half-orc, dwarf and Halfling from entering her village.

K'saeya gave the party the task of ridding the tower and her wood of the demon. So the next morning the party gathered and marched back to the tower to face the Balrog!

*So, we had a bit of a Retcon this session.  The new PC, Sir Gwain the Paladin was a replacement for the demised Minimus.  However, less than 20 minutes into the session, on Sir Gwain's very first roll - a save or die, he died.  Oh, it was a big laugh at the table and quite memorable as he fell to explosive Yellow Mold to gain a magical Plate armor.  He even beat out the shortest lived character who, at least made it through almost a complete session.  So after our big laugh we rolled things back for a redo with the armor being completely avoided.  Now this is something that I don't normally do but considering how the character only lasted 20  minutes and died on his first roll I thought we'd just roll it back and move on - but not without any consequence and that is where the Demon comes in.  Now the Balrog is part of the adventure but to trigger his appearance is pretty tough.  I just brought him in as another obstacle for the players to deal with in 'payment' of a RetCon.  I've only done this once before when I overloaded the encounter and had a pretty quick TPK back in session 61. and worked the RetCon into quite the campaign adventure as the characters had to right an altered universe - which they did with much trial and tribulation.  This incedent wasn't as drastic so I rolled with it and just added an unexpected challenge for them to deal with.  We'll see how it plays out next session as the players would have happily avoided the upcoming encounter!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Session LXXXI: That Deaf, Dumb and Blind Orc

Continuing our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Torvin Fulvousmith (Dwarf)
Minimus (Cleric)
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Skwanky (Halfling)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc) 

NPCs
Fermina (fighter)
Biggs (Henchman)
Liedrada (Magic-user)
Veleda (Halfling)
Antiope (thief)

With the hulking half-orc, Arg, under the influence of the evil Red Wizard, Minimus the Cleric defended the narrow stairway allowing his companions to retreat and regroup on the second floor of the wizard's tower.  Minimus lead the charmed half-orc into the chamber where Centari was ready with another charm spell to try to win over his ally but in freeing Arg from the influence of the sorcerer, Arg's mind became fried due to it being the battleground for two magic-users and he fell into a useless state of being deaf, blind and dumb.

With one threat neutralized, the party turned their attention to the wizard, who, by this time, had buffed himself up pretty well.  Being invisible and undetectable, the wizard tossed a magical rope of entanglement at the party and ensnared the entire group! Now helpless before the wizard the party seemed doomed.

Centari, using his magic sword Mindshiv, tried to telepathically communicate with the deaf, blind and dumb half-orc and was able to get him to lash out at the wizard but to no avail.  After a second attempt at this, the wizard incapacitates the helpless Half-orc.

Moving in to make slaves of the party, the Red Wizard didn't notice that Biggs, Veleda and Antiope have made their way into the tower to aid their friends after having seen them fight with the wizard outside the tower and retreat back into the Wizard's sanctuary.

Again, telepathically speaking through Mindshiv, Centari tells the rescuers the potential whereabouts of the wizard and they attack.  The wizard used his magic staff to defend himself causing great bodily harm to the remaining party but, with everyone near death, Biggs finally slayed the wizard!

The very much relieved and battered party licked their wounds and rested and recovered from their ordeal.

After some well earned rest, the strongest members of the party continued to cautiously explore the wizard's tower.  They returned to the wizards bedroom and discovered his spellbook and some other trinkets and a locked wardrobe with the magical writing "Open to the Master.  Skwanky immediately tried to open the door and disappeared!

Minimus the cleric came up with the idea to take the wizard's severed arm and to try to use it to open the wardrobe, but in his attempt, he too disappears.

Leaving the halfling and cleric to their fate, the party continued up the stairs to another more darkly magical level of the tower.  The came into a chamber with three alcoves filled with crackling magical writing which had an unmistakable evil energy to it.  This they avoided and headed to another chamber with a large pool of water.  Within the water they spied a scene of gold and treasure and giant red scales which lead to an enormous Dragon head whose eye snapped open and spied the party observing him through the pool.  With a wrathful roar that filled the tower itself, the image in the pool disappeared!

Exploring one final chamber on this level they found three mirrors that swirled with smoke and appeared to be gateways to some otherworldly realm.

Freaked out by that entire level they made their way to the roof and discovered a telescope pointed to the smouldering mountains far to the north. The lair of the dragon, perhaps?

Heading back down to the main levels more rooms were explored and the wizard's laboratory was discovered along with his journal that uncovered his discontent being a slave to the dragon and having to do his bidding and that the dragon was planning on taking over the entire land.

In a library they found an Imp named Gimp who became Centari's servant.

Overall they were all weirded out by the magical and dangerous tower and they all thought it best to sleep outdoors.  Except for Centari.  He stayed inside studying in the library with Gimp the Imp.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Session LXXX: Don't Mess With The Red Wizard

Continuing our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Torvin Fulvousmith (Dwarf)
Minimus (Cleric)
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Skwanky (Halfling)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)  Biggs (Henchman)

NPCs
Fermina (fighter)
Liedrada (Magic-user)
Alar (Elf)
Veleda (Halfling)
Antiope (thief)

Entering deeper into Gimmwood in search for the tower of the Red Wizard, the party felt the oppressive vibe of the forest. Travel was easy, though, with the map that they had recovered from the Red Wizard's henchman back in the Were-Rat caves and, lead by Thenus the Ranger, good progress was made.

In the early morning hours of the third day, their nightly watches spotted a war-band of goblins and hobgoblins, lead by a Bugbear, sniffing around the trail. Rousing the other members of the party, they set an ambush and with a blast of lightening from Centari, destroyed the raiding party.

On the fifth day they arrived at the clearing where stood the Red Wizard's tower which looked abandoned.  Leaving some of the party and horses in the edge of the wood, Torvin and Wang explored around the perimeter of the tower looking for a secret entrance fearing that the front door, enhanced with magic, was trapped.  Thenus and Wolf searched the woods for some hidden passage that would lead to the tower while Centari contemplated how to get beyond the enchanted door.  With no other options but the front door, Centari dispelled all magic surrounding it, the door was kicked in and the party entered.

Walking down a long narrow hall, Wolf was attacked through murder holes in the passage by invisible foes.  Hurrying down the hall and into a plush chamber with floating candles, the party prepared themselves for battle as doors within the chamber opened and their Invisible Stalkers attacked.  Thenus was able to fire an arrow into one of the magical creatures that helped the party hunt it down but not before Wang fell dead.  Wolf and Minimus pulled one of the tapestries off the wall and tried to cover the invisible creature.  After a couple of attempts, they succeed and the party was able to kill the fiend.

Licking their wounds, they explore some of the rooms off the main chamber and find an armory.  Minimus only take some of the choice weapons out of there.  Beyond another door, Centari found a stone golem waiting to be activated.  Avoiding all of this, they headed up a flight of stairs into another plush parlor with fine tapestries and an ornate chess board.

Wary of the chess board and thinking it might be a good idea for reinforcements after Wang's death, the party descended and left the tower for the woods and their friends.  This proved to be a fatal error as the Red Wizard happened to be standing upon the roof of the tower and spied the armed intruders leaving his abode.  After a shouted warning, the wizard sent down a fireball to wipe out the party. With the party scattered like ashes and badly wounded, some rushed back into the tower lead by Arg while Minimus and Centari battled the wizard with spells flying.

With the spell-casters not making much headway, the Red Wizard ducked back into the tower while Minimus and Centari rushed back into the tower with their friends.  It was soon decided to throw caution to the wind and storm up the stairs to find the wizard.

On the third floor they came to a magically locked door.  Liedrada, using her ESP learned that he Red Wizard was beyond the door waiting for them.  When the party tried to open the door, a hidden chamber opened and out stepped a Flesh Golem.  Minimus and Arg fought the creature until it lay dead.  A plan was formed that Arg, the party's most powerful warrior, would be cast in a sphere of silence, and, after, Centari would dispell the magically locked door, Arg would rush in and trap the wizard in silence while the others rushed in to attack.  This was a fine plan but, unbeknownst to them, the Red Wizard was reading their thought and prepared his defense.

After Centari freed the door, Arg kicked it open but the Red Wizard enchanted the mighty warrior who became a slave.  The Wizard sent the powerful Arg against his former teammates and he rushed down the stairs at them...



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Session LXXIX: One Dragon? Two Dragons? Who's Counting?

Continuing our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Torvin Fulvousmith (Dwarf)
Minimus (Cleric)
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Skwanky (Halfling)
Biggs (Henchman)

With a quick resurrection spell, Minimus raised (the un-killable) Skwanky from the dead, who, in addition to being quite pale due to his run in with the Soul Gem, is also charred black from the Centari's fireball attack as well as being a were-rat having been struck by a poison needle.

With the party all together once again and the were-rat's defeated and destroyed, they continued to explore the throne room of the still sizzling Rat-King.  Finding his bedchamber they also found an unlocked heavy oak chest.  After assuring everyone that the chest wasn't trapped, Wang Du opened the chest which exploded a puff of poison gas.  As everyone dove for cover, the Dwarf, who was occupied with the stonework of the chamber fell dead.  

After letting the chamber air out, it was thought best to rest for the night and head back to town in the morning, against the wishes of Wang Du who wanted to continue to explore the rest of the tunnels.  

With the party refreshed, Miniumus healed the wounded and brought the dead dwarf, Torvin, back to life.  

Making their back way though the tunnels and back to their camp in the hills, they find a tied and beat-up Biggs who was left as a message from the ogres that the party had beaten up a few nights prior.  With their horses taken by the Ogres, the party used their raft to float victoriously back to Berkenstok.

The town is quite thrilled to have their drinking supply safe once again but there is concern that there is more afoot than appears.  However, the celebration is cut short over at the Hackyshack Inn when the party finds that another group of adventurers had explored Xlarthan's ruins, fought a dragon and returned with treasure and the magical Soul Gem!


There was much debate over the truth of this tale as our party, in the explorations in Xlarthan's ruins, had discovered not one but two dragons within the depths.  It was there that Skwanky had given the dragons the Soul Gem.  The new group insisted that they had fought only one dragon.  Wang Du laughed and insisted that there were two dragons and that the one living dragon will come to town and seek vengeance upon the town. This, of course, frightens the townsfolk, but the rival party insisted that there was only a single dragon.  This went on and almost came to blows but eventually it was put to rest with a wait and see attitude.  However, the argument then shifted as to who owned the Soul Gem.  Skwanky felt it was theirs since his friends were trapped inside while the rival party claimed it as they had found it after slaying a dragon.  It was decided to have the local wizard, Mystor, try to free Skwanky's friends and then afterwards, the rival party would keep the gem for themselves.

After a week of rest and recovery and wizardly research, Mystor had successfully freed Arg the half-orc, Wolfheir the Viking, and Torvin the cleric of the Black Church (who have been trapped in the Soul Gem since session 59)

Minimus, follower of Mithra, wished not to travel with Torvin of the Black Church as the two sects are currently at war with each other over the death of Baron Blackmore.  Minimus captures Torvin and throws him in the dungeon beneath the Berkenstok's church.

With their old friends back and the rival party their new friends, Mystor and Mayor Tubbutter talked with the party about dealing with the Red Wizard in the Grimmwood.  It was decided that the Red Wizard must be confronted for his attack on the town and that the two parties would unite to accomplish this.

The next day, the the last horses that the town could offer up, the extended party left Berkenstok, crossed the River Blackmore and entered the Grimm Hills seeking the Red Wizard.  The first night of their journey didn't go as planned as they were waylaid by  large party of roving bandits.  However, this proved fatal to the bandits as the veteran warriors of the party literally made mincemeat of those brigands before they even had a chance to retreat back into the darkness. 

The rest of the night proved peaceful and the next morning the party left the hills and entered the Grimmwood...



Friday, April 1, 2016

Session LXXVIII: Rat-Man Down

Current Player Characters:
Torvin Fulvousmith (Dwarf)
Minimus (Cleric)
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Skwanky (Halfling)
Biggs (Henchman)

With the entire party floating into the dark cave on a raft of their own construction, they came into a depressed pool in the center of a very large cavern.  With various members taking turns peering over the rim and into the cave, it was Wang Du who spotted a large rat-like creature that ran off down a tunnel. 

With the coast clear, the party decided to follow the creature down one of the many tunnels exiting from the large cavern.  Thenus, tracked the creature through the dark tunnels and eventually up various natural 'stairs' including passing a deep stinking pit with a gurgling sound emanating from it's depths.  It was here that Thenus discovered that the tracks changed from large rodent-like to more human.  Hmm, were-rats perhaps?

Continuing up the stairs, the party found themselves at a dead end, and, Centari, searching for a secret door, discovered it.

Opening the stone door, the party entered into a type of torture chamber which they deduced was recently vacated due to the fact of an unfinished game of cards on a table. But upon exploring the horrific chamber, Thenus shouted out a warning and helped avoid an ambush from three hidden wererats! With a quick battle the lycanthropes were destroyed.

Listening to a wooden door, Wang heard hushed voices.  Skwanky opened the door but received a pinprick that apparently had no ill affect on the halfling - or so it seemed.  In the large chamber beyond were more wererats, a few giant rats and a cleric of the Black Church!  With arrows and swords flashing, the rats were dispatched as were two of the were-creatures but one had escaped through a far doorway.  As for the evil cleric, he was bewitched and under the control of Centari!  Questioning the cleric, it is discovered that somewhere within these tunnels ruled a Rat-King who was working for a mysterious Red Wizard who lived in a distant tower in the Grimmwood.  The Cleric was but a messenger between the Red Wizard and the Rat-King who was under orders from the wizard to poison the village of Berkenstok for some darker unknown purpose. 

While the questioning was going on, Skwanky the halfling went pale and suddenly turned into a were-rat (due to the pin-prick at the door)!  He hissed at his former friends and rushed out the far door. 

With the questioning of the cleric complete, he was promptly murdered.

The party decided to go after Skwanky to try and save him and followed his path outside the door, down a short hall and to the entrance to a larger chamber.  Feeling that their presence was known and that they were looking at an ambush, the party burst through the door.  Beyond was a grotesque chamber painted in blood with scenes of were-rats eating humans and worshiping a giant rat-god.  More of a concern, however, were the 50 crawling giant rats, the larger were-rat guards and a hulking Rat-king who quickly downed a potion and disappeared! But as the creatures rushed towards the door, Centari raised his hands, uttered some magic words and from his finger, a tiny spark flew which grew and grew until it engulfed the cursed hall in an explosive ball of flame!

With all the rat creatures dead and smouldering and the hulking Rat-king on the floor sizzling like bacon, the only one left standing from that barrage was Skwanky the were-rat, now blacked and burnt, who rushed his former compatriots!  Wang Du stepped up and, with some mystical hand-kick-hand-finger combo, laid poor Skwanky onto the floor dead!

The party pondered their next move....


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Marvel Value Stamp

Yes, still working on these...
More Value Stamps here and more to come...

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