Saturday, March 25, 2023

Session 34: A New Party Arrives in Sunland

Session 34: A New Party Arrives in Sunland

Foreword: Introduced a whole new cast to AD&D 1e - one had played as a youth, another in our usual sessions, two come from new school RPGs, and the final has never played a TTRPG at all. Not much adventuring took place as some time was spent creating characters but, as is true BrOSR custom, we forsook the session zero tradition of non-play and dove in!

Timekeeping: Session 25/03/2023 - 26/03/2023 Downtime from 27/03/2023


Caelius Drussus - Human Female Paladin 1 of Forseti - Lawful Good

Ithil - Female Elf Thief 1 - Lawful Neutral

Therrin - Female Half Elf Ranger 1 - Chaotic Good

Satra - Female Gnome Illusionist 1 - Chaotic Neutral

Man With No Name - Human Male Cleric 1 of God - Chaotic Good

Downtime Adjudication: No downtime

Session Report:


So we spend some time navigating the character creation process for everyone which lead to a very diverse "Fellowship of the Freaks" as Jeffro Johnson likes to call it. There was some pre-play discussion about the obvious conflict of having someone lucky enough to have the stats for a Paladin and other players wanting to be Evil or Neutral. 

This is resolved, and, after what I will admit was a very surprising acceptance (or at least non-refusal) of 1e's restrictive character creation rules, we skip encumbrance this time and throw everyone into the game.

I introduce the region and the Town of Sunland - which has a deep history rooted in player actions. Some rumours and news I scratched on a notepad last week I announce to each character - temples in The Weald to the north, a ruined church with strange noises north-east, ancient wizards dungeons to the south-west, settlement expansions needing adventurer aid (with the promise of money) and so forth. Some of these come as consequences of the immense economic pressure from the Curse of Lamalla which is now vanquished.

The group has the same awkward tavern scene as is custom, since I forgot to say they all know each other. Some players decided they had been on many adventures together in the past despite being level 1 novices who have just started their profession, but anyway. Soon enough I have them all introduce their characters, and the Ranger says she's keeping an eye on some tensions in the bar brewing. The Paladin does the same and so two peasants start fighting, which the Holy Lady remedies. The Man With No Name is locked in deep contemplation of God by the fireplace, totally unawares of the rabble around him! The black armoured Elven Thief keeps an eye for any easy pockets to pick, and the Gnome Illusionist strolls in unseen due to her small stature.

Anyway after some awkward social interactions and a few rumours being brought to the table, the Thief convinces everyone that the low hanging fruit here is the Baron Ardenward's quest to map out the lands to the south-west for territory expansion. Now, the Thief spoke up about how it would be guaranteed funds for the Cleric to donate to his God, that the Paladin could bring about Good in the domain etc. and this seemed enough to convince everyone. They retire for the night - the Ranger sleeping in the stables, the Cleric sleeping beneath the Cross in the nearby church.

They follow the road north-west before veering south to the Lesser City Ardent. They approach the guard at the gate, and Man With No Name approaches with his donkey, named Goat, by his side and requests an audience with the Baron. The guard happens to be a God-fearing man and, with a superbly high reaction roll, insists he will personally see to an audience with the Baron.

The party enters the settlement and immediately feel tension in the air - the place is just brimming with people who look gaunt and stressed. It is clear that the carrying capacity of the settlement is at its limit. The main street is densely developed while there are huge smatterings of low quality shelters throughout the once open village green, which has now become something of a homeless ward. The Church stands resolute, with priests supplying what support they can.

It is a requirement of the Baron that the party enter without weapons - armour and shields are okay. Most of the group acquiesce except the Ranger who eventually concedes - but keeps her concealed dagger on her person. Good dynamic here between the Lawful and Chaotic party members.

They are escorted out of the village and make their way up the ridge-path to Castle Ardenward, which sits just before the Troll Crags. A stout looking garrison greets them, and the noble Baron himself awaits their entrance. He proposes the task:

  • 500GP for each 5 mile hex mapped in the 30 mile campaign hex south-west of his domain
  • 500GP for the locations of monster or human lairs
  • 100GP for strategic locations, such as resources (woodlands, water sources, stone, etc)

After some negotiation, the party is also supplied a map of his current domain and will be escorted to the border when they are ready. Once they prove their worth in detailing at least one 5-mile-hex the Baron promises he will lend them steeds to aid in their quest. At this point, the party also hears from the Baron about a rumour he heard as a child of a dark and malignant wizards dungeon in that region, and that adventurers of high repute confirm its existence and its dangers. This interests the Illusionist greatly who sees the potential for magical knowledge. Baron Ardenward also tells them of the wizard Barbanikos who lives to the north-west, in Underland, who might know more...

With this, the party elects to rest for the night. The Ranger goes down to the Lesser City Ardent for a beverage, and the Paladin scopes the streets for any Evil, only to find despondent drunks drowning their sorrows at the state of their lives. The Illusionist, in true Chaotic fashion, decides that pretending to be asleep and then exploring the castle is sensible. Of course, the guard outside her room insists this is not a good idea, but with a successful surprise roll the Illusionist casts Hypnotism on the guard, who changes his stance and wishes the best of the Chaotic Gnome's nightly wanderings. These, of course, don't lead to much as the Gnome quickly realises the patrols and guards outside each room are not likely to approve of her lurking, and she quietly retires back to her room...

At this, it was getting late, and we decided to pack it up for the night - with the general consensus being to use downtime to send the Ranger out on some scouting expeditions, gather information, aid the village, and study the Church (as the Man With No Name wished to do).

Treasure and XP: None

Character Alignment and Role Performance Ratings: N/A for this session as no real "adventure" took place.

Downtime Requests: -

Comments: Interesting note about this session - it happened 2 days before the 2 year anniversary of the campaign, and introduced all new players in the same starting locale as the very first session, except shaped by the events of the campaign!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Session 33 - Grapplin' Rats, Ray Bans, and Colours From Out of Space

Session 33 - Grapplin' Rats, Ray Bans, and Colours From Out of Space

Foreword: A very profitable haul with a lot of epic moments and interactions.

Timekeeping: Session occurred on 3/12/2022 with downtime from 4/12/2022

Characters: Vic Sanguin [Half-Orc A3/F2], Gilthur Goldburrow [Dwarf F1/T1], Chut Grugly [Human F1], Sanguinus Extractus (pronounced Sangwenus) [Human Cleric 1 of Globulah] (new PC), 2 war dogs belonging to Vic

Downtime Adjudication: 

Monthly Upkeep 1/12/2022
Vic - 300gp
Chut - 100gp
Gilthur - 100gp
Finesstro - 300gp
Daubeny - 300gp

Vic Sanguin (DT 28/11/22-2/12/2022)

  • Rested for 5 days
  • Sought out a sage specialising in beast men in the city and paid him 100gp for short term employment of a minor question in his field asking about rat men. The Sage, named Olir Coban in the nobles quarter of Underland, informed the man he'd need a silver or magically enchanted weapon to kill these beasts if they are lycanthropes
  • Bought 3 silver daggers (we decided silver items are 10x the cost of normal, extrapolating from the regular arrow to silver arrow price)
  • Bought parchment and ink/quill for mapping (ink = 10sp for a vial, parchment = 1sp each) I'll rule that ink is replenished in upkeep as long as the vial itself is not destroyed. Ink encumbrance = 1/2 oil flask. Parchment encumbrance = 10gp and prone to damage (more-so if not in a scroll case)
  • Bought 2 new war dogs


  • Repaired armour in his dad's smithy and made 64gp (no XP).
  • Learned from an adventurer having his plate fixed about a city in the desert to the north-west that is being invaded by insect men.

Session Report:


We have a new player in the group - Sanguinus Extractus the Chaotic Evil Cleric 1 of Globulah.

So this new player had been in one session of 1e at the start of the campaign, and died in 10 minutes when he tried to steal the Lizard King's drink. I informed him that being a CE Cleric, he should be impulsive, unpredictable, Evil, use his clerical spells and always have his deity in his mind. Laying the groundwork like this for a new player had a huge effect on how well their character performs for the character performance ratings. 

A side note. I have noticed that new players without their own conceptions of the game take the game in stride for what it is when they see everyone just playing it. People with prior experience or their own TTRPG identity find it most difficult to play a new game as written. Having a new player turn up and telling him "As a CE Cleric you should be impulsive, Evil, and incredibly fanatical" works wonders. Anyway back to the report - from this point on I'm actually writing this on the 29/01/2023. So I am going to sacrifice some details which pertained to dungeon delving - exploring rooms, going down corridors etc.

The parties plan this session is to go back to where they cleared up to last session, find the rat lair, wipe it out, and get the supposed treasure the Mimic told them about. They checked out the chamber that the cultists were in and this time noticed a scrawling on the wall - a half open eye carved into the wall.

Nothing else came of this, so on they went, and at the precipice of where they got to last time, they noticed a room full of mould and gunk with spores in the air. They set it ablaze and heard squealing sounds - with charred husks on the floor that fell from the walls.

They continue further into the sewers and, when checking some doors and a barred grate, are assailed by a pack of giant rats! One of them is wearing a pair of Ray Bans which must have been dropped into the sewer by the Time Traveling Eshay (a PC one of my players demanded and I conceded that at every session he must roll a 1d100, and if he got a 1, then he could have the character).

It even got grappled just like in Princess Bride
The fight is on and, aside from one of the dogs getting bitten, no harm came to the party - they absolutely annihilated the rats. Chut grappled the Ray Ban rat and snapped it's neck, then stole the Ray Bans. Sanguinus took it's right foot to wear around his waist.

The party checks out the room the rats came from - it's behind the bars. They see some humanoid remains with pretty decent equipment. Chut, having exceptional strength, rises to the occasion (literally holding himself off the floor) and Bends Bars/Lift Gates. Once they are in, they fall to looting the deceased - which now, quite obviously, were a group of adventurers. They accrue some supplies, shields, etc. and Vic Sanguine tries to pickpocket a piece of jewellery but Chut notices him and they resolve this interpersonal conflict. Gilthur picked up a holy symbol that I can't remember the details of.

There's a few doors in this room - so the party stations a few of their thief-types at each one and try to hear for anything beyond. Gilthur hears the sound of a harp playing beyond the south western door. Nobody likes this. They bash the door down and find themselves in a corridor - they follow it to a totally empty room. Very suspicious!

Secret doors are in fact searched for, and Gilthur, the crafty dwarf, activates some sort of force-field  pseudo-door which glows green just off the surface of the wall. He interrogates this further and finds some handholds which dispel it, and an opening appears. It's a staircase down. The walls of it are disturbing in their implication - clean, of strange iridescent colours nobody knows. The party debates whether to go down - the reasonable, self-preserving types know that this is a terrible idea while the new and impulsive Sanguinus insists that it's all or nothing in this adventuring gig. They decide to probe it out a bit, and go walking down for a LONG time. Some people begin to hear harp sounds, some don't. Sanguinus feels an incredible compulsion to keep going down when everybody else decides it's time to go.

There's a lot of arguing about heading back up to do the rat thing. The mostly Evil party doesn't really care if Sanguinus wants to go die in unfathomable depths, but Gilthur insists he behave rationally and back down. Sanguinus doubles down and begins his descent while the curious but afraid party agrees to wait for him at the top of the staircase.

The details of his journey remain a secret, but, after some considerable time, Sanguinus suddenly reappears at the top of the stairwell and insists everything is ordinary and that they continue on their adventure. Nobody buys this but he is so adamant and unyielding that they can do nothing but concede.

Cool temple that has nothing to do
with this session whatsoever

They check out one of the other doors and after failing to pick the lock on it, Chut bashes it, but it's stuck partially open. There's a crew of Giant Rats waiting and one of them bites the dog again. These rats get absolutely ruined by the party (again). Another encounter foiled!

The new room they start checking out has another piece of jewellery on the floor, among some rat litter, like the one in the other room. These must be what the Mimic was on about. While the party is checking out other stuff, Giant Rats suddenly begin pouring into the room - a trap! They are coming from the rear and the front. The party is partially separated. Not only this, but climbing from the ceiling are two rat men! What will the adventurers do? Well, I don't have much written in my notes but the bitter defeat of the were-rats is still present in my mind. Events went something like this:

  • Rats charge in
  • Vic Sanguine immediately sets off an oil flask and scares off half the rats.
  • The other rats are getting decimated
  • Chut overbears a rat man

Things end up going south for rodent-kind when the Giant Rats flee and the rat-men beg for mercy - saying they will give treasure for their lives. Vic doesn't trust them, thinks they will either flee forever or bring reinforcements. Then, one of the rat-men, who calls himself Scritter-Scratter speaks the Lawful Evil alignment language. Vic, being Lawful Evil, recognises the cosmic link he shares with this creature and trusts them to hold up their end of the bargain. In short time, one of the rat-men returns with a small gem. The party has also ended up with all 3 of the supposed golden treasures the Mimic spoke of.

The party and the rat-men part ways - but not before Vic is given a code in case he needs to contact the rats again. Sanguinus also notes a common wristband each one was wearing.

At this point, the party decides to do some further exploring and end up finding a return path back to a previously mapped section of the sewers, thus expediting their return to the surface. They have their haul evaulated by Alfie Solomons and a deal brokered with an interested merchant. The gems/jewellery value tables in the DMG are tedious if you are pre-rolling a bunch of treasure but absolutely exhilarating if the party gets to roll it up themselves after an adventure. That's an understatement when, after 4 sets of rolls, the group ended up with 12750gp worth in 3 necklaces and a gem. After selling it, paying the evaluation fee, paying the brokering fee, and selling two sets of chain mail they found (thus allowing Vic to take his two shares) the party ended up with 11415gp. 

I also had a chat with players about coming up with their own rumours, items, and quests to pay for training. As long as the quest is of suitable difficulty then I have no issue and in fact encourage them to make up their own trainer, the trainers location, and the quest they must do in exchange for class training. Already one PC has come up with a Swordsman who needs a lion's heart so he can have a Potion of Heroism brewed. That's an awesome quest!

Treasure & XP:

Vic Sanguin - 5862XP (note, capped Fighter XP from last adventure)

All other PCs - 3312XP

Character Performance Ratings:

Vic Sanguin - Excellent - Terrific balance of Fighter/Assassin roles. Adherence to alignment, on a level greater than himself, with the Wererat interaction was very impressive.

Gilthur Goldburrow - Excellent - Good balance scouting ahead to perform thief abilities while also performing as a 2nd rank long-reach Fighter. Very persistent and consistent about checking doors out before making noise bashing them down - this is good. Only point would be his insistence on stopping Sanguinus from descending the staircase (but I could see this being in his Evil self-preserving nature as opposed to compassion)

Chut Grugly - Excellent - Epic bend bars and lift gates, grappling giant rats, overbearing rat men, and stealing ray bans. Smashing down doors, cleaving beasts. Follows his principles without being guided by any moral compass - just one of order as he was raised by Mr Grugly. Would be nice to see him adopt a more directive/leader type role and perhaps look into men at arms etc.

Sanguinus Extractus - Excellent - Superb performance as a truly Chaotic Evil Cleric of the Blood God, Globulah. There are secrets that I cannot divulge here which lend to this Excellent rating but suffice to say that Sanguinus earned his keep this session. Would be nice to see some spell use and ordinarily that would be a penalty to the rating but I'm ruling it's outweighed by the other things that happened.

Downtime Requests: Downtime from 4/12/2022. 

Vic Sanguin contracted a parasitic infestation and is going to be out of action from 4/12/2022 until and including 17/12/2022

Comments: Come up with Chut's downtime armoury work - extrapolate armourer hireling rules from DMG. Rumour-mongering procedure?

The way I treat gems for XP has never satisfied me. But now, after talking with another player, have come to a good conclusion:

  1. Players get gems/jewellery from an adventure. This gives NO xp until they have it evaluated.
  2. They pay an evaluation fee in town. This gives a 100% correct value and after payment the XP will be given to them. Now, they can either keep the item as a way of efficiently carrying wealth, or try to sell it. 

Selling is where the merchant undercut comes into play. So although a gem might be worth 1000gp, someone might only be willing to pay 800gp. The players get the 1000xp for its value however.

I have been contemplating how to assess multi-class performances, and think that perhaps each class should be assessed individually but in light of the characters sum actions. This may mean players make a conscious choice to sacrifice performance in one class if another has more utility in the session. My justification for this is that, say you are a Fighter/Thief, fighting on the front lines and being a brawler is in direct conflict with your Thief training and inclinations. If the MC is rated as one homogeneous class composed of the singular relevant classes then they don't get marked down for the transgressions that individual classed characters would, but also get all the benefits of performing the roles of multiple different classes! I will await player input here anyway...

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Session 32 - Return to the Sewers of Underland

Session 32 - Return to the Sewers of Underland

Foreword: This session gave little in terms of monetary reward but set the players up for a very successful delve in Session 33, as you will see.

Timekeeping: Session 26/11/2022 - 27/11/2022 Downtime requests from 28/11/2022. Vic will require resting to recuperate health.

Characters: Vic Sanguin (Half-Orc A3/F2), Chut "The Lackadaisical" Grugly (Human F1), Gilthur Goldburrow (Dwarf F1/T1), Little Vic (H F1) [H], 2 war dogs

Downtime Adjudication:  


  • Massacre of Marburgh
  • Training to F2
  • Left Thropsford with Gilthur Goldburrow and arrived in Underland on the 27/11/22


  • Thieving in Thropsford (need to resolve this, and come up with a good system players can use themselves)
  • Selling Finin's spell-book for 1000gp (Unearthed Arcana spell book values)

Session Report:


The session opens up in Discord with the players stepping up their game and planning their course of action before the scheduled meetup time. This is directly in accordance with Gary's advice in the PHB section titled "Successful Adventures" on page 107. If you are a player, you should read that section. I have seen a lot of the lessons within learned the hard way by this group.

Vic Sanguin, in true LE terms, is negotiating with the other PCs the treasure shares prior to adventure. He is firm that he will accept no less than two shares due to his greater capability, equipment, resources, war dogs, and henchman. The poor Gilthur and fresh Chut don't put up much argument here, and so the agreement is settled and they are off to Sewer Manhole A, just north of the Giant's Shin.

There is a lot of behind-the-scenes things that don't get translated into the session reports since they are rumours/patron activities that take place in messenger or posted in the Discord. I'll briefly describe the state of the sewers since the campaign's inception and the first delve within:

There are other things that... Need to be kept secret still.

So yeah, they decide to go down there. The Adventurer's Union member charges them a 10gp entrance fee each and suggests they visit their new facilities below which are now cleared and being used as part of a "Young Adventurers" Initiative to help educate fledgling freebooters on the "Successful Adventures" section in the PHB p107, as well as how to bend bars/lift gates, prepare flaming oil flasks, and write a will - among many other things essential in the day-to-day life of an adventurer.

They descend the ladder and find themselves in an entry vestibule. On the west wall is the same graffiti as it's always had - "It Knows". There's people bustling about through the north-most passage - the training facilities. The eastern passage is blocked off (part of the Adventurer's Union and Underland Guard agreement was to block and guard from the easternmost section of the sewer, where the Crab Men originated.

Being above whatever training program is to the north, the players head south. They follow a tunnel which leads to the Fetid Tributary running beneath the city. It goes north-west and south-east. The south-east portion is barricaded and guarded.

They follow the path north-west along the tributary, noting how festy the water is, shining their lantern off of eyes, debris, etc. For flowing water it is disgusting.

For those curious, we run dungeon crawls in a systematic fashion - turn by turn. Players declare their action for the turn, time passes, outcome resolved. In these long sewer tunnels it can get tedious because your movement rate while mapping is very slow, but it is only done once. I have a breakdown sheet which has all the times that various activities take, range of light sources, sound radius, etc. They also need to rest every 6th turn. 

They go down the first bisecting sewer passage on their right and follow it - eventually coming to a door. It's locked and they pick the lock - and find out they've just done a circle back around to the north section of the Adventurer's Union facilities and disgruntle the guards behind the door.

They hike back to the Fetid Tributary and continue to follow it, ignoring a much narrower passage they'd have to be single file to go down. They pass by a 20' wide tunnel heading to the north-east and continue - eventually coming to another sewer passage with a stream down the middle of it. They follow this for a bit and notice a disturbance on one of the walls - some interrogation of this reveals it to be a one-way door concealed among the brickwork. Outside of it are lots of scratches and reptilian looking scales on the ground. A note is made, and they continue on their way - eventually spotting something promising - an extremely water-logged and rotten wooden door. The thief/assassin have been dutifully listening at doors and checking for traps, and when they agree the door is not suspect, bash it down.There's a tunnel to their left - they go down it when they hear whispering/sounds around a bend ahead. They shut their lantern off immediately. While preparing their weapons and conspiring, knowing that whatever is ahead knows about them as well, the party is suddenly lit up from the rear and a shocked voice calls out to them to halt. A tense moments discussion reveals that this is a rival adventuring party, with two armoured men and seven crossbowmen. During their brief discussion, suddenly, a group of insane wailing men come charging from where the whispers were heard, blood-lust in their eyes. I think one of the dogs at the front got stabbed but otherwise, the party totally annihilated them. They are fanatics and don't check morale, except for the last man standing who wasn't totally into the whole cult thing and started begging for his life.

This causes some conflict between the adventuring parties. The Evil PCs (and neutral Chut) think he should be executed or extracted for information. The other party cannot stand for this and insists that a different course of action be taken or there will be consequences. Vic, being rational, assesses the situation and makes a call - give the cultist over to these goody-two-shoes and tell them to beat it. Cooler heads prevail and with this exchange, the parties continue on their own separate ways. Gilthur checks the bodies and notices nothing of note except an iron holy symbol of a half-open eye. The plot thickens.

With this, they follow the tunnel as it intersects with another to the south-east, and end up in another tunnel. They pick a direction and find a stone door which Chut and Vic force open together and immediately the two are blinded by a jet of some fluid. Some sort of strange slimy lizard thing charges them from a pond in the middle of a room. It gets turned into a dog-treat immediately and the encounter, which promised danger, ended up being insignificant in the face of this party! Lil Vic is sent to the pond to poke around beneath it with a pole-arm, when a green slime drops from the ceiling and engulfs him! His armour is being disintegrated when the party lights the end of their polearms on fire and tries to slice it away. Yes you read that correctly. Anyway, they eventually kill the blob and Vic's henchman, who was dissolved to a pulpy mass. All his items gone. 

They stick Lil Vic's arm in the pond to see if anything eats it. No bite. So one of them hops in and begins feeling around the bottom (it's really shallow) and finds some shoddy looking gems/stones.

Nothing else seemed to be in the room so they hike back down the new tunnel they'd found - heading due east they come to a 4 way intersection. Straight ahead is another ladder leading up - looks just like a sewer manhole. To the north and south lie tunnels - 20' and 10' respectively. The northern one opens into a chamber and nothing seems to be charging at them from within so they check it out. It's an empty room which connects to another room on the western wall... And that room has something in it. There's a chest in the middle and an iron footlocker about 10' away from it.

After what happened to Lil Vic they check the ceiling. Gilthur then starts combing for traps on his way to the chest, then to the footlocker. While is feeling around, a voice whispers to him "give foods".

The dwarf runs for his life back to the party. Chut throws some rations into the room and from the chest erupt a few pseudo-pods which lap up the food. They throw more rations at the things requests. They begin to converse with it - it seems pretty friendly and satisfied that they've fed it. Tells them that the iron trunk is trapped and has gold in it. This is helpful and Gilthur goes and checks it out - he notices the trap mechanism - some sort of gas spray on a trigger connected to the opening mechanism. Being a dwarf, and therefore resistant to poisons, takes a gamble and tries to deactivate it. He totally fails it and gets sprayed straight into his face. The dwarf swoons for a moment when he succeeds his saving throw and just resists the toxic substance! Epic! He cracks open the footlocker and there's 250gp inside. He tried to sneak a handful himself but Vic spotted him.

After that the party buddies up to the chest thing. Vic starts to groom it and they push it for information. It's not really sure what they are up to as it is so far removed from humanity. It informs them of "lots of ratses", "rat men" "shinies u like" nearby in the sewer. Agrees to take them there for more food.

This is all the party needs, and so they quickly gather Lil Vic's pulpy remains and feed it to the creature, and guide it to the bodies of the cultists they slew. They learn that it's name is Elshiptyar and it shows them a secret door leading down a tunnel. They go down this way, hoping to capitalise on the creatures supposed strength and danger. At an intersection they are ambushed by lizard-men lurking behind them in the shadows! The party is surprised and one of the dogs is slain. But this changes when the chest creature, scuttling on centipede legs, engages them and, despite itself enduring great harm, decimates some of them and the lizards break morale and flee. Elshiptyar decides that it will go rest somewhere - in the tunnel they are in they went past a set of stairs up. It goes that way and the party decides to follow. It goes up for a little bit and then turns and descends into darkness. This is enough for them to call it quits and leave the unpredictable creature to its own devices. There was, of course, originally some scheming and planning about taking it above as their own tamed beast, given that it can freely travel during the day now with the Curse of Lamalla taking place. And if things went south they'd just be unleashing it into the city and increasing the net Evil of the world so... Good for the Evil party?

 They suss out the tunnel that the chest creature said leads to the rats, before deciding to return to where they found Elshiptyar and exploring that area a bit more. There's 3 zombies here now! They engage with the ravenous dead and the other dog dies, but the undead are cut down. They check out a door in the room where the iron trunk was and Gilthur swears he hears a child wailing. Chut insists they must check it out and, after a failed lockpicking attempt by the dwarf, Chut bashes it open very loudly. There's a corridor heading west, and they see a door down that way. It is a moment after this that that door swings open and 3 hulking crab men emerge, with their strange bronze carapace and hooked noses. The party tries to shut the door again and flees the place.

Their return trip involves carefully going past the one way lizard door (Vic made Chut go behind them a ways since his noisy metal armour might alert whatever is beyond it) and gathering up the heads of some of the monsters they killed for the Guard Captain's bounty.

They return 3 lizard man heads, 1 muck lizard-thing head, and some info about the possibly whereabouts of the Lizard Man lair in the sewers to the GC for 100gp.

They are directed to the take the zombie heads to the Church in the Quiet Wing. This nets them 10gp a head, for 30gp total, and the offer of a quest to clear the Underland Crypt which it is revealed is overrun with undead - someone is raising them beneath the city. 1000gp to clear the crypt sounds really good to everyone until the priest informs them that questers will be screened for their intent by their clerics and paladins.

Vic and Gilthur say their goodbyes and the party treks off to Alfie Solomons to appraise the shoddy gems they found. A 60gp fee reveals 85gp worth of gems and the party is left with a tight purses, misgivings against the world, and a hunger to destroy the rat lair and steal the supposed treasure it contains. Spoiler alert: They do just this in the next session.

Treasure & XP: 

I awarded XP for negotiating with the Mimic and NPC party. All encounter XP is also scaled by the relative strengths of the party and their adversaries (as per DMG p84-85)

Vic - 880XP (203 from double treasure share, 677 from monster encounters)

Gilthur - 779XP (102 from single treasure share)

Chut - 779XP

Character Performance Ratings: This session I trialed being more critical with the performance ratings - with a grace session so it is not in effect - and it ended up backfiring. After contemplation I realised I was looking at it wrong. The rule is pretty explicit that Excellent is actually the standard for normal play and deviation from the norm is what docks the rating. Ultimately, Chut ended up with the only Superior due to not showing much initiative/leadership.

Downtime Requests: Downtime from 28/11/22.

Vic will be healing up, Chut will be working his dad's armoury and hanging out at the Giant's Shin.

Comments: Precise record-keeping has fallen off the wayside slightly in exchange for players taking on the responsibility of managing their own downtime affairs. This means I have a less clear idea of what is going on, but it actually feels like more is going on. It is also easier to manage things and focus on the action if players self-adjudicate.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Massacre of Maburgh

The Massacre of Maburgh

Foreword: This is the second installment in the Globulite Mythos as another Blood Moon (the only "real" one for a few years!) occurred. This is an important time for Globulah, and the time that It is most powerful. Combined with the Curse of Lamalla meant that it was a truly bloody night... But not all ended well for the Cult of Globulah, as you will see.

Timekeeping: Ritual Preparations 6/11/2022-7/11/2022 Blood Moon 8/11/2022 Return Trip 9/11/2022-10/11/2022

Characters: Vic Sangin (F2/A1), Greg Chapel (C2 - player not present), Fitzpatrick Bateman (C1) [H]

Session Report:

We played out the raid over Discord - Vic Sangin's player and myself - with instructions from Greg Chapel, the leader of the Thropsford sect of the cult. Vic himself is a devout Globulite (as it is the de-facto player-made Evil religion). I told Greg Chapel's player that if he gave me some decent plans for this and made sure it was more miraculous than the Butchering of Baleah I'd let him train to level 3 for free. Then his player went to another country and Vic Sangin got to be in charge. Not sure if he still deserves it but he did invent a patron saint, blessing a mace as the first holy artifact of Globulah in that saints name, and instigated the original village raid in May, so I'll give him this one.

The Growth of the Cult

Speaking with Greg Chapel, we rolled some dice and came up with the current Globulite follower count - from 30, it has grown to 70 in the months since May. Seemed reasonable given the huge downtime Greg would have spent preaching, as well as the Curse of Lamalla enhancing whatever Evil was present in the lands. They all have leather armour, wooden shields, and a dagger + club. Prior to setting out, Greg blessed his mace as the Harbinger of Glabgo. He just made that up, further fleshing out and legitimising the Globulite religion with its first saint and religious relic.

The Hamlet of Maburgh

Greg Chapel had scouted out neighbouring villages still holding onto the borderlands around Thropsford's 30 mile campaign hex back during May. They decided they'd go for Maburgh this time. Their initial scouting of it revealed a relatively defenseless settlement with about 70 people. Since the campaign's inception, the well-governed roads and relatively safe borderlands have slowly been beaten back by bandits, monsters, geographical events, etc. and now the kingdom is greatly fractured - cities are more like city states, and the roads between them are dangerous and un-patrolled. Maburgh, being 30 miles south east of Thropsford (the direction of an entirely abandoned city and section of the kingdom - ironically, that area of the world is also the Cradle of the Globulites) would be barely holding on - so I knew that if it was still standing it'd have some sort of defenses and probably a reduced population as people gave up their homes for the security of the city walls. I made up some tables, rolled some dice, and had some contingency plans that would be reasonable for a borderland village in a dangerous world, and so we were off.

The Raid

Vic Sangin is an interesting character since, as of writing this, he's F2/A3 but hasn't played any sessions.  Except for one time he disguised as a Good character for the Good party and used information he gained to rat out a resistance group within the city of Underland and profit greatly off it it. He would later on assassinate a fugitive PC for money, and sell that PCs spell-book. We're getting off track, but this is important because the sequence of events that Vic took led to him being in Thropsford at the right time for him to lead the raid while Greg's player was out.

(Stay tuned for the exploits of Vic as his player suggested that he'd write a Vic Sangin tell-all as behind-the-scenes things become known in the group)

His plan was to have the 70 Globulites (approximately 50/50 split male/female) trickle out of the city over the 6th/7th as couples, with their armour covered by white robes (stained red by the blood rain) and regroup 20 miles south east of the city until everyone was assembled. The leaders (Vic, Greg, Fitzpatrick) rode horses and took their wagon. Aside from some giant rats that wanted nothing to do with the Conglobulation, their journey was peaceful and they all grouped up - performing some pre-raid ceremony, chanting to Globulah, praising the blood rain, performing self laceration etc.

They arrive at the village as the Blood Moon rises. Vic scouts ahead and notices that it's got a timber palisade and is manned by archers, who don't take kindly to him. The Blood Moon casts a vibrant red hue over the land - although it's pouring blood rain, the Globulites notice something of a supernatural clarity. The ghastly red tones and moonlight bathe them - I rule that all the Globulites have +1s on their rolls due to the circumstances. And they can see clearly.

Vic spares a moment to inform the cult of the defenses - and promptly rouses the group into action, knowing that even if they all die it is blood spilled for the blood god. The Globulites come charging through the rain - we go 1:10 at this point - and axemen begin hewing the gates while flanking figures raise shields over them. A few groups, with the leaders, stay about 50 yards back ready to rotate in should the hewers fall. Someone screams from behind the palisade, but soon a figure of archers appears and begins raining arrows down on the axe-bearers - this continues as one, two, three figures of Globulites are totally annihilated. Just peppered and nuked from above. Then some burning oil is thrown from the wall that cuts off the relief Globulites. Vic is firing arrows at the archers, doing decent damage but not enough when another figure of archers appears, pushing the rickety palisade to its limits.

Then, something happens.

The flames subside, and Vic, who was going to call a tactical retreat so they could cut down a tree to use as a battering ram, notices something at the gate.

An intense red glow shines down from the Blood Moon, bathing the pile of 30 Globulite corpses.

The mass begins to writhe and contort. A hand breaks up through the pile. Then another. But it isn't flesh as the body which birthed it - it is inside out. Soon the whole pile of corpses is standing again, but their bodies are muscle, tendons, and bone. These revenants are horrific in both aspect and physical brutality - they hew the gates open as if they were three men. Some scale the walls through the pouring rain and mutilate the archers. One stout leader tries to keep his men together but to no avail - the town is overrun! All hell breaks loose within as the gate collapses.

It's empty. Except for one place, where lights shine through the night and two men stand outside with bows drawn as the horde of Globulites and monstrosities raid the houses. Vic approaches the men, informing them that they can surrender (he withheld the information that they'd be tortured/sacrificed for Globulah with a new ritual of the players devising) or die. The men only begged and wept that their wives and children be given mercy.

"Is that all?" Vic's cold words rang through the night as the men were slaughtered. Inside the church, the 20 women and children were rounded up and crucified with leeches attached to them and left hanging - some outside the church, but most in front of the entrance to the settlement - a tunnel, if you will.

The church was ransacked and the supplies of the town rounded up - besides a sack of mundane gear/supplies for each Globulite the only items discovered of note were:

  • A lockbox beneath the priests desk
  • The priests desk
  • Silk weavings/tapestries
  • Silver flagon
  • Gold prayer bowl

The Globulite revenants all collected in the village center after the massacre, before contorting, swelling, and bursting into a pile of blood and gore. The Globulites celebrated with their grotesque practices - cannibalism, an orgy, and wild hollering to the Blood God.


The Globulites commence their return home, each cultist with a sack of supplies, the wagon with the desk and silks, while Vic has the lockbox, Greg and Fitzpatrick have the silver flagon/gold prayer bowl.

Their plan is to leave together as 'pilgrims' and, when closer to the city, trickle back in the same way they had before. They do this, except, later in the day, they are waylaid on the road... By none other than the Thropsford Army.

Now I know what you're thinking - come on, that's some storygamey bull isn't it. But it is not! When considering the state of the settlement, I reckoned they'd have a plan to alert the city if they were being raided. This involved sending a lone rider out through a hidden gate and hoping he isn't noticed or interrupted in his journey himself. I made some rolls and... Not only was he not noticed amidst the raid, but he made it safely to Thropsford and the army was prepared and on the road by morning.

They were about 140 yards away with neither side having surprise. Some 100 or more armed to the teeth men, with horseman on the flanks, versus some 45 exhausted and poorly armed cultists laden with loot. The Globulite leaders scream every man for himself and flee on their horses. Suffice to say, the unmounted cultists are quickly rounded up and shackled. As for the leaders, the Wilderness Evasion Rules are consulted and it is revealed that they travel some 18 miles east before shaking off their pursuers - arriving at some wooded hills. They circle back around to Thropsford but find somewhere to camp out of the rain for the night. The next morning (10/11/2022), they head to the city but a pack of wolves chases them - their horses all fail their panic checks and are off. Fitzpatrick is chased by the pack while the others are taken off on a journey before they calm their mounts. Eventually, all is back to normal. Vic disguises himself as a half-orc adventurer called Lancel Lionhardt from Burnett, claiming he is the sole survivor of a group of adventurers from the Baeda Fells north-west of Thropsford. The gate guard, including the indentured Magic-User, totally buy his disguise and, after paying the non-citizen entrance fee, is let into the city.

Later, players in Thropsford would read this message in the Thropsford City discord chat:

Near two weeks ago the Thropsford Army was rallied at midnight in response to dire pleas from a lonely rider who had escaped his village at Maburgh to the south-east. Fanatical raiders seeking blood were at their doors. The next day, the culprits were apprehended on the road, on their journey to Thropsford, and put to trial. They were all zealots of a blood cult, devoting themselves to an entity known as "Globulah". Their presumed leaders evaded the Army and when questioned about this only responded with gibberish such as "Glob glib glu glab" and "Saint Glabgo deliver unto me a torrential bloodletting".  It was soon discovered that nobody in the town of Maburgh survived. Lieutenants reported the grizzly and horrifying site that awaited them at the hamlet- it's wooden gates were splintered and hewn as if by great beasts. Women and children formed a funnel outside the gate, crucified on crosses with fat and putrid leeches sucking them dry. The church was defiled and the houses ransacked - with a huge pile of blood and gore in the village centre, as if a pile of bodies exploded. Clerics within the city suspect a paranormal aspect was involved, and that this cult should not be taken lightly.  The leaders of this cult are still at large, but in the meantime, all of the apprehended cultists have been judged and found guilty. A public execution will take place on the 30th of November.  The City Guard warns citizens that the cult may still be active, and to exercise caution when surveying the religions on the Street. The stall of these "Globulites" has been destroyed, and aside from some bone effigies and a blank tome, nothing of interest was discovered. If you have any information about this cult, please contact the Guard immediately. The following bounty has been placed:  

  • 10gp for each cult member, alive or dead  
  • 500gp per clerical level of each cleric, alive, or 250gp if dead 
  • A special reward from a curated list of contraband lays in store for the individual who aids the Guard the most - particularly if their efforts lead directly to the abolishment of the cult and the apprehension of its leaders.

Treasure & XP: to do

Character Performance Ratings: Vic - (E) In terms of alignment, there need be no further comment. Insofar as playing his role as both a Fighter orchestrating the cult raid to later infiltrating the city without a regard for his accomplices, shows how authentically Vic Sangin behaves as a Fighter/Assassin.

Downtime Requests: Vic would go on to do the deeds I described above - getting himself a cushy F2/A3 without any real session play just some creativity, initiative, and eagerness to master the rules.

Comments: There was nothing new or remarkable about the mechanics of the raid itself - aside from the paranormal influences of course - but what was really interesting about this event, is the significance of it in the Mythology of the Globulites, and the way that their actions have affected the campaign world. Read as: The players made up a religion and now they are writing its sacred text with campaign level events. To beat a dead horse, 1:1 time is the driving force that makes this possible and significant.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Session 31.5 - The Aftermath of the Battle at Traveler's Lake

Session 31.5 The Aftermath of the Battle at Traveler's Lake

Foreword: This is a followup to Session 31, played through play-by-post since last session ended due to time constraints. The tl;dr is that the party lost two characters, a henchman, and two magical weapons, but also took 1 month off the Curse of Lamalla (Blibdoolpoolp)

Timekeeping: "Session" from 23/10/2022 - 25/10/2022 Downtime from 26/10/2022

Characters: Finesstro the Nimble, Caelestis the Wall, Malcolm Mount-Batten, Daubeny Jamwine, John Smith [H]

Downtime Adjudication: N/A

Session Report:


Following the The Battle at Traveler's Lake the party left me with some instructions for what they wanted to do. In short:

  1. Rest 4 hrs to recover their level 1 spells (as per DMG p40) - note, the party has a cart with tarpaulin so I rule that their spell-casters can get sufficient rest.
    1. John Smith will prepare and cast Detect Magic on the horseman's flail they took from the priest
    2. John Smith will prepare Protection From Evil (since he has 1 holy water)
  2. Malcolm the Scout and Daubeny the Cutpurse will scout ahead the 2 miles from camp to Traveler's Lake to see if the fish men are still present.
  3. Dependent on 2, but, destroy the cultist's altar and any other religious artifacts. Also try to get treasure.

Simple enough?

John Smith does confirm a dweomer emanating from the flail, so Caelestis takes it (since his exceptional strength overpowers his non-proficiency penalty) and Malcolm is given the magical filleting knife that Barbanikos lent to Finesstro.

For 2. I had to think about what would be reasonable actions for the fish men to have taken in the last 4 hours, assigned some probabilities, and rolled some dice. The end result is that the two PCs found there to be no fish men around... And also no bodies or items. The place was picked clean of that.

At this point, I was sending messages in the group chat describing the outcome of their actions. I will simply collate these:

  • After scouting ahead and finding the lake to be clear of not only fish men but also all the bodies, of both sides, you regroup and head down to destroy the altar and other religious artifacts. You make quick work of the altar, which was of stacked river rocks and sticks. While you are gathering up and destroying loose ceremonial bowls, bone effigies, pyres, and so forth, you hear an uncharacteristic splash and gurgling sound from the lake, and, looking ahead through the thick blood rain, you see 11 fish men charging towards you from 90 yards away. They are wielding spears and grotesque looking shields. Thankfully you are not surprised, but now you must declare actions!
  • Round 1
    The fish men collide with your group. On their journey, one of them was struck with Finesstro's 2 magic missiles. 4 of them try to spear Cal and Malcolm, but only one attack lands, dealing Malcolm 3 damage! There are 4 behind the front group with spears but they couldn't attack this round. The remaining three flank around the sides, one beside Cal, one beside Malcolm, and the last closing with John Smith. Caelestis and Malcolm are both successful, Cal whipping one across the shoulder, the weapon unfamiliar to him but deadly. Malcolm slices one of the beasts across the stomach, its hard flesh giving way as a strange blue blood oozes out. No fish have been fried. Daubeny slinks away 12" Declare actions!
  • Round 2
    The fish men have initiative and with two ranks of spears plus one on each flank, our frontline heroes are hard pressed. Cal's silly stats mean nothing still hits him but Malcolm gets double skewered for a total of 12 damage.
    Finesstro scampers away his 9" while John Smith evades blows from the fish man, himself going in for a strike that does nothing!
    Daubeny's sling bullet flies off into the distance.
    Malcolm and Cal both strike true! Cal fells the fish man with his guts coming out while Malcolm garrotes the one with smashed shoulder, though it still stands. One of the fish men in the second rank fills the gap of the fallen one. They all croak and gurgle horrifically at the death of their ally. A cold malice reflects from their dead, lifeless eyes.
    Declare actions!
  • Round 3
    Party Initiative: 3 Monster Initiative: 2
    Finesstro's Magic Missile's hits two different fish men, one wounded one copping a bolt on its shoulder but still standing! The other was definitely hit but seemed relatively un-phased. Cal's swipe misses! Malcolm repositions and does not get an attack this round. The three spearfish in the second rank and the one on Cal's flank all try to stab him, since Malcolm moved, but to no avail. John Smith is hit for 4 damage and his attack does nothing to the beast! Nor does Daubeny's stone seem to have any effect except adding extra stress to his allies. The four fish fingers in the front charge for Cal, trying to overbear him. He fends off two of them, one who happened to be the wounded one, and follows up with one successful attack, smashing it's brain in with a loose flail ball. The two he didn't fend off try to dogpile him - one of them straight up bounces off of him, the other slips down and grabs a hold of his leg. (DM Note: This player chose max height/weight for his character, and because of this, his foes are getting upwards of -50% grappling and overbearing outcomes because of the size difference - future PCs are random or average h/w only!)  He is now slowed and off balance! Grapples get +10% and monsters get +2 to hit him. The creature on Malcolm's flank (hit by Finesstro's missile) pursued him and charged into him, knocking him to his hands and knees for 4 damage (2 real 2 temp, regen at 1/rd). The slimy, nimble, and incredibly strong fish man dropped his weapons and mounted the young ranger, wrangling him into a bear hug and crushing his ribs for 4 damage (1 real, 3 temp, 1 regen/rd). Future rounds for Malcolm will be spent trying to get out of the grapple/turn the situation around. Declare actions!
  • Round 4
    Party Initiative: 2 Monster Initiative: 4
    Before anything happens, John Smith raises his holy cross and calls out a pray to God. The blood rain splatters upon the wooden symbol, soaking into it and degrading its appearance. There is no answer. His opponent tries to capitalise on his distraction but the cleric remained focused and untouched. Two fish men in the second rank tried to stab Cal again and failed, but the one on his flank stabs Caelestis for a whopping 7 damage. Meanwhile, with the fish holding onto his leg, Caelestis is assailed by the other 3 trying to overbear him again - the scent of blood combined with at least one success from their ally driving them into a fishy frenzy. Cal fends off one but soon the dogpile is successful - one grabs his other leg, making him "held by both legs" - +20% to grapple attempts and enemies hit at +4! The last fish staggers him for 2 damage (1 real 1 temp) and follows up by ganging up on one of his legs with the other fish dude. Cal smacks the first fish in the head - it's a whopping blow but the barra sticks to the line and doesn't give up. Old Oily gets up after his handiwork on Malcolm and grabs his spear and shield, preparing to finish off the job, when over the chaotic din the taunts of Finesstro and Daubeny reach his ear holes. None of the fish men pay any heed to these disturbances, and neither does Oily. The fish man flanking Cal spared a glance to the mockery but the scent of blood he just drew is too enticing! Declare Actions!
  • Round 5
    Party Initiative: 3 Monster Initiati
    Traveler's Lake (Artist's Interpretation)

    ve: 2
    Cal hits the first fish that grabbed him and the thing is barely alive, but it is fully entangled around his leg and spasming out. Finesstro and Daubeny take a cautious circle around the melee, and find themselves in a path much like their previous, full of idols, effigies, and other ceremonial items. Malcolm is still blacked out. The 3 fish men on Cal's legs maintain their grip. Their slick oily skin glistening with blood - blood from the sky, blood from their allies, blood from Cal. The four other spearfish all try to lance the Gigachad but this bullshit says they all miss. They will need to fully immobilise him if they want guaranteed hits. Old Oily steps his scaly foot - paw - talon? on Malcolm's back and, as per DMG p70, stabs him through the head twice for 14 damage. Malcolm is dead. Somewhere during this John Smith succeeded a morale check and his opponent failed to hit him again. Declare Actions!
  • Round 6
    Party Initiative: 4 Monster Initiative: 4
    The four standing spearfish try to penetrate Cal's silly protection - one of them does! Cal takes 5 damage. The other 3 continue to hold onto his legs, not seeming to bother with risking losing their hold to get something better. Finesstro and Daubeny simultaneously move further away while they hear the gurgling cry of glee of Old Oily as he plucks Malcolm's dagger from his corpse and begins to run towards you both - he is about 6" away now. John tries to disengage-retreat but his aggressor is Hell bent on putting away this disciple of Christ - he moves with him about 4" away, the two swapping blows but to no avail. Declare Actions!
  • Round 7
    Party Initiative: 6 Monster Initiative: 6
    Cal simultaneously misses his attack while three of the spearfish try again to lance him. The huge giant is unpenetrated - except for one blow which deals 5 damage. The fourth spearfish on his left flank drops its weapons and goes for a grapple, (which Cal can't fend due to being on his shield side) but with a -17 on their d100 roll despite having 3 fish dudes grasping his legs, the best the fish man can do is get a waist clinch which does no damage, but does secure the fishes hold. The Wall has about 900 pounds hanging off him and he's still swinging! Though he cannot counter this grapple due to having his hands occupied. Finesstro and Daubeny both flee along the lake while Old Oily trails behind, a wicked glean in his cold visage, though he is not as fast as the lightly equipped "heroes". John Smith is wise enough not to go rummaging through his pack in the middle of a melee with an undamagable fish man - he tries to disengage, but the fish charges him for an Overbear! The fish man collides so heavily with his scaly shoulder and shield that John is knocked flat and stunned, taking 6 damage (3 real, 3 temp) - he is at 1 real hp, -2 temp hp - unconscious!
  • DMG p40
    Round 8
    Party Initiative: 5 Monster Initiative: 1
    Cal wipes out the wounded fish man on his leg - now only 2 hang off his legs and 1 has a waist clinch, which he couldn't improve upon. The giant man is still in his same vulnerable state due to the gang, and one spearfish lands a measly 3 damage on Cal. John Smith is executed by Slimy Simmons with two quick thrusts to the head - the fishy menace turns to the back of Caelestis now. Finesstro and Daubeny continue their trailing of Old Oily, the leering aquatic humanoid seemingly electrified by their slowing down. Declare Actions!
  • Round 9
    Party Initiative: 3 Monster Initiative: 2
    Cal hits another fish man on his leg - this one was previously wounded and is latching on for dear life now, its blue blood mixing with the blood red rain as the hulking Fighter flails about like a cornered dog. Two of the fish men stab him for a combined 8 damage, while Slimy Simmons disregards his dex bonus, shield bonus, gets a +2 to hit from rear, and a +4 due to him being grappled, for an easy 6 damage to Cal! Meanwhile, the waist clinching wobbegong finally gets a better hold - it's a hand lock! Caelestis no longer has his shield arm! He takes 3 damage (1 real 2 temp) Daubeny and Finesstro move 8.5" while Old Oily moves 9", closing the gap from 9" to 8.5". Declare Actions!
  • Caelestis the Wall
    Round 10
    Party Initiative: 3 Monster Initiative: 2
    Cal clobbers a different fish man before Slimy Simmons, Wrangling Wobbegong, and co. all crank or stab his broken down figure - the man is sent to -9hp (3 temporary) at last, and the fishy fiends croak and splatter with glee over his body. Slimy Simmons grabs the flail and in a stroke of grim irony bashes Caelestis' head in, while the rest of them drink up the blood and suck on the brain matter. While Finesstro and Daubeny continue their journey - some couple hundred yards along the lake edge, quite away from the combat, they notice Old Oily dive into the lake - the surface a thick red colour and unable to be penetrated by eye.

Following this, Finesstro and Daubeny circle back around to the combat site and, upon seeing fish men still there, hauling bodies into the water, they decide to leave this place and return to Underland. Just before they were chased off, they noticed a stone obelisk in the water where the fish men were splashing around - it had strange markings on it.

They make it back to their cart and horses, and begin the journey back to Underland. At the end of the first day (23/10/2022) they rejoin the soldiers they sent home, and match their pace for the rest of the journey, returning to the city on the 25/10/2022, in the late afternoon/early evening: 

"You arrive at Underland on the 25/10/22 - some citizens look on with sorrow as the group of over 100 returns a group of 30, with many heroes lost as well. Some spit at you as walk by, widows calling out for justice for their now broken family. Guardsmen and Cultist Guards stare at you in silence - the former with a pained expression, the latter with a cold and empty gaze. While you pass through, Finesstro, you notice skittering towards you through the throng of people now dispersing a small ferret like creature with an ugly man's face. It's Brown Jenkin. He crawls up your horses leg which almost sends the beast reeling but you calm him down. "Master wishes to speak with you, and he hopes you were successful and that his knife served you well." At this last statement, the ghastly thing lets out a horrific snicker that is equally unsettling as it is inhuman. Before you make it much further, one of the lieutenant's of the troop you took with you leans over and speaks to you both - "Captain Charder will want to hear your account, of both the battle and your proceeding endeavors." He is quiet for a moment and mutters under his breath, "I hope this was all worth it" You are soon left alone in the main street, blood rain pouring about your cart. It is getting dark, and the rain is particularly heavy tonight."

Finesstro goes and briefs Barbanikos on what transpired:

"Barbanikos: "You WHAT!? My prized filleting knife! Stolen by Evil fish men? Your army slaughtered, your greatest fighters executed - what a disaster! But, BUT! Was it? You say you annihilated all of the human cultists, including their high priests? And you destroyed the altar to Blibdoolpoolp? Yes, yes! A great loss indeed but not wasted! Slaying the priests and destroying the altar - good, GOOD! Can you not feel the Sun is a little brighter? Does the Blood Moon not seem little purer? You have taken a score off the clock, this is certain."" 

From this point, it is downtime activities. 

Treasure & XP:

No treasure. XP awarded for the combat from Session 31.5 goes wholly to the survivors. This was scaled by the relative strengths of each side (as per DMG 84). Could this mean that mass battles = mass XP?

Finesstro - 1493XP

Daubeny - 1493XP

Character Performance Ratings: Refer to Session 31 - in general, the survivors Finesstro and Daubeny both behaved Good and shirked courageous brawn, opting for alternatives and self-preservation.

Downtime Requests: Downtime from 26/10/2022

Finesstro - Traveling to Castle Ardenward and informing the Baron that most of his forces have been killed, but that a great victory was achieved. He will see what he can do to help the Baron's domain, and also tell thrilling tales in the Giant's Shin about his allies, Malcolm the Scout, and Caelestis the Wall (ft. John Smith).

Comments: This was the first time we did play by post (only due to circumstance - we had things that needed resolution from last session and there would be no game the following weekend). This caused some friction as what is normally fast and loose and active in the mind became a week-long back and forth. In future, it would be better to simply get on voice-chat and play it as normal. In saying that, some benefits that came from this are:
  • I was much more attentive to rule details since there wasn't the same urgency to keep things rolling as in normal play. E.g. amount of attacks that a shield is effective against, flanking, double checking modifiers for WvAC. This was generally a more accurate combat with fewer mistakes.
  • I was able to adjudicate a group grappling attack, which was epic and something that typically deterred me due to the complexity of it (think: you have 3 guys overbearing 1 guy, so there's those usual modifiers to keep track of. The order matters because if the first guy succeeds it will benefit the following guys. On top of this, the defender (if he has a weapon) gets fending attacks which, if successful, trigger a free attack roll). This was excellent practice to get more comfortable with it.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Session 31 - The Battle at Travelers Lake

Session 31 - The Battle at Travelers Lake

Foreword: This was a campaign milestone - Holgard finally broke the interplanar wall and joined the BrOSR multiverse; a mass battle at 1:10 was fought, and I overcame a personal hurdle of running classed NPCs with spells in combat.

Timekeeping:15/10/2022 - 23/10/2022 Downtime from 24/10/2022

Characters: Finesstro the Nimble, Caelestis the Wall, Malcolm Mount-Batten, Daubeny Jamwine, John Smith [H]

Downtime Adjudication:

Malcolm Mount-Batten (who wasn't at the last session) had a lot of downtime to catch up on. Because of their last huge haul from the ancient ruins below a dwarven lair and immediate sale of a laser robot head to the local high level magic user he was suddenly rich enough in both XP and gold to spend 2 weeks going straight to level 3 Ranger! He rolled 8 and 2hp respectively. On top of this, he paid 1000gp in months of upkeep costs and earned 842gp hunting for 3 months (84 xp at 1:10 ratio) (Note: For downtime activities that earn money I should also include some method of determining if an adverse outcome occurs)

Finesstro [8/10/2022 - 14/10/2022] spent the week selling Comprehend Language casts in the Giant's Shin and made 50gp (5xp)

Caelestis [13/10/2022 - 14/10/2022] lost 6gp wrestling and betting in some old fighting pits - naked in the blood rain and all.

Daubeny [13/10/2022 - 14/10/2022] checks up on his dog that's being trained for him to ride. I rule that this will give him a loyalty bonus later - perhaps a scale of +1% per week spent with the dog, to some cap, is reasonable.

All level 3 party now! The last time this happened it took months because their previous Good PCs were Very Good™ and they did a lot of selfless and non-profitable things. We remarked on the differences - the last PCs had a great reputation and connections to noteworthy people, halved upkeep costs, etc. While these PCs are all exactly where they were in only a few sessions (though a decent amount of real-and-game time has elapsed due to interruptions to regular play).

Session Report:


With the Curse of Lamalla in full swing, the world has become an even harsher and more dangerous place. This session, the game opens up with the players discussing the weather. Some concern is given to the plight of the Underlanders with the recent loss of their Duke and exponential rise to power of a local cult, but, quite surprisingly, Finnestro the Nimble insists that with this insane cosmic event going on, it is their duty to do something about it (and get clout on twitter with the other BrOSR campaigns).

Everyone decides to split and try to find information from their respective information networks - Caelestis goes to the city guard, Daubeny to the Thieves Guild, Malcolm eats a meal at the pub, and Finesstro goes to Barbanikos. Unsurprisingly, asking the City Guard and the Thieves Guild about what to do about the week old cosmic curse didn't yield much - the Guard Captain Charder doesn't think the recent cult activity in the city, with the men who wear a tabard of a half-open eye, was related at all. He even went so far as to say that he believes they fight against this curse. The Thieves Guild are indifferent - the blood rain and diminished sunlight has made general thievery easier to accomplish. 

This leaves Barbanikos (Malcolm didn't offer much as usual). Finesstro cruised over to his idol's gates, and the magical mouthpiece opened. Barbanikos' familiar, Brown Jenkin, answered the call and insisted that The Master was busy and couldn't help Finesstro right now. The mischievous familiar got busted answering his master's calls and soon enough Barbanikos was rambling away to the young magic user about a great cosmic battle that started with a prince's cursed sword in another plane of existence, and ended with Blibdoolpoolp cursing all consenting campaigns for 6 months of bad weather and scary sea monsters.

After Barbanikos' fourth wall breaking spiel and lamentation that Finesstro and co. were less than pawns in a side game of checkers while waiting for your turn in a 4D chess match, he decided to loan the young magic user a magical filleting knife, for slaying whatever aquatic horrors they come across. He also told him that there is bad juju coming from a lake north-west of the city, near Broken Hill. This confirmed all the players suspicions and once they regrouped, everyone agreed it was time to raise a small army and wipe out some cultists.

Caelestis pulls some strings in the Underland Guard, where he has done some downtime as a mercenary Lieutenant, as well as his class training, and gets 20 heavy foot with 2 serjeants, in exchange for a future favour and 1 month enlistment. 


Everyone else heads to Castle Ardenward to the south-east while Caelestis gets to know the troops he is in charge of. The group is on horseback and, besides coming across a heavily armoured merchant caravan on the way, nothing else happens. Finesstro gives a genuinely compelling and heartfelt speech to the Baron about the importance of this mission, and the Baron grants him 60 heavy foot with 6 serjeants, 20 light crossbow with 2 serjeants, and 2 lieutenants. All with 1 week of rations. Finesstro donates 100gp to the village still struggling over a year later to fully get back on its feet after Session 16

17/10/2022 - 19/10/2022

The players and the unmounted soldiers return to Underland without any encounters.

20/10/2022 - 22/10/2022

The citizens of Underland gather at the northern exit as the company, raising the banners of Ardenward and Underland, depart in the early morning to help save the world. Blood rain pelts down upon the backs of the soldiers as they march into the perilous beyond. For three days they trek, with constant blood rain soaking their equipment and breaking their spirits. The players try to rally the troops, but it is to not much avail. The journey wears down on everyone - but it passes without event. The nights are cold, wet, and stressful. Sickly red light from the moon fills everyone with unease. Strange noises carry over the plains.

Eventually they make it to their destination. Looking down from the top of a hill they can just make out Traveler's Lake... And at it is a horrific sight. Strange cyclopean obelisks stand around the lake now, and various robed and naked figures alike perform gruesome rituals in the pouring blood rain. Strange gurgling and splashes erupt in the lake. The party debates sending the thief and ranger down to get a closer look, but this gets scrapped, and they backtrack the whole company 2 miles. Tomorrow they will attack at dawn, as is the age old tradition, and just before this the ranger and thief will try to do a quick scouting mission.

Their night passes without event.


The army begins its march while the scouts shoot ahead and creep down the hill to the open fields by the river below. The thick blood rain and diminished sunlight is in their favour and, creeping 100-200 yards away, they briefly survey the site. There are about 60 cultists, unarmoured, and a tall, armoured man with a flail, who bashes the skull of a sacrifice to a pulp upon an altar. In this case I decide surprise will be sufficient to see if the scouts are noticed and, given the hobbit and ranger rules for this, the two are unnoticed and quickly return to camp, relaying the information. The consensus is that they must attack them, but if something comes out of the water they are to flee. Caelestis is given the command of the troops, being a Fighter 3 experience in the Underland Guard.

We switch to 1:10 for this fight, since Good has about 110 men while Evil has about 60 men, with NPCs as well. They are going to approach in a slight U shaped formation - 2 ranks of heavy foot 4 across, with the two figures of light crossbowmen in the rear. Their plan is to try and get close enough to surprise the enemy that their crossbowmen will get triple rate of fire and be within firing range. 

The Battle at Travelers Lake [23/10/2022]

Note that this was played Theater of the Mind

Good advances down upon Evil. I rule that normal wilderness encounter distance applies (6d4") with a chance for surprise by the party which will dictate when the cultists notice the incoming force. Although the terrain is open, I adjudicate that this is reasonable due to the combination of the cultists being preoccupied, exhausted from a long night of rituals, and having heavy blood rain + mist obscuring the area.

The players make it 14" (140 yards) with 1 segment of surprise (reducing distance to 13") before they are noticed. The crossbowmen and players loose missiles at triple rate of fire with -5 penalty due to long range. Two figures of cultists get annihilated straight away. The next round the army starts to close, covering 6", while the remaining cultists band together after passing morale (their fanaticism and insanity are important here). The party notices about 5 armoured people, including the character from earlier, about 6" behind the group, and they are all wielding grotesque symbols. They begin to chant in some unholy tongue.

The army charges and collides with the cultists while crossbowmen loose. Finesstro casts a Magic Missile at the head cleric (supposedly anyway) and it interrupts his focus! The cultists are almost all annihilated immediately by the armoured and trained troops. There is only 1 figure left after the charge and they receive some sort of unholy blessing as the armoured figures finish their prayer, but it is to no avail - they break morale and flee, getting cut down by free +4 hits from the heavy foot. The party tries to loose some missiles at the priests, who are already fleeing to an altar further around the lake, and a couple shots land but they are generally unscathed. Finesstro has landed his 2 Magic Missiles for the day on the head dude.

The army approaches at their normal speed, cautiously observing the Evil clerics who have begun to chant and are all focused on the tallest among them. He, too, is chanting - but it gets interrupted by a final Magic Missile from Finesstro, who used up a spell scroll for the task! The others complete their chanting by the time the army closes and surrounds the altar, and the party groans as the wounds upon the head cleric are closed. 

Being this close, they notice now that the man is queer in appearance - his face is elongated, his eyes bulbous and have a dead sheen, like that of a fish. The mail beneath his plate breastplate and shoulder-pads seems as if it is his skin. He stares blankly at the adventurers in a brief moment of quiet, the only sound being the droplets of blood rain casting the already ghastly scene in a truly horrific light.

In a dead-pan voice the army and party are warned to leave with their lives now and spare the Evil clerics.

Nobody even considers this and the surrounded and outnumbered clerics are cut down without pause.

Their blood spills upon the altar they were standing on.

Caelestis grabs the head clerics Horseman's Flail which he surmised must surely be magical.

The lake begins to gurgle and churn. Strange groans and croaks echo from within.

Suddenly the screams of men fill the air! The party looks and sees a figure of their army being stabbed and eaten by grotesque fish men who charged from the water, their angler like mouths opening and closing in the air. The army and party turn to run for their lives while more fish men emerge from the lake and cut down more fleeing men. Cooler heads recollect the force into a defensive retreat - Caelestis is at the front line of a figure of heavy foot, brandishing the wizard Barbanikos' enchanted filleting knife (given to him by Finesstro since he's much better suited to use it) and begins slashing at the fish men. Malcolm, the crossbowmen, and the heavy foot join in, but their attacks seem to have no effect as the horrific beasts set upon them with a primordial savagery. Finesstro and Daubeny are fleeing the scene. Caelestis, however, cuts a few of the creatures down - but it is not enough! A few rounds of slaughter occur, with insane morale rolls from the forces of Good fighting though they know it is for naught - for what else are they to do? Flee home while these horrors beset their lands, their homes, and their families? It is this same bravery that causes one figure and its serjeant to intercept the 20 fish men and give the rest of the company a chance to escape.

Out of 100 men plus their leaders, only 30 survived. The adventurers were unscathed. They recollected at their campsite, sending the remaining soldiers home while the party vowed to stay and complete their business here - to see if the fish men linger, and to pick at the possible treasures left behind on the bodies of their enemies. One would hope some plans to thwart Evil are in there but who can say?

The session ended at the date of our next session (a day after really). It was 12:30AM at this point, so we pulled a pin on it and will round off this during the week or at next session.

 Post battle calculations of total HD of troops lost reveals that, despite the horrific ending, the forces of Evil incurred a greater loss... Barely. So it was a minor victory for the forces of Good!

Treasure & XP:

To be evaluated when PCs return to town.

Character Performance Ratings:

Finesstro - (E) - Finesstro behaved well as a Magic User here - preparing appropriate spells, staying in the back ranks, and acting as the ranged artillery/sniper he is meant to be in mass battle, trying to whittle down leaders with his spells. Didn't falter in using his magical scroll to get another opportunity at this. Of special note was his adherence to his alignment, as far as Good is concerned.

Caelestis - (E) - Played heroically and in true leader fashion, fighting among the front ranks and leading his troops. Behaved rationally. Some questionable interactions related to his greed, but ultimately his actions reflected Good.

Daubeny - (E) - Acted as a scout, avoided fighting on the front line. Demonstrated Good in his compassion for the soldiers and the immensity of their task.

Malcolm - (E) - Flowed appropriately between front and back rank; utilised his abilities as a ranger to scout ahead with silence and improve odds of surprise for the company. Was compassionate towards the soldiers.

Downtime Requests: This party is in stasis until 23/10/2022 (the day of the battle).

Comments: It didn't end up meaning much, but finally pushing over the hump of using classed NPCs in combats and managing spells felt like a personal victory. 1:10 finally clicked. When the PCs figures were getting killed by the fish men I should have checked to see if any PCs got killed/damaged. Otherwise it played really smoothly. There was some friction with distances but I believe that, if you are playing Theater of the Mind, good enough with regards to distances is acceptable. This is not to say you can just make it all up - but that aiming to do it right will mean it's right. 1" here or there, is neither here nor there. 

We also finally forced our way into the BrOSR multiverse. Very epic.