Lankhmar 1.07: The Disturbed Duke, part two: We Love Sewers!

The characters for this session (all sitting on plenty of AP itching to spend it):

Rogar, a mariner [L2 Warrior, sword and shield]

Snorri, a northern barbarian [L1 Warrior, axe and shield]

Dokrah, a Keshite [L1 Rogue, talent = locks & traps]

Pras, a freeman scribe [L1 Rogue, talent = fraud]

When we left our crypt crawlers (part one) Rogar was about to slither down into the bowels of an abattoir’s slop-chute, and the four needed to compare options for methods of breaking into Duke Danius’ compound, and select one to pitch to their client, Avish, the Duke’s son.

Rogar reports that the chute leads only to an oubliette. Then heads off to a bath draw for him by the missus of the group’s host, a northern barbarian and ex-hearthguard who along with his five fellows has taken over the mansion of their deceased master Gen-Gen.


Options for the taking

Pending more research the option of digging a tunnel from the mansion is attractive but difficult. More tunnels must lie betwixt, and Pras (or more correctly Lee-Na his researcher) can probably locate them.

Dokrah reports on his surveillance. As noted last time, while there are definitely gaps in the watch the task of quickly and quietly escalading is a tough one.

Another idea is to stage a distraction or decoy, infiltrate openly with the barbarians as hirelings, and go from there. A variant on that is to sneak in unsuspected – the old “hidden in the laundry” but in reverse.

A fourth option, as Pras notes, is to take the money paid thus far and fade away.

A straw poll, or single-transferable-vote, reveals the tunnel plan as the highest preference – pending more information!


Sewers are go!

It’s time to get that extra research! Pras rushes, sarong flapping at his ankles, to the Great Library and pays a fat bonus for intense and immediate research. Lee-Na has a stroke of luck or brilliance [the GM does not show his dice but DAROs four times] and describes a nearby main sewer, which connects to a foul inflow from the Great Swamp, which will put the party directly below the basement level Lee-Na has already sketched out!

The next “meet” with the client is already lined up – hence the urgency – and at the Golden Lamprey, Pras as spokesman pitches the idea. He adds that the “digging up” element will work a lot better if Avish can employ a mage with the ability to scry beyond rock and earth…

Avish agrees – though the attack is not locked in until the next “ready” meeting – and hands over the agreed thousand and repays expenses so far.


Divide the tasks and rule them!

Snorri buys mead and heads back to the mansion. After a few drinks have been shared the chief is happy to agree the four can use the mansion as base, and the northerners will hire on as workmen and guards. His missus is also OK with the four staying. There’s a lot of junk to be cleared out…

Dokrah takes a fat money pouch to an upmarket toolsmiths street and buys a half-dozen of this and that, such as picks, shovels, buckets, pry bars, rope and so on. The art of haggle is not in Dokrah and the merchant is very happy. [Rolls a fail, incurring a surcharge “Oh that’s right, I had forgotten that amount…”] A barrow of gear soon heads towards the mansion…

Pras and Rogar, who was a mariner, head to the south docks to procure baulks of timber for the tunnel. Rogar finds a man who understands timber and Pras explains the “no questions asked and a bonus for speed” aspect. Rogar is convincing [L1 CHR SR, makes L6] and the sturdy ship timber is soon on its way to the mansion…

Later, in the basement after sleep has refreshed everyone, Pras looks through junk that the others sorted into piles looking for poisons or acids. He finds that one of the many scrolls appears to be a Vorpal Blade spell [L3 LK SR, fails by three, opts for ‘fail forward’] and tucks it away. All he needs is to spend 550AP and his DEX will be high enough to cast it!



The work gangs prepare: gear is piled in. Then the northerners, ably assisted by Snorri Rogar and Pras [the latter proving surprisingly sturdy with a L3 STR SR] pry away the bricks on the west basement wall and tunnel westward. After some five yards, brick is struck. This is the sewer sidewall. Blocks are chipped out and pried away carefully by Rogar and Dokrah. The tunnel has emerged in the upper part of the sewer tunnel with a long drop into the sewer.

“This is a good thing,” Pras explains (he tends to see the upside in things). “We don’t want things wandering the sewer to wander into the basement! A rope ladder” – he nods at Rogar – “can be used here.”

Rogar sets about using the lengths already acquired and soon fastens a good rope ladder in place.

Party order:

  • Snorri and Rogar, melee ready. Both are fully geared though Roger is using his medium loadout. 
  • Pras (with a lantern fastened at least a foot below the tip of a 10’ pole) then Dokrah with bow. Both are armored and well armed.
  • Two northerners, in a shift



The sewer is knee-deep. The six-man team advances warily. For example, when a dim light is seen ahead, the party’s lantern is masked and Dokrah is sent forward alone. (It proves to be a grate up to a private garden.) The sound of in-pouring water from a side tunnel signals what Pras has expected, a branch east that will lead to the actual site. Stationing the two-man hireling detail there, the party presses up and along the side-tunnel.

It is smaller, so Rogar leads doing more probing, Snorri second. Above the existing odour, Rogar picks up the stench of the inflow. It gets worse as the party nears it. A fetid stream dribbles into the tunnel from the north. Luckily, this is merely a marker. Taking his prepared 35’ length of rope Rogar moves forward (Pras still lighting his way) while Dokrah anchors the rope and Snorri guards Dokrah.

At the end of the rope, the pair study the tunnel roof: it is arched brick. They will need a scaffold to dig upward.

Now to sell the detail plan to Avish!


The plan is sealed

At the Golden Lamprey once more the four Avish has been better than his word: he has already lined up a wizard who can scry the stonework! Avish and his bondservant go with the entire party back along the whole course, along the sewers, and to the target. He agrees with the plan, stipulating that he will give the final go-ahead. He will station himself at the mansion as well, to effect his sister’s escape.

Avish again recompenses expenses and takes himself away to wait for the penultimate stage.

The party throw themselves into the task of assembling the scaffold – quietly – and getting up below the fortress floor. Rogar and Dokrah manage the scaffold well, Pras seems to have Mole-man heredity [L5 STR SR for the digging work]. Once flagstone is struck the mage is summoned.

“I see… a room, cluttered, dark. There is a door.”

This sounds ideal – the description matches one of the more distant chambers in Lee-Na’s plan of the basement. The wizard shambles away and Avish hands over his seal, which will entitle the party to the final payment. Dokrah nimbly tucks it away [elected ‘party cockroach’ ie the member most likely to survive]

Snorri and Rogar ease the massy flagstone up [Rogar L2 DEX SR] and shift it and Dokrah clambers up!


Exploring the basement

Dokrah can scarce contain himself from going full burglar but Pras’ cooler head reels him in. The northerners – all six – are brought forward to the chamber and the party readies itself for the next stage. Equipment is checked and a light meal consumed and then, as fresh as they can be, they begin.

Dokrah persuades the locked door open. A stone-walled passage lies before the party, and if the map is to be trusted, stand at the foot of a Y-plan, the left arm (closed by a door) leading to one set of chambers, the right arm (open) to another set.

Further exploration reveals that the right arm leads to an empty set of cells and a strongroom. The latter door is too tough for Dokrah so the next option is the left passage. Dokrah works on that door’s lock.


Into action!

Immediately the door is opened the situation changes. Somewhere beyond the immediate passage in front of Dokrah is a light!

Being the silent pair, Dokrah leads and Pras follows. Dokrah’s keen ears [IQ SR] pick up pacing. He signals. The pair draw saps and creep forward to the cover of a corner. [Creeping is easy for Dokrah with +5 from cat-burglar] The sound of wood straining is audible. [Another IQ SR] Pras signals the sequence of play then thief-rolls forward while Dokrah waits one heartbeat then steps around swinging his sap.

The tactic nearly works: the Mingol guard’s arrow skitters off the wall above Pras [L2SPD with roguery bonus!] but Dokrah’s swing is blocked. The Mingol shouts the alarm!

Snorri races from where he and Rogar have waited and uses his shield to bull-rush the Mingol into the passage wall. Rogar races past him and guards the next junction. Pras and Dokrah draw lethal knives and begin shivving the Mingol to death – Pras’ idea was for a prisoner but the saps didn’t work so this guard needs to be silenced!

And as the session closes, Rogar notes a barred door, from whence a young woman’s voice is calling!


This was a well-paced session with three of the four players actively chipping in. Snorri’s player split his time between game and mobile phone so missed out on AP – and more seriously, had to have the tacticals explained to him twice. Not good.

We used minis for the sewers and passages, switching a few standard gridded “dungeon passage” tiles around. We are using 1:72 plastic minis – I’ve provided a mix of Caesar Miniatures adventurers and various medieval and ancient minis as seems appropriate. At that scale you don’t obsess over an exact look. To represent my 10’ pole with lantern I grabbed a female wizard with bright-knobbed staff!

The GM awarded AP for a couple of roleplayed exchanges that averted or stood in for a regular SR. This is good practice. A pet peeve of mine is roleplaying an exchange then being told to make a roll anyway.

There were some good rolls around the table (the GM’s DARO four times for Lee-Na did not result in AP but was a stand-out) with Pras getting the benefit of an open-ended SR a couple of times. To balance that up Pras and Dokrah rolled a few stinkers. Luckily, not when it really mattered in combat! Lots of AP is ready to unleash should characters survive.



Posted in Lankhmar | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lankhmar 1.06: The Disturbed Duke, part one!

The characters for this session:

Rogar, a mariner [L2 Warrior, sword and shield]

Snorri, a northern barbarian [L1 Warrior, axe and shield]

Dokrah, a Keshite [L1 Rogue, talent = locks & traps]

Prasimion, a freeman scribe [L1 Rogue, talent = fraud]


To advertise, without painting a target on ourselves?

The four caper cronies spend a time recovering and eking out the monies in the general loot (see 1.05 Crypt caper). Then, in the day of Scorpion:Hare, they form a consensus to have Lee-Na assess the urn so that they can make a bill of sale with some authority.

He pronounces it genuine. He and Pras write up the bill of sale. Then, having agreed that Snorri’s fence Renago is less likely to cheat than Dokrah’s fence, Snorri and Pras approach Renago.

Pras’ point of view is to sell the urn as soon as possible to the next rung up the underworld ladder, rather than being dazzled by the 50+ gluditch true value Lee-Na estimates.

Cash is always acceptable thanks!

Pras does a lot of the talking, which is why he is there, and his point of view prevails. He fixes Renago with the idea of doing ongoing business, as well. A second meet at which Renago actually inspects the urn [Pras makes a good CHR SR for bargaining] settles on 4,000 gold rilk as the sale price. A third meeting [Pras manages a L1 CHR SR] keeps Renago honest and the 4k is handed over in four bags!

The new falchion is my balanced investment plan – check out the balance!

Once Lee-Na’s cut is taken off that leaves each adventurer with 850. When Pras mentions he will invest most of his gold, the idea catches on with Dokrah and Snorri, and they all three create a balanced investment plan with Hurik of the Merchants Consortium. Rogar also invests, but in better armour and weapons. He sports a dashing and deadly falchion.

[The GM permits rulebook upgrades to gear, excepting Dwarven Smith quality. The investments may begin to pay off in a couple of months’ game time. Pras and Dokrah also upgrade weapons and armour where they can – they can’t afford to lose DEX or clank around in metal armour! Snorri is fairly happy with his current armoury. Pras also upgrades to a better cloak and meets one of his contacts, a laundress named Verna.]

A mission calling for ingenuity and violence is our cup of tea…

A couple or so days later Renago mediates a meeting between the cronies and a mystery patron, advancing a purse each as surety for discretion. The Golden Lamprey bouncers wenches and whores all look more up-market than the four are accustomed to!

For their part the four attract curious stares. For reasons best known to himself and his victims Dokrah has armoured up before setting foot out of the Goosedown Inn, causing Pras and Snorri to paranoically hurry back and do the same. They look very out of place as a group! [The GM has made the general expected level of dress clear but Dokrah’s player ignores this so Snorri’s player and I role-play along with this🙂]

Following directions to the second door on the left upstairs the four meet Avish, scion of an aristocratic house. He reiterates the deal (of silence) and narrates a tale of the Mad Duke Danius.

Danius holes up in a fortress in the aristo quarter of his own building. He has manned its defences mainly with Mingols, dismissing most previous men at arms. Few of his old household staff remain.

Danius holds Lessie, Avish’s step-sister, against her will and intends to marry her! According to Danius’ own admission she is held in dungeons beneath the fortress.

Avish of course wants her freed. His offer is an advance, more gold when a viable plan is presented, and more on completion. However, there is only a week at most to prevent the wedding!

The cronies ask a few more questions – though Pras is sold already – then accept. They receive 1000 rilk between them as initial payment.

Actually being ingenious is more of a stretch!

It’s time to come up with a plan. But it has to be feasible! So, a two-day research period is agreed.

  • Pras imagines there will be any number of tunnels beneath the present-day fortress and sub-contracts Lee-Na to do that research in the Great Library.
  • Rogar heads to the Slayers Brotherhood to listen out for disgruntled ex-retainers who can betray a good way in.
  • Dokrah and Snorri observe the fortress while acting innocuous, attempting to pick up routines and weak points.

After they reconvene Rogar recounts how, in their recent personal history, Snorri slew the Wizard Gen-Gen and left his hearthguard, all northern barbarians, living in the mansion which is an arrow-shot from the fortress. Once Lee-Na hands over a plan of tunnels, Snorri heads over to the mansion to ask about renting space or a work crew. He brings a keg of brandy as a conversation-starter. In the brandy-riddled conversation the idea of working out of the mansion spins a little sideways but the main goal is achieved.

Above or below, which way will we go?

Snorri brings Rogar and Pras back with him that night for a second visit, bringing a second keg. The hearthguards’ terms are agreed and they investigate the basement level. It offers easy tunneling assuming baulks of timber are purchased and used to shore the tunnel up. Elsewhere in the mansion grounds a slop-chute from the abattoir offers a possible route to the cesspit systems below.

Meanwhile Dokrah cat-burglars his way up to a vantage point and observes the fortress. He sees the way food is pullied up to the keep, counts sentries and notices each curtain-tower is only guarded by one guard, with three shift changes.


And before the four can meet and make a decision, the session ends.

About half the session was spent in managing the sale of the urn. Since it could have gone horribly wrong I rate that half as a success and the GM handed out a fair amount of bonus AP for it.

Buying gear is usually fun but equipment is a bit of a distraction. Rogar has three levels of armour he could choose from, which when you think of it is the same as when we had a spaceship to work out of, not an inn with doors that lock. Even I, humble crooked scribe that I am, now have four pointy weapons and can choose to strap a buckler on my arm.

I have run Citadel of Fire, also setting it in a larger city, for this group and being on the other end of such a challenge [the two fortresses are similar in design] is really interesting. The timeline (pitch a feasible plan to the patron on day 3, then the next 3 days to finish) is tighter for this group.

AP for ideas pitched was generous – our GM says he is still finding the right balance for AP – and should there be a down period, more of the group will hit Level 2.


Posted in Lankhmar | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lankhmar 1.05: Crypt caper

The characters at the start of the session:

Rogar, a mariner [L2 Warrior, sword and shield]

Snorri, a northern barbarian [L1 Warrior, axe and shield]

Dokrah, a Keshite [L1 Rogue, talent = locks & traps]


For those who came in late…

After a few capers in Lankhmar, city of the black toga, the lads at the Goosedown Inn have gained enough notoriety to be offered employment. Lee-na the librarian becomes their patron, or partner. His terms are 15% of all swag, plus the satisfaction of revenge on Koh-vik.

Koh-vik the wizard had hired Lee-na to research the whereabouts of the crypt of an overlord of old. Then, had Lee-na brutally beaten!

Warning them that Koh-vik has hired Ilthmar cutthroats, Lee-na provides them with some basic directions for the caper and retires behind the scenes.

The lads set up a base at the widow Twankey’s, an accommodating matron. From there they deduce that the rat cultists of Ilthmar are but the muscle for a crossdressing adventuress they have encountered before now. They decide to let the opposition explore the passages, and set off the traps, while they follow.


Abort attempt, and a new recruit

Easily distracted, the lads almost immediately turn aside to explore a side passage and an interesting cascade of water. Dokrah falls in and barely survives, leaving them with no light.

After much effort Dokrah and the lantern are recovered and at the Kleshite’s insistence they return to the widow Twankey’s.

As Dokrah gently steams in the widow’s pulchritudinous embrace Rogar spots a scribe he once obtained forged papers from. The broad-shouldered fellow shows the hollow cheek and hungry eye of one seeking employment!

Introducing Prasimion, a freeman scribe [L1 Rogue, talent = fraud]

Prasimion has the caper explained to him and joins for the loot and fun. He also bargains the widow into advancing them fresh lantern oil for 15 gold on their return. They all set off once more!


University challenge!

Lee-na’s description again leads the four blaggers east then south. South is the general import of the description provided which runs something like “south, down then up, the dead guard the way”. So while a couple of side-tunnels tempt them they stick on mission this time. A previously-located crawl-height tunnel extends the search south, and Rogar, easily the most agile, crawls ahead with the lantern.

He finds a room where three crawl-tunnels exit some 8’ above stone cauldrons. Some dark liquid fills the one below. An obvious trap! Order is rearranged and Snorri is lowered down. As he begins to test the cauldron he finds handholds below the crawlspace. With those, the descent becomes easy. Testing the liquid in the nearest with the end of a rag, Snorri says:

“This is probably flammable. I think I’ll light the rag and see what happens”

“And your doctorate of Alchemy is from…?” Prasimion murmurs sarcastically, and the lighting is abandoned [and thank heaven there was no naked flame ready for Snorri to act on his whim!]

Taking the crawl-tunnel that continues south the four next encounter a stream, possibly an old sewer. Following that as south-tending as possible, they find the body of one of the rat cultists. He has been killed by something that delivered an enormous impact. The body lies in the stream just below a flight of steps east.

Prasimion loots the body while the others study the steps. It looks as though they lead up to a crypt! And the directions include the phrase “the dead guard the way”.

Testing the steps by tossing the body up onto it, they find that the trap is an immense stone slab that punches down the steps then retracts. Rogar is lightly injured in the test.

“Hydraulic power!” Snorri explains confidently.

“And your doctorate of Hydromancy is from…?” Prasimion asks sarcastically.

Dokrah locates the trigger step and the crypt is gained! But the opposition have been there long since, as is evident from the open crypt-stone in the floor.


A careless step or two

Down a deep shaft the four follow, to another stream. Following the most likely direction the four at length find themselves at a left-turning corner of ancient black basalt, marked by a skull. Footprints of the opposition are fresh! After checking they are not right on top of the opposition, Prasimion decides to wave his hand in front of the skull to test if it is a trigger. He steps on the actual trigger and is nearly bisected by a huge scythe blade that whips out horizontally.

Ruefully picking himself up Prasimion checks his fine silk padding armour, and counts his arms and legs. All there!

“That must have been powered by hydraulics” Snorri explains, to which Pras’ normal rejoinder is made.

Dokrah checks for where the trigger was and sets the trap off again! He too picks himself up and counts limbs.

Having definitely located the trigger plate the four close in on the opposition, wading quietly through water which, ominously, is draining away quite rapidly.



The opposition have reached something that sets another trap off and all of the drained water of the level roars out from wherever the opposition have reached. An expeditious retreat ensues!

“Hydraulics!” Snorri screams as he runs.

“Doctorate from where…” Pras pants in response

The four race back to the scythe-trap corner and ready themselves for a surprise attack. It works perfectly to the extent that all four surprise the adventuress, and put her down. The remaining opposition are two ratmen (one burdened with a large gold urn) and a wizard.

Snorri takes a TTYF from the opposition’s wizard (Koh-vik, presumably) and goes berserk with a salmon-leap over the trap and cultists. Pras distracts one cultist while Rogar and Dokrah focus on the other. The Wizard is slain!

Quickly putting paid to the other two the next challenge is to avoid drowning! The rushing water is now chest high on most of the group. Pras drags the adventuress with them but eventually she is swept away. Dokrah drops the lantern while Snorri flings his axe up to a high ledge.

Once the water ebbs away the group return to pick up any heavy loot, Snorri’s axe, and once again retrieve the lantern. With the urn, a slim purse, and some heavier blades, they retire to the widow Twankey’s!


Comments and explanation

The Lankhmar universe applies to this campaign but the rules are Tunnels and Trolls deluxe edition (TTd). It is chosen by the GM for the campaign, SM, for its fast pace, versatility and ease of play.

TTd is somewhat like D&D5E in allowing various rule modules to be used or dropped. SM’s chosen tweaks drop the human advantage in SRs and keep backgrounds/talents very simple with +3s to some rolls and attributes. He also modifies the TARO chargen rule to a flat +10 to that attribute where a triple is rolled. As a result, Rogar is L2 with DEX of 20. [Rolled triple 2, added one for the house rule of minimum 7, added 3 for Warrior choice of attribute gain talent, added 10 for triple].


AP= adventure points. Spend 10 per current attribute to advance.

DARO=doubles add and roll over

Rogue=weapon and spell using class not specialized in either but having sneaky talents. May know a spell (Dokrah does not and Pras does for example).

SR=saving roll, a roll of 2d6 added to the relevant attribute, DARO

TARO=triples add and roll over

TTYF=Take that you fiend, the standard attack spell

Warrior=Weapon using class, able to wield weapons better (level bonus) and use armour much better (double, at discretion)

Wizard=Spell using class, knowing a range of spells and able to cast cheaply



Obviously I have come in late after a long holiday, but managed to fit in after the lads retreated from the dungeon. I noticed players thinking of an idea were being given the challenge and resulting AP, rather than the group deciding which member(s) ought to be attempting it, and influenced a slightly different balance, encouraging fit-for-purpose work. As a result I got less AP than I might have since I came up with lots of things for the others to try. It was a fun session though.

The traps were not over-deadly, which was lucky because I had forgotten, yet again, how imprecise SM’s descriptions can be. He didn’t mention the skull being opposite, on the outside corner while we were in cover at the near corner. Dokrah and Pras were down to 2 CON before the fight, Snorri dropped to 1 CON at taking the TTYF, and Rogar lost a couple from the stone block then took all 3 spite damage for us.

Posted in Lankhmar | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

TI1.13: Beneath the swamp ruin!


The characters for this session:

Fennec, Level 2 wizard (no specialty)

Cauleigh, Level 2 warrior (background: literate townsman)

Jotunn, Level 5 warrior (background: hunter; talent: tracker)

Crompton, Level 2 rogue (background: Runebearer; talent: roguery)

Glossary of spell short-hands:

KK: knock-knock, for opening locks

OGA: oh go away, forces weaker foes to flee or stronger foes to go for the caster

OTIS: Oh there it is, for detecting invisible stuff

PP: protective pentagram, impervious barrier around caster

TTYF: take that you fiend, inflicts caster’s IQ x level cast

WoW: will o’ wisp, 1 candlepower cold light, directable

Zap: zappathingum [or zapparmor] tripling effect


Aftermath of the battle for Jake’s town

The justifiers of Jake’s town assess wounds and take counsel among themselves as to striking while the iron is hot, warmish or cold.

Crompton is in low health, Fennec is lightly wounded and Cauleigh and Jotunn have suffered mere nicks. It’s decided then. Some scouting to see if the Lizardman are rallying.

A couple of hours later sees Jotunn, with bow, and Cauleigh, with arbalest, scaling the nearest ridgeback. The Lizardmen split up and regathered but as they travel with wounded, and have toted dead humans on makeshift stretchers, Jotunn has been equal to them. Now, the westering sun lights the swampland below and they glimpse the wake of a group travelling directly to where the ruined temple must lie.

Meanwhile Fennec supervises rebuilding work and Crompton rests (and cleans and puts an edge on his knives) and makes unhelpful suggestions about working a bit harder. And a stranger is sighted!

“Is it a Lizardman?” – Crompton

“Aiehh, could be!!!” – panicked lookout


News from the south

But it’s not. Jotunn and Cauleigh arrive back to find Jake’s town is hosting an emissary from Sir Cully. Bergamot, weather-beaten and a stranger to regular bathing, tells them he is a mounted scout or ‘pricker’ for Sir Cully.

Aside from checking on them and having something north to do with Evrard, he passes on a message.

“Seems a couple of Elves might have headed into the swamp, so if you see trace of them their people would like to know” – Bergamot

“Bet I know which Elves? One a spell-slinger?” – Fennec

“Aren’t they all?” – Bergamot

“And the other good at tricky fighting?” – Fennec

“Carries a fancy knife, is what I know” – Bergamot

“I sincerely pray they die horribly and painfully” – Fennec

“Yer, well if you find their corpses there’s important people as would like ‘em returned” – Bergamot


The Dwarves pay an earring and travel by punt

Having taken further counsel, the four head off to their friendly fisherfolk headman, Pedrocollo. They pay him a shiny earring (unvalued) from the Ravenwood loot and secure guides and a punt for the water route to the temple.

It’s dawn and swamp mist lies at gunwale level as their guides bid them farewell and Jotunn directs Crompton and Fennec to pole towards where the temple must lie. He and Cauleigh are fully armoured, despite the peril should their punt tip. Silence is the watchword!

With a squamous croaking four flaccid flying creatures swoop! Jotunn manages a near-miss with his bow and the creature is kept at bay but the other three have a flying bloodsucking rat at their neck! Cauleigh bashes himself as he deals with his, and Fennec loses some blood, before they are dealt with. [Players are beginning to realize how hard targeting can be]

Suffering no further incident, they reach a wooded and ivied knoll where ruined columns mark the temple. A huge statue stands in still water beyond. Jotunn ties the punt up securely and they clamber up.


They plunge urgently into action!

With due caution the four scout around. There is something for all to find: Jotunn spots a dormant croc; Cauleigh spots an ivy-concealed entrance; Fennec determines that the temple is builded of impermeable stone and may extend far below water level; and Crompton finds a lever concealed with drifted leaves and dirt. [Excellent SRs all round, everyone contributes!]

Still as silently as possible, they assign tasks around. Jotunn baits the croc and as it rushes them, it is dispatched. Then Cauleigh investigates the entrance. Ivy conceals a steep flight of steps down, and faint sounds can be heard: so this is indeed a Lizardman lair!

Once he is sure everyone is ready and not before, Crompton operates the lever. The barking growl of surprised Lizardmen is music to Cauleigh’s ears and he plunges in – and barrel-rolls helplessly down at least 30’ of stone steps, landing on a pair of Lizardmen.

That would be the end of his career, but luckily Cauleigh has loyal comrades! Fennec activates a WoW and by its faint light Crompton dashes down and crash-barges one Lizardman. Jotunn and Cauleigh deal with the other, then all three slay the one Crompton has distracted. Two Lizardmen bounties!


Down to the depths: they enter epic battle!

A series of mostly-safe chambers and steps leads to a bending tunnel and a broad galley. The Lizardman hold the galley and can pitch javelins at any Dwarf cold enough to show themselves. By a stroke of misfortune, a javelin finds a chink in Jotunn’s armour and he is sore hurt. Then a pair of Lizardmen attack from behind!

Using stunts and swift thinking they deal with this most urgent threat then charge the galley. It’s at this time that Crompton discovers that his throw-blades are powerfully enchanted! [Each is a Zap weapon.] Crompton slides under the surprised Lizardmen and backstabs them as Jotunn Cauleigh and Fennec deal with their front. Two remain and with an OGA and some good footwork they are felled as well. Eight Lizardmen bounties!


The battle tips against the Dwarves: Crompton falls!

Buoyed by success they push on, find the galley turns then widens, with two exits. Here, Lizardmen have a chance to attack on two fronts and do so. One dies immediately as the Arquebus bellows! Crompton makes a bold stunt only to have it go horribly wrong, takes a huge hit, and lies dying.

Fennec and Jotunn have perforce to retreat a little until Cauleigh manages to buy some time, then they fight their way back through three Lizardmen and Fennec gets his 2nd-last potion dose down Crompton’s gullet. [An excellent SR on DEX allows this safely]

They pull back, and it’s time for Fennec to try that Poor Baby he learnt. It doesn’t “take” the first time but if he gets enough tries it will. Crompton regains his feet and all four pull back to the first descent.


With guts and greed they resume the assault!

Once Crompton is back to the same meagre health as the rest of them they push back in. By that time they have been attacked by hostile thorns that seem to grow from the roof. The Lizardmen boss is a mage, that’s clear.

Reaching the galley once more they find it ‘walled off’ with more thorns. These they patiently burn away, though not before Fennec loses his pack to the writhing vines.

Once again in the broad chamber beyond, the Lizardmen make a concerted attack but this time the Dwarves’s luck holds and they throw them back and follow up another steep flight down.

Twelve Lizardmen bounties!


The boss is a Naga!

Plunging down those steps, the Dwarves find themselves fighting across a four-way path, surrounding a pit where rises the bony form of an enchanted Naga! Jotunn and Fennec try a shot each but the creature has locked down inside a PP.

Dispatching the Lizardmen (by this time they are fighting wounded opponents and each has a magical knife) they push past the pit and rest up in a recovery area – after callously butchering the pair of helpless Lizardmen there.

Counting twenty or so bounties, they prep for the boss. Jotunn uses Lizardmen wire to rig a sturdy noose over the entrance.

Just in time!

The Naga surges in to close with them but is tangled enough in the snare that they kill it quickly without further damage.

Having butchered the last four Lizardmen they are free to loot at leisure.


Remains of folk

We must draw a veil over exactly what they find as they search each chamber… no wait! We never do that!

The foul stench of rotting meat alerts them to the corpse of the adventurer the fisherfolk mentioned, back when they got the map. His pack, containing many coins, is soon located.

A rank smell of different odour surrounds the bloody bones of a flensed Elf, manacled to a wall. A bent mirror standing opposite suggests he was forced to watch himself being tortured.

A crystal flask, picked up nearby, may have belonged to him.

Within two rooms of that, they find where the other Elf struggled on wounded gravely until his equipment broke or ran out; and where a brave Hobb died scrabbling about with knife and knucks. Not far from the Elf, they find a fancy fighting knife, swathed in Elven runes. And they pinch the Hobb’s ring too.

Rousting about for something to tip the remains into they find two barrels and a chest, and punt the remains out, along with choice bits and the silver and gold coin.


Celebrations and farewells

No trace of armour is found, but cautiously dealing with a web-shrouded weapon rack, they do disinter a fine silk sheet, still good, though dirty.

Other treasure is found aplenty – much of it copper coin. As Bergamot would have told them had he remembered, it is not just one tax official that has gone missing over the years. They pick the silver and gold out as they rest up periodically.

A Detect Magic thrown over the pile later picks out the knife and a spherical glass bottle with rust-red liquid. A brooch and such like are also found.

The punt is returned to the fisherfolk with thanks, and a joyous party ensues. The good folk of Jake’s town are just as grateful though in a quieter fashion, as becomes people who have worked extremely hard for their success.

Sir Cully Lucas returns from campaign and Barad-dur the tax bringer pays out the full bounty. It’s time to bid farewell to Jake’s town and the lands of V’laskas as Sir Cully escorts them north and west. But they won’t be going empty-handed!

“Hitch a cart to your pony and pack the barrels of pickled Elf aboard. You can take them as far as Fingold or even Sarnas that way” urges Cully. “You’ll be helping with diplomacy so it’s going to help you in turn.”


That’s the session more or less. It was really fun, and I got a good balance of danger. The well-seeded magic throw knives were decisive, they were shared out once Crompton was down and ensured all remaining Lizardmen could be beaten easily. Perhaps I was a little soft with the Naga – they were supposed to remember the holy water they were all armed with, and didn’t, and nor did I, but I will GM-hand-wave that in future and tell them they used it all.

There was a lot of gold and silver. Retrospectively I agreed they could make a job of carting thousands of coppers out and donating them to the locals. Maybe Jake’s town will become a boom town!

All told there was plenty of AP to boost stats with, especially after a generous end-of-season ’rounding up’ from a kindly GM. Everyone has somewhat adequate SPD and there are some good DEX and LK out there too.

And that’s it for the season!


As mentioned the basic set piece comes from OP3, Peat’s Bog (op cit). The pix of temple and statue with the PDF edition are great by the way, very evocative. The temple layout is out of Dodecahedron 2015 (op cit) again, this time it is Beneath Crovet’s Tower. The contents are out of &Magazine’s (op cit) Area Builder again, making ‘Naga’ 100% encounter and with a light rewrite to line some contents up with what people on the outside might say about it.

Posted in To Ikkutas | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loot from the Ravenswood – not valued yet

Items that were kept out of the Ravenwood

Gems [2 each]: Pink Pearl
Gems [3 each]: Amethyst [Probably about same value as pearls]
Jewelry: Silver Broach [Looks valuable]
Jewelry: Silvery Gemmed Broach [Obviously of great value]
Jewelry: Silvery gold earring
Jewelry: Gold pendant of House V’laskas [I recall as being left with the tax money but may be wrong?]

Brown leather satchel with 305gp, 1,400sp
3 x small leather pouches of silver powder – Fennec has these

Weapons: Polearm – Fauchard (12′)

Armour: chain coif [made of steel; with a wolf symbol on it that is indigo in color]
Armour: hauberk [made of silver]
Armour: [suit] padded armor [it is red in color; with a pegasus symbol on it that is emerald in color]
Armour: [suit] banded mail armor

5 waterskins of holy water [these have been shared round], glass jar of holy water [Fennec has this].

Junk and oddments: Set of wooden teeth, wooden holy symbol of Zolman/Ikvalu [the senior god] [I recall this as being left at Ravenswood?], a spherical, glass bottle of clear liquid, small leather pouch of green powder, bottle of yellow cloth dye, brass knuckles, jar of glue, iron pan, tinderbox, thief tools, dented bronze lamp, small bronze mirror, cloth bag of crushed herbs, bottle of dark hair dye, 40 feet of twine, grapnel weighing 100 wt [Jotunn has this].

Posted in To Ikkutas | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

TI1.12: Lizardmen Can’t Jump, or, Battle Beyond the Swamp



The characters for this session:

Fennec, Level 2 wizard (no specialty)

Cauleigh, Level 2 warrior (background: literate townsman)

Jotunn, Level 5 warrior (background: hunter; talent: tracker)

Crompton, Level 2 rogue (background: Runebearer; talent: roguery)

and NPC Hazel, their little pony

An introduction to Jake’s town

We rejoin the four restorers of Ravensdown as they recuperate in Jake’s Town, just over the southern border from Burchardt’s demesne. Except for Crompton all are wounded.

Jake’s Town is a cluster of simple huts on the trail south: a few of which could be described as houses. Jake’s house is the ‘big house’ and is a solid story-and-a-half, mostly stone walled. Joe’s forge is partly stone, and a few other huts have some stone in the walls. Otherwise walls are wattle-and-daub or timber-and-lathe. Structural timber is solid. All are sturdily thatched with the local reed. Given the season and the natural dampness of the hamlet it would take a real effort to set any of the huts ablaze.

A few small patches of garden lie between the hamlet of 61 souls, and a stream that runs more or less due south here. Across a sturdy stone and timber bridge lie cultivated fields and a few farmhouses. Beyond those, the ground becomes swampy though two razor-back ridges, also running north-south and surrounded by stony hillocks, separate the fields from the real swamp.

There’s a camp of fisherfolk nearby Jake’s Town, but across the river. Almost everyone distrusts fisherfolk, but even in the first few days the Dwarves have made contact with them and have heard about lizardmen in the swamp, and have the offer of a boat-ride into the swamp or to the River.


The defenders await the call

In the meantime, the four are lodging with Joe Smith who repairs their metal armour as best he can. They also buy a whole new set of swamp boots from the fisherfolk, to replace the battered boots they walked in with.

Jotunn cleans the arquebus, and Joe Smith refurbishes the looted arbalest that it can be used normally. Fennec is pencilled in as arbalestier. Crompton makes an effort to befriend the pony they stole from disgraced Mayor Bolton, and announces its name is Hazel. Jotunn makes friends with Hazel more readily.

At that point in their stay, they are approached by Sir Cully of Lucas, who needs bounty-hunters.


Don’t call me baron, I work for a living

Cully Lucas, bluff and direct, looks more like a sergeant at arms than a knight; his voice is roughened by drink and shouting. He is called away on campaign across the River so needs the Lizardmen in the swamp hunted down, along with anything that’s bossing them. The bounty will be 5 gold per distinct trophy:

“They don’t have ears, right? But something that only comes one per Lizardman… a left toe or what have you.”

Cauleigh, who is doing the talking, confers privately with the other three. It seems light, but on the other hand if they bargain for free board, food, repair and so on it might be adequate.

Cully agrees and extends the offer to include assistance getting to Fingold – escort across the first leg of Quisinias to the west. But then he assigns the Dwarves the task of getting the village defensible and protecting the villagers. To go with that, he’ll give them authority of corvèe. It’ll be like being taxmen and lords all rolled into one.

Well it’s a big package but they accept. Cully passes over a worn, silver-headed baton, and rides off to join his baron’s campaign, and the Dwarves divvy up responsibilities, and begin meeting villagers.


Never volunteer – old jungle saying

Not surprisingly the villagers are hard to convince about following orders or preparing defences. Jotunn helps Cauleigh gain their attention [they share 7 AP each]. Shamefacedly three pikes and a few tatty gambesons are drawn out of hiding, and seven villagers are admitted to the defence army. Three other sturdy men seem fit for it, but they resist the urgings of Cauleigh and Jotunn and Crompton.

Now to see what can be done for defence!

Sprightly, winsome little Siembud (aged approximately 13) tours the Dwarves around the hamlet and they learn what is explained above. The pendulous-breasted matrons of Jake’s town look on and mutter darkly. Siembud lives in the big house, Jake’s house, where dwells Siella the hamlet’s matriarch. Later Siembud organises her friends to go out, picnic-style, to feed the wood-cutting detail.

It seems to Fennec that walls could be fashioned connecting up the hamlet’s huts in a crude barrier. And it seems to Jotunn and Cauleigh that an abatis of sharp stakes could surround Jake’s town to force attackers to pause in range of crossbows. That will quickly run through all of the local wood, so Crompton cheerfully agrees to bring Hazel and help Jotunn and some villagers cut more lengths, suitable for spears.

They’ve decided not to defend the bridge, since Lizardmen can swim the stream easily; and that the further farms will be evacuated when comes the time.

The other major parts of the defence are making spears – Crompton pays Joe for iron supplies and the smith gets to work – and building a lookout onto Jake’s house since that is sturdy enough for it.


The wood-cutting party is not without incident

Armed with bow (Jotunn) and axe (Crompton) two Dwarves escort a party of villages west, to cut timber. By all accounts the woods might run into the next demesne. Siembud volunteers to cook the midday bread rolls, along with three friends of hers. Hopefully their mothers will help! The four girls organise a picnic and follow the menfolk. Hazel the pony is there as well, to help drag the timber back.

The spring woods are peaceful and the menfolk busy themselves with bow-saws and hatchets, cutting suitably straight poles. Jotunn can see that mounted men have ridden the area extensively though not very recently. There’s an odour of charcoal, too.

The bread rolls are more akin to damper than muffin, but they are sustaining. But then the picnic is interrupted. Horses can be heard. Five men at arms ride slowly out of the woods and rein in not far away.

The two sides study one another for a time. The wood-cutters are nervously silent and the girls are pale with fear. On their side, the men at arms wear livery that probably began life as a common colour. It has weathered poorly and varies from brown-red to dull purple. Their gear is worn but cared for and their horses are not lathered or blowing. Each favours an open face kettle helm and has an armour-breaking sword – a braquemard, falchion, hand-and-half or estoc hangs at the cantle of each.

“Who’s your spokesman?” asks Jotunn, reasonably. He’s aware of his deficiency as a spokesman.

The riders don’t reply right away but their glances suggest a grizzled veteran might be leader. After a time, the man jerks his chin at the group and asks:

“What’s doing here?”

“Move along” says Crompton in as menacing a voice as he can manage, which is to say, not menacing at all.

“Hey there girls, looking for a good time?” asks one of the youngest men, ignoring Crompton. He knees his horse a little wider so as to get a better angle on them.

“Like I said, move along!” Crompton repeats.

So challenged, the man studies Crompton, swings down off his horse and draws an Estoc. It will punch through Crompton’s Lamellar like a needle into a pincushion.



Crompton (bravely) decides to tough out round 1 to see what the balance of the fight is, and lull the warrior into a false idea of his tactics. Crompton’s superior weapon (the ancestor axe) allows a draw, both taking a few hits and some damage to armour.

Then Crompton uses his strength and low centre of gravity to get inside the Estoc’s range and overbalance the warrior. It doesn’t quite work, and he takes another nick through his armour.

The third round, he feints to do the same move then shifts to a sweep, and [with a big DARO on DEX] gets right past the Estoc and topples his target. The warrior is severely hurt and surrenders.

“Load Bugel up boys, I reckon the Dwarf made his point,” the grizzled spokesman growls.

Instead of looting, Crompton backs off cautiously and the other four men at arms help their comrade back into the saddle.

“You’re tough… do you ride?” asks the grizzled veteran, preparing to depart.

“Never tried! But I could do…” responds Crompton!

“Ah well…” and so saying the men at arms withdraw quietly.

[Later, Cauleigh’s player, who had been biting his tongue, asked why they didn’t attempt recruiting the men at arms. Crompton had plenty of cash on him. On the other hand, any CHR roll would tend to push confrontation into hostile action – as Crompton’s effort showed! So probably the best outcome possible was achieved.]


The fisherfolk map shows some possibilities

With work in Jake’s town well under way Cauleigh and Fennec visit the fisherfolk to see if they can learn anything further and if they will ally with the villagers.

Headman Pedrocollo, floreate but dishevelled, strokes his mustachios and regrets:

“We are river folk… we go with the flow. If these Lizardmen come, we move on.

“But hey,” he continues, “you following on the trail of the adventurer? He visit us a while ago, we show him map.”

“Map?” asks Cauleigh alertly.

At this point the GM proudly hands over the player map from Evening Session #2, demonstrating he does prep a little. The Dwarves copy the map and take it back, with thanks.

Although one option is to boat around and hit the swamp direct, Crompton wisely suggests they “clean the trail” so everyone benefits and an escape route is gained.

The trail marked allows the four to plan more than heretofore. The common consensus is that there is an undead menace, really close to the farms, so they ready silver weapons, spells, holy water and pouches of silver powder. And after inspecting and encouraging their trainees and builders, and a few last days of recuperation, they are ready.


Cleaning the trail

It’s a fine day, for the season, and the four make good time over the bridge, across the farm lanes (carts, not wagons, are in evidence) and across the barren verge beyond, which in wintertime will become bog. A crumbled stand of rocks that might have once been a barrow stands clearly visible.

As the Wight rises and attempts to close three crossbows snap, and then various silver weapons are wielded. Fennec snaps off a minor cantrip that enchants Jotunn’s axe, and the fight is over.

Fennec exclaims, “Stone! My wall-builders have been short on stone since day one! I’ll just shoot back and tell them….”

While Fennec trots back to Jake’s town, the others heft stones aside and dig down. The Wight guarded a cluster of throw-knives… and nothing else. They are filthy with mud and damp and have lost their edge but are undamaged by time and rust. Crompton tentatively calls dibs on them, since they are lighter than a crossbow – and 200% cooler. When Fennec returns, he checks them for magic, and confirms that they are.


A trail over the ridges is found

The next landmark is a Lone Grave. But before they reach it, Jotunn’s wilderness eye picks out an older trail branching off from their own old trail, southward. It runs to the closest ridgeback, suggesting an alternative route.

“This is perfect weather, we have maybe six hours of clear daylight. We might not get such a chance again. Let’s try it,” Jotunn suggests.


They follow him along the faintest of trails, up through hillocks and knolls, onto the ridge. He cuts sign of reptile life, and they are all bothered a little by midges. With around two hours of full daylight left, they make a notch on top of the ridgeback, allowing an easy path to the descent.

Looking north and east, beyond a ridge line, they can see the swamplands laid out before them. The swamp trees and flax grow too thick to pick out the ruined temple that’s supposed to be in the midst. But it doesn’t look as though there’s a dry path in.

Pressing on down, they cross the lower slope of the second razorback ridge and reach the edge of the swamp. It’s a scramble down more than a steep drop, but it confirms that this is not a great escape route and that there is no easy path. The hills are blocking the sun now and it’s time to find camp before it gets fully dark.

They camp up on the notch, munching their waybread in a cold camp. One Dwarf guards per shift and they tiredly head back next dawn.


Back on the main trail: the first bounties are taken!

It only takes an hour descending swiftly, now they know the trail. Again, Jotunn cuts sign of a few large reptiles but nothing tackles them. The lowlands are still fog-bound.

Swinging hard right they soon meet the lone grave rising up through the mist, an obelisk or similar, wherein runes are deeply carven. Crompton spends a few minutes trying to decipher them, then gives up with a shrug.

But a very short distance east of that, Jotunn and Crompton are swept off their feet by two crocodilian beasts!


Cauleigh instinctively crashes his axe onto the croc bearing Jotunn away, and that sturdy Dwarf wriggles clear.

Crompton is in deep trouble, but he uses his Bic Flic inside the Croc’s gullet, and the reptile vomits him out and flees. [40 bonus AP for a life-saving reaction!]

Cauleigh then must needs take the brunt of two Lizardmen, since Fennec (wisely) tucks in behind. He survives, thanks to his sturdy breastplate. Then Jotunn joins him, and to prevent the Lizardmen “setting” Fennec hits one with an OGA. He’s now nearly powerful enough to drive one away, but it still works as intended and it takes terrible damage trying to get to Fennec. Crompton joins the fray, casting Bic Flic onto his mace-head (mainly for effect). Then as the remaining two Lizardmen retreat, Fennec uses another OGA to draw them back, and they kill those as well!


Loot, and Jake’s town militia grows

Feeling that the 15-minute working day has been well-spent Fennec suggests a rest back at Jake’s town so they retreat after taking trophy feet and looting the Lizardmen ambush-site of a spool of good wire, and one sturdy spear. In fact any and all Lizardman weapons are looted since the villagers have so few.


The success of their hunt draws one of the three sturdy shirkers onto the militia. Two other villagers admit to being able to use hunting bows. The militia number ten! And just as importantly Joe Smith has finished adding spear-heads to shafts and with eight pike- or spearmen drills look more realistic.


A purple-clad taxbringer arrives

“A stranger approaches! South!”

The lookout system is working, and militia are hurried to posts while women and children stand ready to rush into Jake’s house, the one defensible strongpoint.

Things are tense although the stranger is alone and afoot, for he wears purple livery. Doesn’t that sound like the men at arms? But there is no danger.

“I am the tax-bringer for Sir Cully, serving House V’laskas. My name is Barad-dur.”

“An ill-omened name!”

“Could be worse, could be ‘Mordor’” quips Fennec.

“I bring bounty, and I’m also to see how you are getting on with your power of corvèe.”

Barad-dur admires their defence efforts – “splendid, splendid” – and less fulsome about the bounties. “Hmm, fifteen gold,” he mutters, flicking the coins off a much larger stack.

He bids them good-day and heads south into the river mist again.

“If only I had more iron, I could be makin’ more’a them spear-heads” Joe comments.


Crompton runs to Hazel, clambers onto her back, and [with an excellent DEX SR] trots after the tax-bringer. He orders the iron. Then he returns to Jake’s town and the 15 gold bounty repays him for the earlier payment to Joe.



The Lizardmen attack!

With barely a pause for breath, or so it seems, an alarm goes up! Lizardmen, three bands of them, are swarming to the stream and bridge! They have overrun the farms and it is too late to save anyone!

“Pikemen with me! Archers to the walls!” Cauleigh hollers.

One group of Lizardmen has the bridge and is speeding over. They can cover ground faster than  Dwarf. A second group is north of the bridge and a third group is south of the bridge and slightly closer to the village than the second group.

Fennec sees a bold chance for encouraging the defenders. He rushes out of the one village entrance left, towards the abatis. As the Lizardmen get within a dozen paces of it he gestures and casts:

Oh Go Away!

Two Lizardmen impale themselves, trying to get to Fennec. But of course, the others in the bridge group break the abatis down and rush after him vengefully.


In a roil of smoke Jotunn’s arquebus claims another Lizardman – he can’t miss against such a mob.

To Cauleigh’s alarm the militia are upset by the noise rather than emboldened and he struggles to keep them with him. The bows and crossbows let fly uselessly. Leading from the front Cauleigh lets Fennec rush past him and to safety, and stands at the point of a wedge of pikemen! It’s enough to firm the militia up and three more Lizardmen die on the pikes. Spears stab, then Jotunn and Crompton join the fray and the Lizardmen are thrown back behind the corpses of the first wave.

Then the second group of Lizardmen arrive at the walls. They can’t jump, so the wall, low though it is, has stopped them: and they begin breaking them down.

There are moments to decide: Crompton and Jotunn pull back out, to switch fronts.

It’s a moment that brings a rolling crisis!

Jotunn ducks and weaves out successfully [L2 DEX SR] but Crompton is smashed by a Lizardman [takes what he missed by off CON].

Their retreat panics the militia!

Cauleigh fails to keep the men together!

[Opts to fail forward]

He flings his shield accurately at the furthest man’s knees, bringing him down. With a roar of aggression, he cries on the militia and they form up again.


Fennec has switched as well, using an OGA to force two more Lizardmen to try to clamber over the wall instead of breaking it – they are easily dispatched by Crompton and Jotunn. Then he repeats the exercise and is done for the day!

Cauleigh’s gate group slays several more Lizardmen who are having to clamber over a Cauleigh-high pile of dead. As the third group arrives on the village north wall, the other two groups give up and flee.

“Quick! Up to the platform! Count the number fleeing!”

Fennec sprints and vaults and climbs in time to count 24 retreating.

All told 15 dead Lizardmen are accounted for.

“So with that many slain, I don’t think they’ll be attacking any time soon!” Cauleigh concludes. The villagers agree: the last two sturdy shirkers join up.

So with 75 gold all but received, it’s time for the four defenders of Jake’s town to rest, polish and sharpen and plan the next foray.



This session had an increasingly Seven Samurai feel to it. So I should give props to Seven Samurai, Magnificent Seven and Battle Beyond the Stars, all of which I own and enjoy. But we didn’t go fully down the tribute path. Jotunn’s player thinks the Three Amigos should also be given props.

The village and swamp concept is from Frank Schmidt, OP3, Peat’s Bog – an adventure in Filbar, a reworked 1-page dungeon. I down-graded the village concept to be a bit more Seven Samurai-like, and as usual all NPCs were my own creation.

Posted in To Ikkutas | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TI1.11: Restoring Ravensdown!

The characters for this session:

Fennec, L2 wizard (no specialty)

Cauleigh, L2 warrior (background: literate townsman)

Jotunn, Level 5 warrior (background: hunter; talent: tracking)

Welcome back! After a couple of weeks absence we are back with our heroes, as they investigate the Ravenwood for traces of a missing taxman (and more importantly, 10% bounty on the tax). Having survived a Lizardman ambush they head deeper into the woods on the trail of something big with hobnail boots which retreated into the nearby stream.

They find a tunnel by being shot from it

The first burst, so to speak, along the steep-banked and slimy stream takes our heroes deeper into the Ravenwood where the outside world can no longer be seen, though raven cries still sound. Jotunn takes a couple of minutes to charge the arquebus and he, Fennec and Cauleigh hand their packs, cloaks and other spare gear to Crompton, pack pony for the time being.

Jotunn then explores cautiously along the stream [forgets to ask for his hunter bonus, misses L1 INT SR] until he takes a crossbow bolt under his left arm! Cauleigh and Fennec leap to the edge of the stream’s bank and catch a flicker of movement in what appears to be merely shade under an overhanging tree. Cauleigh steps back, and makes a running leap across and down into a wet-floored tunnel mouth! But whatever fired the crossbow has retreated…

Meanwhile Jotunn has the bolt removed [24 off CON!] and after some minute of debate the Dwarves agree to pursue into the tunnel. Gear is tossed across, then Jotunn and Fennec follow, and with torches lit, and Crompton safe up on the opposite bank, they set out.


There is a defence!

The first issue to solve is what to defend with, and what to have ready. Jotunn elects to keep his spike shield for offense-defence, with a torch in that hand; and his broadaxe. Behind him Cauleigh follows up with torch and Dwarf Axe, shield on back. Fennec brings up the rear juggling a crossbow and his wizard staff, both two-hand weapons. Luckily he is strong enough to fire the crossbow one-handed.

Jotunn catches a glimpse of a pair of eyes, which withdraw right, so he is ready for an ambush-point. The footing is slimy and the water is knee-deep, so he needs to move carefully. But he probes forward too carefully! The Lizardman tackles his axe, pulling it down, while another rushes him from the front – and he is stuck using his shield alone!

This is a tough combat, but eventually Cauleigh scrambles up tree-roots on the tunnel side and drops around on one flank, evening the match. The two Lizardmen flee, wounded.


The Dwarves push forward through fire and iron

Pushing forward in pursuit the Dwarves find themselves on stone footing, but still sloshing water. Jotunn flings himself aside as an iron javelin is hurled from a far passage. Three Lizardmen use the chance to rush forward!

In the ensuing melee it’s a contest between the sturdy Lizardmen, who are able to brace their tails to get better impact, and the canny Dwarves, who use desperate stunts to turn the tables. The unseen commander flings an oil-bomb over his Lizardmen, but it is safely avoided. Finally Fennec lures one Lizardman away [OGA again], Cauleigh ties up an unwounded one in an uneven match, and Jotunn finishes the most-wounded. Once he is free to rescue Cauleigh, that decides the fight – but all three have been hammered to weakness!


Up a stairwell without a firing solution

Using the javelin or dart as a probe, the Dwarves explore in search of the leader. A scraping noise alerts them, and they push through a ‘throne’ room where he has dragged something hefty off a ledge, then to a tunnel he must have gone to. Jotunn narrowly avoids a deadfall, then they scramble after the retreating leader.

Distant sounds of hobnail boots lead them down a long tunnel to a wider room with a stone stair leading up. But at the top, the Ogre awaits!

He pushes his heavy chest down, disrupting the advance, then hammers at Jotunn and Cauleigh, breaking more of their armour and forcing them down. As things look desperate, Fennec advances past them, and hurls his trusty OGA again, and the Ogre rushes him, leaping the chest! Fennec runs down the stairwell at full pace and Jotunn and Cauleigh take a free hack at the Ogre’s legs as he emerges. With all three able to fight on good solid stone, they take a few more nicks to armour but slay the Ogre. Cauleigh lops the fearsome Ogre’s head off with venom: those repairs to armour are bound to be expensive!


Rescuing Ravensdown’s people

Hoping to find a captive taxman, or at least what happened to him, they wearily explore that top level. They find evidence of the taxman’s death, along with his guards. But they also liberate a small number of Ravensdown folk, including John Johns and his surviving daughter and Boss Hobb, Jenn’s husband.

The top level also offers a view over part of the Ravenwood. Crompton is summoned and the rescue proceeds. The burial of remains of villagers and guards killed and left in meat-storage is attended to, as well.


Restoring Ravensdown

The evidence suggests that the Ogre, along with his Lizardman minions, had an accomplice in the village. As the Dwarves lead their survivors to the village, the strangely young crone tells them that she has warned Mayor Bolton they would succeed. Amid the joyful reunions and tears for the slain, Mayor Bolton congratulates them fulsomely.

They are too important to be left at the Johns’ shack, so by common consent they stay at the Mayor’s house. They meet Mrs Bolton, an acidulated matron full of everyone’s affairs.

Crompton is detailed off to watch the Mayor to see what he does…

The old mill, and a new twist

The following day, rested and with their boots and clothing dry if not clean, the trio begin the chore of looting. Crompton trails the Mayor, who journeys a short distance to the nearest hill-stream where sits an abandoned mill. After a short time the Mayor emerges and heads back to his village.

Amidst counting over the loot and gifting the less-portable, less-exchangeable items to the village, the trio hear of this development, and head over to the mill.

There’s little to see. Cauleigh checks the millstone and sure enough, in one of the grooves is a rolled twist of paper:

“Adventurers have succeeded. What do I do?”

Cauleigh proposes buying some time by changing the note. With a piece of Fennec’s paper and Crompton’s forging skill, a new note is left reading:

“Adventurers stumped. They will leave soon.”


Leads to a change of admin in Ravensdown

Detailing Crompton to keep watch for who the message is intended for, the trio head back and confront the Mayor. It could go horribly wrong but Cauleigh is convincing [L1 CHR] and the gifts and freed prisoners have the village on his side. Mrs Bolton clinches the deal by hissing “I told you you wouldn’t get away with it!” and no-one bothers backing the Mayor [L1 LK all round].

Boss Hobb seems to be the next most senior figure, as leader of the Hobb community.


Misfortune leads to a hasty departure

The old temple, if that is what it was, gave up many treasures and a variety of near-useless oddments. Chief among the treasures is the taxman’s takings, along with his authority on behalf of House V’laskas, and his gear and the armour of his guards.

Crompton stumbles miserably in, full of cuts and bruises, to announce that he saw the blackmailing guard from Burchardt’s keep slip into the mill, but the guard also saw him! And he was lucky to get away with his life.

Cauleigh hastily readjusts the original plan, which was to claim the 10%, keep all the rest of the loot, and buy at least one horse from the baron.

“He’ll have worked out that the note is fake, and be off telling the baron some new story blaming us for everything! So let’s leave all of the tax money here and head in a different direction!”

They claim the Mayor’s pony for transport and no-one seems inclined to stop them. Boss Hobb suggests they head south, towards the next demesne, and use the fringes of the woods to avoid leaving tracks. There’s a small village just on the other side of the border named Jake’s Town, they could rest up at.


So with pony laden with a couple of nice pieces of armour, and a number of odd items not fitting inside their own kit, they bid farewell to Ravensdown and leave the bastardly baron Burchardt to his own devices.


I think everyone racked up quite a lot of AP, because each combat needed stunts to survive. (Remember, monsters aren’t worth anything per se.) Wherever the Lizardmen would get ‘set’ I would add a bonus equivalent to another lizardman. Crompton’s help (or at least share of damage) was sorely missed. Everyone was down to single digit CON by the time the Ogre died.

It’s interesting to speculate what would have happened if I hadn’t allowed Crompton to stay on watch at the mill. It’s one of those gilding the lily cases where putting two overlapping plans into effect goes wrong.

There was time to spare so I announced, as I do here, that there are only two more sessions left before I head off for an extended holiday.

Then we closed play with a short piece establishing Jake’s Town, which is hard against the swamp those Lizardmen came from… and there’s a local knight that needs adventurers doing bounty hunting.



The dungeon stock, including Ogre, come from &Magazine’s Wizardawn dungeon generators (I had to use Troglodyte as the monster, removing their spit effect and stench) while the dungeon itself is Return to the Lair of the Frogs, Dyson Logos, 2015 Dodecahedron Cartographic Review. The deserted mill is a random draw from the Rural Locations deck of Concept Cards (Coffey and Hensel). NPCs are my own creation, as is the Vale.


Posted in To Ikkutas | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment