Friday, June 25, 2010

Session XVI: The Hazards Of City Living

The Cloven Hoof tavern was filled with more than it's usual share of minstrels, exotic dancers, wharf workers and men preparing to travel to Morganville to help rebuild the town after it's destruction by the Dragon Medora and Sir Fumark the Foul! And it was here, in this favored tavern, where we found our foolhardy adventures.

Skwanky, celebrating how good it is to be alive, was on his third meal of the evening. Wolfheir was looking for a curvy companion to share the evening with. Tibag was, as usual, outside sitting atop his tree.

The rest of the party spent the night drinking and carousing which would lead to many-a trouble ahead!

Slick Vinny noticed a scholarly gentleman walking across the tavern. This man glanced at Vinny and gave him a secret sign with his hands. Vinny, glanced away embarrassed recalling but not remembering his interactions with the Crafty Mage Society.

Geedleesmote the dwarf observed two rough looking men keeping an eye on him. Thinking that these ruffians might be part of the Brotherhood of the Black Hand he planned to set a trap for them.

About this time, Gnarly along with Slick Vinny and Adara left the Cloven Hoof, quite intoxicated and on the quest for more!

Geedlee, acting more tipsy that he really was, left the tavern and walked down an alleyway. He is followed by the two ruffians who were joined by a third. As they slowly approached the dwarf a sound from behind them attracted their attention. It was Tibag who charged the thugs. The dwarf too, rushed forward and droped his axe into the back of his would be assailant. The thug, caught by surprise turned around with the axe stuck in his back ripping it out of the hands of the dwarf. He then lunged with his sword sinking it deep into the dwarf's flesh! Meanwhile Tibag dispatched one victim and decapitated the other. The head flew through the air and as Geedleesmote tried to tackle his attacker he triped on the rolling head and tumbled to the ground. The Thug raised his sword for a death blow but Tibag ran him through.

Geedlee marked the bodies with a custom stone hammer embossed with a hand which left an impression on the bodies. Tibag and the Dwarf then proceed to quietly dispose of the bodies along the wharf.

The next morning as the companions regrouped in the Cloven Hoof common room with Skwanky, who was already on is second breakfast, they found that three of their company had not returned from the night before! As they proceeded to seek them out, stumbling through the door were Slick Vinny and Gnarly, stripped of all of their possessions and most of their clothing, quite bloodied and beat-up. Obviously beaten and robbed, the two have no memory of what transpired the night before. The last they remembered was getting separated from Adara and ending up at The Green Dragon Inn across town.

They all begin to retrace the steps of their companions when they ran into Adara looking no worse for wear. She was as drunk as her two companions if not more so before they had separated. Adara vaguely remembered being so painfully intoxicated and sick (and quite possibly in some uncompromising position) that she had prayed to the gods and offered to do anything they asked of her if they could get her through this moment of over-indulgence. Apparently, someone was listening…

So heading over to The Green Dragon Inn, the party attempted to retrace the steps of their two companions and try to recover their stolen items. But after questioning the bar-keep who laughed them out of the tavern (Skwanky picked up some breakfast to go) they had no clues to follow.

Not discouraged, they continued their search and stopped at the Rolled Scroll seeking Vinny's stolen magic parchments. Again a dead end. The shop-keep directed them to the west district of town where they may be able to find some more illicit wares.

Heading over to the west district the party found a wild street bizarre with vendors selling all manner of junk, oddities, and pleasures though perhaps a bit wicked. They fanned out seeking shops and sellers that may perhaps be reselling their stolen items. Wolfheir questioned a harlot on the street but she didn't offer up any information unless the Viking 'payed' for it. So upstairs he went to take one for the team!

Slick Vinny found a shop that sold magic scrolls and other 'magical' curiosities, but alas, his stolen parchments were not available. He asks the shop-keep, Varino if he can dig up couple of Magic Missile scrolls. He says he'll see what he can do and to come back later that afternoon.

Gnarly discovered a shop selling exotic incense. Asking Sean the proprietor if he has some Yellow Lotus (a former item of the natural living Druid), Sean says no but he has some Purple Lotus for sale. Gnarly decided to check back with him later to see if he can procure some of the Yellow powder.

Wolf came down with the name of the man that may sell magic items and that name was Varino, the same person whom Vinny has already chatted with.

As they wait for the afternoon to roll around, the party meandered around the bizarre. Adara almost had her purse snatched but the culprit had disappeared into the crowd. Tibag thought about lifting some merchandise but decided against it.

Later, Vinny returned to Varino's shop and lo, Varino was able to obtain one other scroll of Magic Missile. Looking at the scroll, Vinny found that it was indeed his handwriting. Vinny cast an enchantment on Varino who ended up offering Vinny the scrolls at no cost and even the name of his 'supplier', Nails.

Gnarly returned to Sean who had no luck obtaining his Yellow Lotus but again offered his Purple Lotus.

So the party sought this one-eyed Nails and found him hanging out in an alley with a number of tough-guys. Slick Vinny called Nails over who sent one of his henchmen in his place who basically told the mage to Piss Off! But Vinny persisted and eventually Nails and another henchman came over.

Vinny offered Nails some magic items that he inherited from his 'uncle' and that if he wanted it to accompany Vinny to this particular house. Nails laughed at that and walked back down the alley leaving the two henchmen to stare down Vinny. It was here that Vinny tried to cast his last enchantment on Nails but the Henchmen, saw what he was up to, clocked the mage in the face who went down unconscious. As the thug attempted to pilfer any remaining items from Vinny, Skwanky, Gnarly, Wolfheir and Tibag charged the men who immediately took off down the alley with Nails and the other bruisers. Adara followed with her bow while Geedleee tended to Vinny, picked him up and slowly followed along.

Nails and the Thugs tryed to loose their pursuers but to no avail. Eventually they lead the party into a dead end and a battle ensued with crossbow snipers on the roof-top. Wolf and Tibag made quick work of the bruisers but Gnarly is wounded badly in the melee and retreated from the courtyard. Tibag tried to climb one of the walls to get to two of the cross-bow men but slipped and fell. Adara fired with her bow killing one of the marksmen who fell off the roof into the courtyard dead. Wolfheir and Skwanky closing in on Nail kills him just as Tibag made it to the rooftop as the two remaining marksmen retreated through a trap door in the roof.

Searching Nails they found a ring, some coins, a gold neckless and an iron key. The key did not open up any of the doors in the courtyard, however. Searching the bodies it is confirmed that they all were members of the Brotherhood of the Blackhand.

Geedlee marked the bodies with a custom stone hammer embossed with a hand.

The party rushed out of the district....

The beaten and bloody companions return to the Cloven Hoof….

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Robert E. Howard

My friend Mike (MilkManX) turned me on to this very interesting interview with one of the last known acquaintances of REH. Thought some of you might enjoy this if you haven't seen it yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pirates, Treasures and Danger

Some of you may remember this from waaaay back. Danger Island! A pretty awesome live action installment that was part of the Banana Splits show. From the credit sequence you might think it's Party Island with everyone flying around, swinging on vines and throwing coconuts around but there was true danger from pirates, cannibal natives and a deserted island. The violence and dark themes (and there are both) are handled with finesse and light-heartedness as should be in a children's fantasy show thanks to director Richard Donnor. Yes, that Richard Donnor director of such films as The Omen, Superman I & II, The Goonies and countless others.

So strap yourselves in for Danger Island! Uh-Oh, Chango!

Monday, June 21, 2010

1st In Games

So I've been out walking the dog around our neighborhood and down this one street is an old beat-up family wagon possibly from the 60's. Inside the back bed of this vehicle, piled high, are board games from the 60's and 70's. I not talking about Monopoly or Clue but I'm seeing classic versions of Risk, some weird Football games, just all kinds of odd yet interesting stuff. Having just a bit of interest in games I saw some potential there.

So this weekend I'm walking the dog down that same street and I see this gristled old man with a long white beard carrying a couple of games and looking in the back of his wagon. I see my opportunity so I waved and walked up.

I ask him about his games. He says he sells old games online. Hmm, what are the odds. So I toss it out there.

"Any classic D&D items. Old stuff from the 70's" I says.
"Sure for a couple hundred dollars" says he.

Well, at least he seemed to know what I was talking about.

It turns out he has an online store called 1st In Games where he sells all these old games and other items, but mostly games. The site is a little primitive but there were some interesting items from Avalon Hill and a few notable items from TSR from back in the day.

So I'm passing this on to all of you that may be interested.

I mean, what are the odds that two blocks away some dude here in Tucson is selling vintage games online? Another sign that my quest is heading in the right direction!

Oh, and if you want to read about successful treasure hunting I suggest you travel over to Joe the Lawyer's blog and check out his latest haul.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Al Williamson March 21, 1931 ~ June 13, 2010

Al Williamson passed away yesterday Sunday June 13th.

A fantastic fantasy comic artist who began working for EC comics at the age of 21 was influenced by Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon and taken under Frank Frazetta's wing. He had a very grand cinematic style and brought a sense of realism to all things fantastic. Below are some samples of his fine work. He will be missed.

I highly recommend visiting the Golden Age of comics to see some more of Williamson's fantastic work:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Session XV: Frog Legs and Mushrooms

Continuing their exploration of the second level beneath the tower of Zenopus, our party came to a narrow natural stone bridge crossing a open chasm in the earth. Being the ever cautious lot (or just suspicious of their DM), they carefully crossed the bridge one by one with rope tied about their waists while Tibag climbed down to chasm to see what was below. Only finding flowing water the thief climbed back up, crossed the bridged and rejoined his companions.

Proceeding through the caves they found an open cavern lined with a phosphorous lichen along the walls and filled with a forest of mushrooms. As they traversed the forest they were attacked by three Mushroom-men! A quick thinking Gnarly Blunderbrush pulled out a potion of Plant Control (recovered in a previous adventure) and brought two of the Mushroom-men under his control. He ordered those two to slay the third which they did. But upon dying, the Mushroom-man sprouted spores which quickly grew into six additional Mushroom-men which Gnarly also brought under his control. The Druid now controlled an eight Mushroom-man army!

Skwanky, not missing any opportunity for a thrilling ride climbed atop the cap of the largest Mushroom-man and rode him through the rest of the caves!

Pressing on they discovered a number of twisting and crossing natural caves and eventually came upon a natural set of steps leading down into a large cavern. Inside the cavern was a large pool of water along the southern wall. Entering the cavern, the party noticed pairs of eyes popping the surface of the black water. Gnarly lined up his Mushroom-men in the front rank. A long tongue burst from the surface of the water and pulled a smaller Mushroom-man into the gapping mouth of a Giant Frog as the other five frogs leaped to attack. Tibag drew his sword (that he looted from the dead Pirate captain waaaay back in session 3) and to his amazement noticed that it was dimly glowing. With this sword he quickly began hacking through the aquatic creatures. Skwanky, atop his fighting Mushroom hacked at the giant frogs as well.

In the end, the frogs were killed with a couple of Mushroom casualties.

Suspicious that there were no additional exits in the room, Geedleesmote decided to have a peek under the surface of the water. Lo' he discovered two cave openings. Returning to the surface, the dwarf and Wolfheir remove their armor, tied ropes about their waists so that the others can quickly pull them out of the underwater caves if need be and proceeded to swim through the first underwater cave.

The cave lead to another cavern and, quietly breaching the surface, Wolfheir (effectively blind in the dark) heard clicking and guttural noises. The dwarf was able to see a number of Crotch-Goblins drinking from the edge of the water. They also saw natural stone steps leading out of the cave. The two adventurers quietly submerged again and swam to the main cavern and headed towards the second underwater cave.

Swimming through this one, they found a smaller cavern. The water was deeper here and Geedlee was able to make out two pairs of eyes starring at them from the depths. Inside the cave the dwarf discovered a small outcropping of rock with a stone statue of some devilish aquatic god, similar to the one discovered earlier in their explorations, with jeweled eyes and a pile of treasure at it's base.

The two headed back to work out a plan to retrieve tall the treasure with the others.

Wolfheir had a fishing net so it was decided to sack all the treasure, place it in the net and then pull it throughout the cave. Gnarly, Geedlee and Tibag would be the the ones to swim back to the statue while Wolf and the rest would pull the net through. And that is what they did.

The druid, the dwarf and the thief swam back throughout the tunnel and filled the sacks with coin and gems. They placed the sacks in the fishing net and the net was pulled back with Gnarly following.

Tibag and Geedleesmote stayed behind and removed the jeweled eyes from the statue with no ill affects (saves were made!). While the dwarf set about to topple the statue, Tibag stepped into the water to swim back to his companions but saw two Giant Frogs swimming through the tunnel in pursuit of Gnarly and the treasure.

The party , with Wolf pulling the treasure out of the water and Gnarly close behind saw the familiar eyes break the surface and the two giant frogs close in. Slick Vinny pulls out his wand of flesh to stone and enchanted one of the frogs which sunk beneath the surface. The other frog is defeated as disappointed Tibag broke the surface of the water with sword in hand.

With the dwarf finally back with the party they decided that it was time to leave the caves. On the way they killed the six Crotch-Goblins, picked up the dwarf's treasure cart and headed back to the surface...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Level 10 Graphic Designer/Level 3 Homeowner

My posts have been slowing down as of late due to it being my busiest time of year at work and an over-abundance of homeowner responsibilities with our new (70 year old) home. I may not get back to regular posting until sometime in July. I will, however, be keeping up with my Swords & Wizardry campaign session recaps for those of you following along.

And so I'll leave you with something inspirational:

Dark Dungeons

Rules Cyclopedia retro-clone?

Or Gateway to Hell!

(thanks Mike!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

First Friday

June's first Friday gives us Thrilling Wonder Stories with a Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers sort of affair.

For more Thrilling Wonder Stories...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Session XIV: Further Beneath The Tower Of Zenopus

This day found our party debating if they should begin Father Halford's quest (session XIII) or return to the Tower of Zenopus. It was decided that the Priest of Mithra's request can wait another day and the tunnels beneath the tower won, especially after talking with the old blind man Onyx (yes, I finally remembered his name!). Onyx, if you recall, was the previous inhabitant of the old Tower (session I) until his Stygian pupil, Zenopus, betrayed and blinded him, stole his magic and claimed the tower for herself.

So our brave adventurers once again delved beneath the ruined tower.

Retracing their steps to the room where the Giant Spider had killed Slick Vinny (also session XIII) (after which, Father Halford brought him back to life) they found a strange door, different from the others and made of iron. Tibag the Cutpurse made quick work of the locks on the door and opened it. Beyond was a large vaulted chamber with a large blasphemous toad-like statue with jeweled eyes and holding a bowl sitting on a pedestal. Not to miss an opportunity for a thrilling ride, Skwanky Furrytoe, the halfling charges up to the statue and leaps into the bowl as the others cautiously enter the temple. Upon landing in the bowl, the arms of the statue lower and the mouth opens revealing an object within. While the others keep their distance and stand guard, Tibag climbs the statue and finds an odd Mace studded with rotted human teeth in the jaw of the idol. After pilfering the jeweled eyes, Tibag rejoins his companions and they continue their exploration of the tunnels.

Tying up loose ends to their map, the party comes across the large cavern where they had captured Srgt. Morak and where their former companion Arvin Armore fell (session V). They also notice that the dead pirate bodies that were left along the shore of the underground body of water had been dragged beneath the surf.

Continuing through the cavern they come across a cave opening leading to a smaller cavern with a shallow river running through it. As Geedleesmote the dwarf enters the chamber, a Giant Crab rises from the sand and attacks the party who makes quick work of it with a flask of oil and a torch tossed by Gnarly and Wolfheir. Crab legs for everyone!

Continuing their exploration they find a large man-made chamber, empty save for a sundial and a large mask attached to the wall. Below the mask was an inscription which read: "I'll answer a question, one, no more. I cannot speak 'til it be four". After some thought, Tibag triggers the mask to speak by holding his torch to the sundial and casting the shadow on the number IV. The Mask speaks and will answer one question from the party. After much debate it was decided to ask how best to slay Zenopus (assuming that she is alive). The mask replies that Zenopus can only be destroyed by the light of the sun or a wooden stake through the heart. Ahh! So Zenopus has become a vampire!

Deeper into the tunnels they find a chamber with a trap door and stairs leading down to a deeper level. Descending these they find natural tunnels that they follow, thinking that they are nearing the resting place of Zenopus. After some twists and turns they find a large cavern overgrown with mushrooms and phosphorous fungi with a rift in the center. Tibag descends down a rope only to find a channel of running water.

More explorations take them into a small cave where they are attacked by Cave Eels.

Finally they find another cave off a narrow tunnel with the remains of gnawed human bones and a trail of old dried blood.

It was here that the session ended.