Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Residents at the Moathouse

The moathouse which is the “adventuring locale” associated with the Village of Hommelet is not generally regarded as a killer. But it can be. Several waves of PCs have made generally successful forays into the moathouse, and have found that when they make their return expeditions, that new, often tougher monsters have replaced those previously displaced.
A couple new PCs joined the party of “permanent-guests” (or “treasure-hunters” in the local parlance) who have taken up residence in the village inn. These included: Le Pierre, a strong farmer from a smaller village downstream that wondered what the people of Hommelet were putting in the water; and Danderion, an elf from Grey Mountain who didn’t explain what had brought him there.

Fernac the card-shark, glad to make another go of it with some new recruits, offered to “lead” them. When the party (Le Pierre, Danderion, Osric, Aurelia, Mapper, and Fernac) arrived at the moathouse, they saw clear general signs of what was causing problems downstream—a large chunk of wall near the front entrance had crumbled into the water, additional debris had collected, and the main flow of water was being diverted into an expanding mudflat. Frogs were there in abundance and the party prepared for their assault. Well-armed with bows and other missile weapons, the party made short work of the giant frogs. During the fight, they saw an enormous lizard head peak out from inside the courtyard and grabbed one of the larger frogs for itself. After the fight, the party retreated some 20 yards, hoping the lizard would round out its meal with more frogs. But after gobbling down or one two more, the lizard showed its preference for large meat and charged. Le Pierre and Aurelia met the charge, while the others shot arrows into its sides. Both Le Pierre and Aurelia were badly wounded, and the lizard pounced on Aurelia to make a meal of her, again trying to retreat to the courtyard to eat. The party killed it with more arrows, but Aurelia could not be saved.

BIGUANA by Brayo
BIGUANA, a photo by Brayo on Flickr.

The party decided to return Hommelet and invite Lili the fighter to accompany them and, to replace Aurelia, invited the “other” cleric—Fezziwig—to come with them and left Mapper the thief at home.

In their second foray, the party mode cautiously but quickly across the debris and into the courtyard and then through the courtyard into the house. They scouted the rooms on the ground level. There were signs of recent structural damage, including a hole in the ceiling of the main hall. After spotting some glowing red orbs that they wanted to avoid, they decided it was time to go down. This proved difficult. The stairs were burned out. And after they threw down some burning brush to illuminate the place below, they began hearing an unearthly wailing sound, from an unseen source. They retreated to the main hall to discuss their next course of action. There they noticed some small rocks falling through a hole in the ceiling. And then the face of a wild looking man with flecks of bloody flesh in his beard. And the claws of lion. And wings. Le Pierre rushed to meet the beast and was knocked to the floor. The rest of the party closed in with melee weapons to rescue the monster and kill the beast. At Lili’s suggestion, they found a way to climb onto the roof and found a bronze statue of a meditating figure, obviously valuable, and not impossible to carry back to Hommelet.

They sold the statue and bought bows and suits of chainmail. They also bought a rope ladder. They brought the ladder back to the moathouse, nailed it into place. Again, the shrieking started. Fernac offered to climb down into the cellar. After a few steps immediately climbed back up. Why? Something undead. Something that Fezziwig couldn’t turn and that wasn’t injured by normal weapons. Fernac let Lili borrow his magic dagger. She stabbed the creature before getting dragged down into the hole.

The survivors returned to Hommelet. They bought silver arrows, silver daggers, and each received a vial of holy water from the church of Saint Bocrates. They recruited Gunthar, a fighter. And back to the moathouse.

This time the undead creature was met with a volley of silver arrows and put to flight. They pursued, Fernac recovering his dagger. They moved into the area where some of them had been held prisoner, and then through a door secreted in a large pillar in the torture chamber. Another volley of arrows followed the creature down the shaft inside the pillar and they killed it. At the bottom of the pillar, they found a crypt—and more undead. Four of them, not as deadly as the half-ghost thing, and vulnerable to regular weapons, but deadly enough to kill Osric and severely injure Fernac. After the four ghouls were destroyed, the party returned to Hommelet for a long rest.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The End of the Black Flower Gang (presumably)

After being stymied in their investigation into the death of Hardtack, the party agreed to a more straightforward endeavor: attack the Black Flower Gang in their new stronghold, an old manor house in the ruins of the city. The manor house, built at least 50 years ago for a foreigner known as Lord Jourdain, had sent empty for decades, until last year when Beatriss and Tetsikichi, while searching for a missing person, had lifted its cursed and killed many of its monstrous inhabitants, allowing more-or-less free access, at least to the aboveground rooms.

The Dirty Rain Gang moved in and claimed right of possession. Immediately they began restoring the old House to serve clients for gambling, drinking, prostitution, and more. They made good money until recently when the Black Flowers showed up one night and forced them out. The survivors of that attack wanted revenge, and Kura, a rising star in the Dirty Rain was eager to lead them.

There were some who knew they were in over their heads, and getting wind of B&T’s history with the Black Flowers, made a persuasive “enemy of my enemy” argument. Beatriss did ask, “But are the Dirty Rain guys really any better?” Tetsukichi, however, liked the idea and won out.

incandesant bulb salutation by Brayo
incandesant bulb salutation, a photo by Brayo on Flickr.

Again, I used SBH rules to conduct the battle. About 30 Dirty Rain guys were committed to the plan, and they divided into three groups, one led by Kura, one led by Tetsukichi, and one led by Mayro (a PC, more on him later.) Beatriss assumed a limited role, protecting the retreat route. Each group had a battering room, and the two groups moved their rams into position while taking limited casualties. Although the Dirty Rain members were easily scattered whenever one of their number fell under the Black Flower’s crossbows, there were enough DRs that they eventually broke down the gates to the house. Once this was achieved, they stole their way into the courtyard one-by-one or in small groups. Instead of targeting them, the BFs trained their crossbows on the leaders and several of them—Tetsukichi, Al-Fitar, and Golfo all looked like they were going to have a bad day and had to crawl to safety among the debris outside the house.

Mayro did make it into the courtyard, and into the house itself; he amassed a large group on the ground floor and planned a mass charge. Finally the Black Flowers, realizing that they would have no choice but to face their attackers in hand-to-hand combat rushed down the stairs. They were tough, and well-practiced at fighting in groups, but they were out-numbered almost 3-to-1, and were slowly, but steadily crushed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Deadly Chances

Fu Ying, a former hireling of Tetsukichi until he found that his true calling was taking care of giant centipedes, appeared one morning on his former employer’s doorstep. One of the other centipede trainers, Fu Ying’s mentor and friend, a rough-hewn, but decent man whose name is best-translated as “Hardtack,” had been killed the night before. Or maybe early that morning. No one knew much, just that he had ended his shift at the Myriadome early, the cash box was later found to be missing, and that morning he was found in the ruins, dead and mangled by animals. As far as Fu Ying could tell, the management seemed genuinely upset, and not just about the missing cash box. But he and the other workers were afraid to ask too many questions, so maybe Tetsukishi and his friends, as outside agents, might be able to figure out what happened. Back to Fun Town!

Manchu Woman Front by danielle.kane
Manchu Woman Front, a photo by danielle.kane on Flickr.

That evening, Tetsukichi, Beatriss, and their companions had a really good day at the races. Despite their good luck, they were popular with the crowd and the management as they spent most of their winnings on beer and meat-on-a-stick, including a few rounds for new friends. One bookie glommed onto them and kept them going with compliments and good-natured, if not especially humorous, jokes. Just as they were leaving, they exchanged a few words about “the sad thing that happened.” Neither side let much information, except that the bookie stated, that in his opinion, although Hardtack did place personal bets on the races—a discouraged practice—it was unlike him to steal. He very much valued his job and respected his fellows in the organization too much. And although the management was strict and sometime harsh, their personnel policy would prefer beating a man senseless in public as an example to others, rather than killing him in secret. But most of all, he was glad they had a good time enjoying the unique sport of centipede racing and hoped to see them again.

They went back a second night, and had another good time, this time staying until close with hopes of following the workers home to see if anyone else might get attacked. But the guards of Fun Town shooed them out. On their way out, they stopped in a small tavern catering to clerks; an old man bought them drinks and asked them to join his book group. Also on the way out, Tetsukichi, spotted, from the corner of his eye, a young woman jumping off the top of a two-story building. They searched the alley and found no trace of her.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Is there anything more old school than missing game night because you've just been sick with a fever for two days and "you don't want to get a relapse now do you?"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Siege of Quitokai Part II

Untitled by Flash Parker
Untitled, a photo by Flash Parker on Flickr.

The attacking marauders lost two more wolves, four archers, and eight spearman. Meanwhile, the outnumbered defenders have lost 5 village militia/scouts. Again this was using Songs of Blades and Heroes rules to resolve a "D&D battle." In light of the high casualities for the bad guys, I'm questioning my system for converting D&D stats to SBH stats. But of course, that's usually the way things go in D&D-- all the monsters get killed and one PC gets wounded! It just takes longer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

under the wizard's tower

nur das feuer? by Brayo
nur das feuer?, a photo by Brayo on Flickr.

We worked some more with the riddle, learned a new word (widderschynnes) and figured out how to open the secret door. The entire staircase pivoted away from the wall, revealing a narrow hole inside the wall of the tower itself. It went down, and the party descended. (Minus Strathbogie who is recuperating from a bad bite from a zombie wolf.)

Below the wizard's tower, the party found a maze trapped with pits and glyphs. At the center of the maze, there was a metal statue that came to life whenever someone was incapitated by a trip. The statue "rescued" the trap's victim and marched them back to the small room at the base of the tower.

flash by Brayo
flash, a photo by Brayo on Flickr.