The Guardians – Episode 29: Is this how you fight?

This session’s main characters:

  • Diana – human fighter 4
  • Elfred – high elf ranger 4
  • Fredo – stout halfling rogue 4 (NPC-mode)
  • Hermione – human wizard 4
  • Mistamojo – human cleric 4
  • Oracle – human fighter 4
  • Yobak – goblin NPC

Hermione created a loud thunder wave aimed toward the monument. The monument cracked and dust fell to the side. The block beside the opening that Fredo created last time crumbled from the force of her Thunder wave spell.

Mistamojo convinced Yobak to go into the small opening that Fredo had created and explore what’s underneath the monument. Yobak went down and shouted back that he saw an obelisk in the cavern underneath. It looked like the very same obelisk they used to transport in and out of Zelirith’s Tower.

Mistamojo used his Gauntlets of Ogre Power to rip apart two stone blocks at the base of the monument making a big enough hole for a person to walk down to the passageway underneath.

Oracle continued to fight one of the two flesh golems. The golem managed to stay on its toes even after Oracle’s fiery attack whilst Diana also stabbed at the same golem with her magic dagger, focusing on the same enemy for now.

Meanwhile, the zombies have punched through the north wall and have started pushing themselves to the south. Just behind the zombies were two flying creatures wearing tattered robes just circling behind them. These were the two creatures that had carried and dropped the flesh golems into town earlier. Mistamojo gazed at them and could now recognise them as fearsome banshees.

The guards at the town gates had fallen back to the centre of town as the zombie horde advanced. They were struggling to hold the line as the townsfolk who had not evacuated started to flee southward toward the heroes. A few townsfolk also returned from the south side with sledgehammers. “We’re back! We have the sledgehammers!”

Fredo looked around and heard Dime’s voice inside his head again. “There’s an opening! Go in! Go in! Let’s get out of here!” it said. He considered fighting for a moment but then decided to follow Yobak underground. He grabbed both the Key of Landseal and the Phylactery from Elfred and then descended into the hole. He too saw Zelirith’s obelisk in a round cavern below.

Back outside, Elfred summoned a Fog Cloud between the marching zombies and the fleeing townsfolk. The zombies got lost inside the thick fog.

The two golems continued to advance southward but Oracle stood in front of them with his Flametongue sword in hand. He slashed the weaker golem again across the chest with his flaming sword. The golem fell down on one knee but quickly stood up again. Oracle took a deep breath in disbelief. It was still alive. And he was barely staying on his own feet from his own wounds.

Hermione then fired off a Thunderwave spell at the two golems. Due to her skill at manipulating magic, the wave just went around them as it slammed against the golems. The tougher golem was pushed back but the weaker one managed to plant its feet firmly to the ground.

The stronger golem looked around at something to attack and saw Diana and her shimmering cloak. It tried to punch her twice but she just easily avoided both attacks. The second golem slammed Oracle right in the chest which sent him flying a feet off the ground. He fell to the ground unconscious.

Meanwhile beneath the ground, Yobak went past Zelirith’s obelisk and continued down another passageway. It was dark and it was going downwards. He could exactly see where it went. He guessed it was toward the gates to the hellsmouth. Fredo followed close behind him despite the voice’s protestations.

Back on the surface, Diana leaped at the golem responsible for Oracle’s fall. She plunged her magic dagger right between the golem’s eyes. The golem sank to its knees and fell on its side, still smoking from the burns it sustained from Oracle’s flaming sword.

Mistamojo saw Oracle needed help so he walked toward him. He gave the unconscious warrior a swift kick on the butt first and said, “is this how you fight?” Then he knelt down, pulled the healing potion from Oracle’s belt and then poured it down Oracle’s throat.

In a few seconds, Oracle’s eyes opened. He’s conscious again but still weak. Elfred ran to Oracle and healed him with her elven magic. This was enough to get him back on his feet.

Oracle stood up angry. He held out his Flametongue sword and yelled out “Fuego!” The sword’s blade was suddenly engulfed in flames. He ran toward the remaining golem and struck it from behind with a mighty blow. The golem sustained a large wound that was instantly cauterised by the Flametongue. It then fell to the ground motionless.

The people with the sledgehammers approached the monument and started pounding on it, quickly widening the hole that led to the underground passage. The rest of the townsfolk continued running toward the monument as the heroes seemed to be trying to get underneath it.

The remaining guards continued to hold back the zombie army away from the rest of the people. Hermione stepped toward the zombies and unleashed another Thunderwave. The first row of zombies staggered back but there seemed to be an endless number of them coming from the north.

Diana and Elfred shot at the zombies. Diana shot an arrow at one and killed it. Elfred shot out a Fire Bolt at another and also killed it.

Mistamojo saw the futility of fighting all the zombies and decided that they just needed to get the people out of harms way. He ordered the people to go down the passageway underground and followed them in. The people started gathering around Zelirith’s obelisk and stood inside the magic circle around it.

Oracle walked in behind the people and went straight for the obelisk. He placed his hand on the slot under the obelisk and said, “Nunquam non paratus!” Suddenly the circle around the obelisk and the people lit a bright blue as the runes on the circle started crawling clockwise. The people exclaimed in surprise by the display of magic.

Mistamojo yelled out, “Come here! Run!”

Diana, Elfred and Hermione heard Mistamojo’s faint cry and realised that the rest of the team had already gone underground. Just at that moment, the two banshees that were just hovering behind the zombie army started to descend toward them.

To be continued…


The Guardians – Episode 28: Get sledgehammers!

This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human fighter 4
  • Elfred – high elf ranger 4
  • Fredo – stout halfling rogue 4
  • Hermione – human wizard 4
  • Mistamojo – human cleric 4
  • Oracle – human fighter 4

Standing in front of the large stone monument in the town square of Landseal, they considered the possible ways they were going to go through it. Meanwhile, outside of town, they could hear the marching army of the dead getting closer and closer.

Note that the map on the top left was not drawn by me. It’s from the Basic Fantasy RPG adventure module JN1 The Chaotic Caves. The rest are my map drawings of the close-up of the area near the town hall. See #12 in the town map.

Just as they were about to take a closer look at the monument, a group of townsfolk approached them with a young bearded man at the lead. He was complaining about being asked to leave their hometown, that they weren’t afraid of an army of the dead and that they would rather die than leave. Mayor Noah Pritchard walked to them in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

The heroes tried various ways to dismantle the monument. Elfred tried looking for possible keyholes on or around the monument. She found three holes but none of them turned out to be a keyhole that worked with the Key of Landseal. Diana tied a rope to the top of the monument with the intention of pulling it down but found that it was too sturdy for that.

A few of them tried pounding on it with crowbars but they did not make a dent. Mistamojo abandoned talking to the unsettled townsfolk to try to push at the monument with his Gauntlets of Ogre Power. Unfortunately, he could not find a solid footing that would have allowed him to budge the stone pillar. Hermione cast a Fire Bolt at the monument but only managed to singe it.

Frodo tried his hand at chipping away at the monument when he heard a voice urging him to get out of there. Fredo looked around but could not find where the voice was coming from. It seemed that none of his friends could hear the voice either which troubled him even more. The voice introduced himself as Dime. Fredo focused on the task at hand and decided to ignore the voice for the time being.

Up in the sky, there were two flying things that looked like loose black tattered robes carrying a huge humanoid each. They swooped in to the town square and dropped off two large humanoid creatures that looked like they were sewn together from spare body parts. Hermione quickly realised that these were Flesh Golems and they would be unaffected by mundane weapons or charming magicks. And there was definitely no reasoning with them. One of the golems struck a couple of townsfolk who were standing nearby and bloodily killed them both.

Oracle ran toward the flesh golems, his new Flame Tongue Sword in hand and yelled out, “fuego apagalo!” Immediately, the sword lit up in flames and then went out. He was surprised for a moment and then realised that “fuego” ignites the sword and “apagalo” extinguishes it.

Standing in front of the golem, he raised his sword again and shouted out “fuego!” The Flame Tongue Sword ignited once more. He then struck the golem dealing it a searing blow to the chest. However, the golems were tough creatures. The golem that Oracle attacked didn’t seem too affected.

Diana shot an arrow right to the chest of the same golem but the arrow just bounced off its thick skin. She set aside her bow and instead pulled out her beloved magic dagger which glowed bright blue when unsheathed. She ran toward the golem and buried her dagger deep into its arm.

As for Hermione, she raised her Wand of Magic Missile at the creatures and fired off four bolts of force energy. The missiles unerringly hit the two golems.

The golems pushed forward toward the heroes. One golem slammed Oracle very hard that caused him to stagger back a little. The other golem tried to strike at Diana but she shimmered and avoided all the blows thanks to her Cloak of Displacement.

With the golems coming closer to them, Fredo spoke out loud directing a question to the mysterious voice in his head. “What should we do?”

Dime the voice replied, “What should we do? We should get out of here! We’re going to die here!” The voice was starting to sound desperate.

Fredo asked again, “how do we get inside the thing? Under the monument?”

“I don’t know. Smash it to bits with a sledgehammer or something!” replied Dime.

Fredo relayed back that a voice in his head said to use sledgehammers.

Mistamojo faced the townsfolk and shouted at them to get away from the town square and to also bring them sledgehammers to help them demolish the monument. The townsfolk were easily convinced by the charismatic cleric and quickly dispersed, even the hard-headed bearded young man who was arguing with the mayor.

After the people started fleeing, he summoned a magically divine axe from thin air and hurled it at the golems slashing both of them.

With all the commotion going on, Fredo took his crowbar at a stone block at the bottom of the monument and tried to pry it loose. He chipped away at the side of the block and was able to pull it out. Underneath the block he removed was packed earth. They would need to do some digging once they clear out a few more stones.

At that moment, they all heard the wooden town wall in the distance up north fall. The army of the dead punched through the town’s northern defences.

To be continued…

The Guardians – Episode 27: How do we get to the Hellmouth?

This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human fighter 4
  • Elfred – high elf ranger 4
  • Fredo – stout halfling rogue 4
  • Hermione – human wizard 4
  • Mistamojo – human cleric 4
  • Oracle – human fighter 4

The heroes spent the next 3 days recuperating in Zelirith’s Tower. There were 8 bedrooms in the tower which they’ve divided among themselves while they were there. Martha, the female entity tied to the tower, made them feel right at home. She would conjure food in the hall at the bottom of the tower. She also tried to answer all of their questions to the best of her ability.

They were wondering what to do next now that they were well-rested. They asked Martha if she knew where the Hellmouth was. She replied that she didn’t know where it could be. They asked her if she knew anything about phylacteries. She walked over to a bookshelf and pulled a large tome on liches. The book explained that a phylactery allowed a lich to regenerate if it was ever killed.

Shortly after, they felt rumbling underneath them. Martha stared blankly at the ceiling for a second and then informed them that there were intruders in the tower. Then she vanished.

Yobak realising that he might actually be in danger by staying in the tower, he asked if he could leave them now. As a sign of appreciation, he left his magical folding boat at the library for them to have. Note that nobody actually took it and just left it there.


The heroes went downstairs to investigate. They found that the noise was coming from the transporter room at level 2. The stone door to the room was shut. Fredo tried to open the door by shouting out “open sesame” but the door didn’t budge.

Martha then appeared beside Master Fredo along the stairs. They asked her if she could open the door. She said that there were still skeletons in the room and that she was dealing with them.

They considered just leaving the tower behind as they felt that the the lich’s undead minions would just continue to come through the transporter. Just as they were about to go down the stairs to leave via the front door at the ground level, Martha opened the stone door to the transporter room.

Oracle stepped inside just in time to see the two earth elementals recede back to the floor on the opposite ends of the room. Mistamojo patted one on the head as a sign of appreciation as they sank to the floor.

They looked around the room and saw that there were crushed bones on the floor. Likely crushed by the elementals. While inspecting the room, it was the first time they noticed that there were plaques on the top of the wall around the room with strange writing on them:

  • Cogito Ergo Sum – Andren Forest
  • Vincit qui se vincit – The mausoleum
  • Igne natura renovatur – The Town of Landseal
  • Nunquam non paratus – Only the word “RON” could be made out while the letters before and after it have been scratched beyond recognition.
  • Sic semper tyrannis – Only the word “LAN” could be made out while the letters before and after it have been scratched beyond recognition.

Oracle concluded that they could speak the words and the transporter would take them to the destination written under each of the strange writing. The strange words were like a direction to a specific address. But where to go?

The three days of rest must’ve made them forget that they were meant to go to the Town of Landseal to find the hellmouth under the town. Hermione and Elfred went back to the library to find clues as to where they should go next. Oracle, Mistamojo, Fredo and Diana remained in the transporter room to discuss what to do next.

Hermione found an old history book about the region that could help. Centuries ago, dark spawn roamed the earth as they could freely travel from the underworld through an interplanar portal dubbed as the hellsmouth. One day, heroes came and sealed the portal and the land above it became a settlement. They only need to remember which settlement it was.

Oracle and Mistamojo wanted to try the Sic Semprer Tyrannis address as it had the word “LAN” on it. They suspect it could mean Land, as in the land where the hellsmouth was sealed. Before they could try it, the circle around the obelisk lit up and its runes started to spin. Oracle tried to stop it by punching a shovel on the circle. The magic of the circle repelled him with such force that he flew across the room and slammed on the wall.

When the circle’s lights went, they saw four skeletons standing in front of them. But before they could act, Martha summoned the earth elementals again. The earth elementals made quick work of the four skeletons. After crushing the undead intruders, the elementals once again receded to the floor.

They were going to try to activate the transporter again but this time, they remembered that the hellsmouth was supposed to be at the Town of Landseal. With help from Martha on how to properly pronounce Igne natura renovatur, they activated the transporter. Yobak saw that they were about to go to the town and so quickly joined them.

One moment they were in the tower, the next they were out in the open again with trees around them. The sky was dark orange and the air smelled of smoke. To the south they saw the familiar town of Landseal and its town walls where they drove out raiding goblins weeks ago. To the north, were crashing and moaning sounds from a distance. There they could also see like tattered robes flying in the air circling like vultures waiting to scavenge the recently deceased.

The heroes quickly walked toward Landseal.

The guards at the gates saw them coming and recognised them. “It’s them! The Guardians are here! They’ve returned! Open the gates! Open the gates!”

Mayor Noah Pritchard greeted them with open arms as the heroes walked through the town gates. He was very happy to see them as there were reports that an army of the dead was slowly marching toward the town and he believed that the Guardians would be able to save them from certain doom.

They had something else in their minds. They asked about the hellmouth and the settlement where it could be found. Mayor Noah was a little confused but answered that Landseal was that settlement. Centuries ago, the hellmouth on the land they were standing on was sealed and over time, it became a settlement called Landseal.

They asked if the mayor knew how they could find the sealed portal. The mayor said that he did know where it was but couldn’t understand why anybody would want to know or open it. The heroes insisted so the mayor acquiesced. The mayor led them to the town square where a large menhir stood in the middle on top of a bricked up round platform. Under the structure was the passageway to lead them to the sealed portal. It looked like they will have to dismantle the monument to get through to the passage.

Wisely, they all feared that opening the gate into hell could release evil entities into their world. They asked if there was an alternate way to go to the underworld. Mayor Noah offered that maybe a very powerful sorceress like Zelirith would be able to do it. They told the mayor that unfortunately, she was already dead.

Maybe somebody else in town knew how to go to the netherworld, somebody knowledgeable, maybe someone very old. The mayor said maybe Old Man John the hermit could help them.

Old Man John’s shack was at the opposite end of town. Mayor Noah accompanied them there and knocked at his door. He was very grumpy but he still opened the door to let them in. It was ultimately a dead end. He only reiterated that the only possible way he knew to go to the netherworld was through the sealed portal under the town.

It seemed that their only real option was to open the sealed portal. To get there though, they needed to first dismantle the monument in the centre of town and that would take a bit of time. Meanwhile, the army of the dead was getting ever so close to the town.

They encouraged the mayor to evacuate the town right then. The townsfolk were in grave danger from the undead that’s coming or whatever infernal entities might come out of the portal once they unseal it. Or both. The mayor agreed to arrange the immediate evacuation of the town’s women, children and the elderly. A few strong men and women will have to stay in town to defend it.

With that, the heroes started taking the monument apart brick by brick.

To be continued.

The Guardians – Episode 26: We’re friends of Zelirith

This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human fighter 3 (going on 4)
  • Elfred – high elf ranger 4
  • Fredo – stout halfling rogue 3 (going on 4)
  • Hermione – human wizard 4
  • Mistamojo – human cleric 3 (going on 4)
  • Lavandes – high elf druid 4
  • Oracle – human fighter 4

The heroes found themselves in a large bright circular room after Yobak activated the obelisk and magically transported everybody in the circle from the forest to Zelirith’s Tower. The lady in the tower decided that they were all intruders and took some measures.

The lights in the circular room went out temporarily making everything very dark. The floor started to tremble as loud cracking and crashing sounds echoed all around them. Luckily, Elfred was an elf and could still see in the darkness.

Two large shapes made of rock and dirt formed at opposite ends of the room from the solid stone floor. They walked across the room as if they were wading through shallow water. The group quickly realised that these were earth elementals.

The first one slammed against the wight that arrived with them through the magical transport. With one blow, the wight crumpled on the ground. They heroes cheered thinking the elementals were on their side.

Then the second earth elemental slammed Diana but she shimmered away thanks to her cloak of displacement. Then they realised that the elementals were indiscriminately attacking everyone in the room.

Everybody scrambled to heal themselves to prepare for the worse. At the same time, everybody tried to explain to the lady that they were Zelirith’s friends. The lady wasn’t convinced. She demanded proof.

They said Barn the owl was their proof. The lady asked them where she was? That’s when they realised that Barn wasn’t with them! They must’ve left her behind in the forest.

They avoided attacking the elementals while they tried to convince the lady that they were friendly. They focused on the last remaining zombie stowaway. Diana killed it when she stabbed her magic dagger down through its skull.

Knowing that Fredo needed healing, Lavandes tried to heal the halfling but found that Fredo had vanished. Of course, it was just that Fredo was so good at hiding that Lavandes didn’t realise that he was just standing right beside her. In the end, Fredo gave himself away to Lavandes when he tugged at her skirt so that he could be healed.

With Barn not with them, they were trying different ways to convince the lady to call off the elementals. Soon, they heard Barn’s hoot from outside through the windows. She must be close but not close enough. Oracle ran across the room around one earth elemental and toward the lady with the intention of threatening her or striking her down in order to stop the elementals.

Just then, Barn swooped in through one of the windows and flew toward Hermione’s forearm. When the lady saw that Barn was friendly to Hermione, she was satisfied that they were Zelirith’s friends. She clapped her hands twice. The lights came back on and the two earth elementals receded back to the ground near the walls. The stone door at one end of the room slid open.

The lady walked across to Hermione. They noticed that she was shimmering as she walked. Mistamojo suspected that the lady was an illusion of some description. She told them to follow her to Zelirith’s ready room upstairs. She seemed to glide up the stairs as her stola flowed and billowed behind her.

The ready room was also a circular room with walls lined with bookshelves filled with books. There was a table at one end with beakers, flasks and dishes bubbling away. Beside it was a large wooden chest. The lady stood beside it.

She introduced herself as Martha, the caretaker of the tower. After a brief pause, she said that she was in fact the tower. Hermione told Martha that Zelirith’s message said that she had items in the tower that could help them in their quest to defeat Kranis Volan the Lich.

Martha waved at the chest and it opened, revealing various magical items. She said that these must be what Zelirith meant and that it was all theirs.

Usually, you’d have to spend time and money to have magic items like these identified but thankfully, Martha knew exactly what they were and was able to describe each one to the heroes.

What they found were:

They decided to divide the items in a way that would make the team stronger going forward. They also decided to stay in the tower to recuperate and prepare for their potentially long and dangerous trek to the Hellmouth under the town of Landseal.

The Guardians – Episode 25: Stay in the circle

This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human fighter 3 (going on 4)
  • Elfred – high elf ranger 4 (AFC)
  • Fredo – stout halfling rogue 3
  • Hermione – human wizard 4
  • Mistamojo – human cleric 3
  • Lavandes – high elf druid 4
  • Oracle – human fighter 4

We pick up from where we left off four weeks ago where Hermione was pulled away from the obelisk by a wight and the magical transporter shut down. Mistamojo was lying on the ground unconscious. Diana and Fredo just woke up from the brink of death, thanks to some healing down by their comrades. Lavandes, Elfred and Oracle was fighting off some zombies.


Diana got up and attacked a zombie near Elfred to get its attention. Meanwhile, Hermione uttered an incantation and disappeared in a puff of smoke right out of the wight’s clutches. She reappeared behind the obelisk leaving the wight dumbfounded. Barn the owl circled above the obelisk scanning for her and then landed on Hermione’s shoulder.

While it was wondering what had just happened, Fredo stood up and slashed the confused wight from behind, making it scream in shock. It turned around to Fredo with blood in its eyes and struck him down. Fredo once again fell unconscious to the ground.

Yobak asked if he should activate the obelisk. The group said yes. The tiny goblin placed his hand on the slot and spoke the words: “cogito ergo sum”. The magical circle lit blue and the engraved runes started to move around the circumference faster and faster. The team’s plan then was to make sure they were all in the circle when it activates while making sure that none of the undead were.

Elfred stepped behind Yobak to ensure that no zombie got to him. Oracle summoned his inner strength to heal himself and then continued to strike down the surrounding zombies.

Lavandes cast a spell that caused vines and brambles to rise from the ground to grapple a couple of zombies. Unfortunately, the zombies were able to disentangle themselves from the plants and moved away. On the bright side, they were now standing away from the circle.

The zombies struck at the heroes but were mostly ineffective against their defences. Hermione wanted to push back a couple of zombies with a Thunderwave spell. It produced a loud boom but the zombies were able to hold their ground. Meanwhile, Fredo and Mistamojo were both at death’s door, waiting for their teammates to heal them.

One wight attacked Diana from behind. As the wight swung its sword at her, she magically shimmered and the wight missed. The other wight attacked Elfred and wounded her.

The glowing runes on the circle around the obelisk spun every more frantically as blue sparks flew from the stone. The group had about a few seconds left before the magical transport activated.

In the final moments, Diana knelt down to Mistamojo and poured a healing potion down his throat to save his life. Lavandes healed Fredo from a distance with her druidic magic. And everybody jumped into the circle.


The magic of the obelisk finally activated and they were all bathed in bright white light.

Suddenly, all the heroes along with one wight and one zombie found themselves inside a large circular stone room with four narrow windows. It was a bright room as the stone ceiling shone magical white light over head making it look like daylight inside.

A female voice spoke from behind them. “Welcome home, Mistress Zelirith,” said the voice. Everybody turned around and saw an extremely pale slight woman with long wavy auburn hair wearing a loose earthy silk stola.

She narrowed her eyes as she scanned the faces of the people in the room. She said, “You are not Mistress Zelirith. You are not welcome here.”

Suddenly, the lights over head went out and the room went nearly pitch black from the sudden change in lighting. A stone door slid from above the doorway on the north end of the room, sealing them all inside. Then the floor began to tremble as a loud rumbling sound echoed in the room.

To be continued.

The Guardians – Episode 24: Say the words!

This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human fighter 3
  • Elfred – high elf ranger 4 (AFC – away from character)
  • Fredo – stout halfling rogue 3
  • Hermione – human wizard 4
  • Mistamojo – human cleric 3
  • Lavandes – high elf druid 4
  • Oracle – human fighter 4

After defeating a group of rabid zombies, a second wave of zombies jumped out of the brush but waited in a long line. They held their position while growling and snarling at the heroes. The team stood there a moment and decided again to follow the owl that’s flying ever westward.

The heroes ran in formation where the fastest of them were at the lead while those who were heavily encumbered and slowed bring up the rear. Oracle decided to stay back to guard the rear as they rushed forward. He quickly glanced back at the zombies and saw them still standing where they were. Then they parted to the side to allow a couple of wights to step forward and fire off their longbows at Oracle. A few arrows flew but only one arrow managed to hit him – not that it mattered.

When the wights found that their arrows were no longer in range of the heroes, they commanded the zombies to rush toward the team.

They continued walking briskly after the owl above them. In the distance, they saw a tall stone structure. On closer look, they saw that it was an old obelisk about two storeys high standing on a low stone pedestal with engraved arcane runes around its perimeter. The obelisk itself also had arcane writing. Barn the owl just circled above the obelisk. This must be where it wanted to take them.

Thanks to her training, Hermione could decipher the writings. It read that it was a transportation device and that it belonged to Zelirith the Witch. They surmised that activating it could magically take them straight to Zelirith’s tower. At about three feet from the base of the obelisk was a slot where one can insert one’s hand.

Hermione placed her hand in the slot to try to activate it. After a second, the inside of the slot glowed red and the flat engraving of a face on the surface of the obelisk puffed up and formed depth like a sculpted stone face. Its lips parted and started to talk: “Speak the words!”

But nobody knew the words.

Meanwhile, the wights and the zombies were quickly closing the gap between them and the heroes. In panic, they decided to blindly guess what the words were. The obelisk let out a loud thunderous boom and a forceful shockwave emanated from it that pushed against them. It felt like hitting the ground from falling off a roof. A few were even hurtled out of the circle from the force.

The stone face then said that they were not Zelirith! In order to activate the magic, they need to answer three questions.

The undead finally reached them as they were asked the first question – a riddle: “You walk across the bridge and you see a boat full of people yet there isn’t a single person on board. How is that possible?”

They initially answered incorrectly and a thunderwave pulsated from the obelisk again, severely hurting some in the team. Thankfully, Mistamojo figured out the answer to the first riddle: “They were all married!” The face responded, “correct!”

The face then asked a second riddle: “Two mothers and two daughters went outside to eat. Everyone ate one apple each yet only three apples were eaten in all. How is that possible?” Again, Mistamojo was quickly able to provide the answer: “They were a grandmother, mother and daughter.” The face responded, “correct!”

Meanwhile, in the scuffle around the circle, Frodo and Diana fell unconscious in the hands of the undead. Lavandes then revived Frodo with a Healing Word spell from a distance while Mistamojo was able to Cure Diana’s Wounds nearby.

The face then asked a third riddle: “What starts with the letter “T”, is filled with “T” and ends in “T”?” This time, Oracle had the answer: “It’s a teapot!” The face responded, “correct!”

The face continued in a booming voice, “this are the words that would activate the magic of the obelisk: ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’!”

Unfortunately, nobody heard the words clearly. So they tried to repeat the words back to the obelisk a few times but failed to say it correctly. With each failure, their bodies were hit by a loud Thunderwave. And again, some were thrown out the circle and into the zombies.

After much thought, Hermione realised that the words were actually a saying in an ancient language that meant “I think therefore I am.” Knowing this, she was able to correctly invoke the words “Cogito Ergo Sum” back to the obelisk. The engraved arcane runes around the perimeter of the stone circle started to crawl around it in a green glow. With every passing second, the runes spun faster and faster. The obelisk itself started to fizzle and crackle, as if it was powering up before it could fully activate.

Although they felt like rejoicing, not everyone in the team were inside the circle. There were those outside and severely wounded. Hermione even considered releasing her hand from the obelisk to give her friends time to get back on the circle. She didn’t have to choose though. The wights realised what was happening and wanted to stop the heroes from escaping. The zombies started trying to grab the heroes and pull them away from the obelisk. One of the wights strode quickly toward her and pulled her away from the obelisk.

Instantly, the red and green glow of the obelisk and the circle disappeared. The circle stopped glowing and the arcane runes stopped spinning. At that moment, only Yobak the goblin and Elfred were freely standing on the circle. Hermione though still on the circle was being pulled away from the obelisk by a wight. Mistamojo was lying unconscious on the ground at the feet of two zombies and one wight. Diana and Fredo, though recovered from near death, remained on the ground pretending to be dead. Oracle and Lavandes were actively being blocked from getting back into the circle by a few zombies.

When we play again in four weeks’ time, we’ll find out if everybody makes it through the transport or would they be killed by zombies and wights.

This session marks the return of the Guardians of Landseal campaign to using D&D 5e. Thankfully I still have all the characters stored in D&D Beyond and I was able to simply update them based on the events of the last few sessions. A few of them levelled up to level 4 and the rest are close to going up as well.

Although they were just zombies, they stilled offered a not insignificant challenge for the PCs who were super focused on just activating the magic of the obelisk. The wights were nothing to sneeze at either. In a few sessions before this, they’ve also faced against a wight and some zombies and they didn’t offer much of a challenge then. This time, even though the characters have lots more features and capabilities, they no longer found facing the same foes as easy as before.

While prepping for this session, I was reminded of all the online tools available to 5e DMs and players. It’s amazing. Definitely made the transition back to 5e easier. And prepping for the adventure wasn’t much more time consuming that I thought it would be too.

Overall, I feel glad and almost a sense of relief to be back to using 5e.

The Guardians – Episode 23: The witch is dead

This session’s PCs:
  • Diana – human fighter, level 4
  • Elfred – elf fighter/magic-user, level 3
  • Fredo – halfling thief, level 5
  • Hermione – human magic-user, level 5
  • Mistamojo – human cleric, level 5
  • Lavandes – elf druid, level 4
  • Oracle – human fighter, level 5

They settled inside the old hydra cave for the night, making sure everybody’s healed with Lavandes and Mistamojo’s help. Diana, Oracle and Fredo took turns standing watch but the night was uneventful.

In the morning, they got ready to resume their journey to the town of Landseal. It didn’t look like morning though as outside it was very dark and the sky was of a red tint. Oracle climbed up to the surface to have a peek. He heard some growling noises in the distance but didn’t see anything. He beckoned everybody to come join him.

Barn, Zelirith the Witch’s owl, flew toward Hermione and perched on her right arm. They noticed a glowing red band on its left leg and investigated it. Suddenly, they hear Zelirith’s familiar voice. She said that if they are hearing this message, it meant that she was probably dead. Her message also told them that they should go to her tower in the hopes and that she thinks the stuff in her tower would be able to help the heroes.

Just then Fredo remembered that there was a Halfling settlement about a day away from where they were. They could possibly get supplies there and maybe even some horses and a cart to speed their journey to Landseal. Otherwise, it would be another three days on foot to get there.

After some discussion, they agreed to follow the owl back to Zelirith’s tower. Just as they started walking, ten rabid zombies came out of the bushes, descended on them and started attacking them viciously.

Luck was on their side that morning.

Lavandes cast magic that entangled a couple of fast zombies on a nearby shrub.  Oracle made quick work of three of them using his magical longsword. Elfred, Diana, Hermione and Fredo used their individual skills to defeat zombies they faced.

Just as they thought they killed off all the zombies, a second wave had appeared from behind but they did not advance.

Do they stay and fight the second wave of zombies? Or do they make a run for it? To be continued.

After a couple of sessions running Basic Fantasy RPG for my office group, I saw that they definitely feel the lack of options and power afforded them when they had the opportunity to play their characters using the D&D 5e system.

It’s true that BFRPG is simpler to run and so it should also be simpler to prepare for. However, I did miss the elegant consistent application of rules in 5e and how the monsters and PCs of that system seem to have the right amount challenge and level of lethality. Although it is much harder to prep for 5e, I realised that maybe it wasn’t that much harder and in return, it gave the players (and even me) more options during encounters.

After this session, I surveyed the group to get their feedback of the last couple of sessions. It seemed like they were looking for more capability from their characters but still get challenged (without having to resort to having them fight monsters twice their HD). I asked them if they want to go back to 5e and they did. I guess they only said yes to going back to Basic Fantasy because I asked them to.

And so, starting next session, we are back to Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. I have their 5e characters still on D&D Beyond so I just updated that with the changes from that last couple of sessions. Printed those new forms, levelled up a couple of PCs and prepared an end-of-season finale session for the next one (people are going away on holidays for a few weeks so I decided we were going to have a three-week break).

I’m pretty excited about it.

The Dragonslayers – Episode 7: The mining town of Stonescar

This session’s PCs:

  • Alistair – male human magic-user, level 3
  • Beka – female elf fighter, level 4
  • Chichi – female halfling thief, level 5
  • Elrond – male elf magic-user, level 4
  • Gambit – female elf fighter, level 4
  • Goldmoon – female human cleric, level 4
  • Pedro – male human fighter, level 4

It was nearly dark when the Dragonslayers of Erstone arrived at the abandoned mining town of Stonescar. They were ushered in quickly into the boarded up Sleeping Canary Inn by an old man by the name of Rell. Once they all stepped inside, two younger men started boarding up the front door to the inn quickly again as it began rain hard outside.

They were about to ask Rell questions when they heard a loud crashing above the inn. Outside, the unnerving sound of clicking and gargling accompanied the pattering rain.

The people in the inn ran toward the bar as some of the heroes ran upstairs to investigate. Chi chi tried to run quietly up the stairs as Beka, Alistair and the two farmers ran past her.

Monsters came crashing in and quickly ran toward the apparent weak people. They ran in a jerky type of way but it did not slow them down. Catching everybody by surprise at how fast they were.

Two leaped down the balcony and to the floor down below. One went straight for the little girl by the boarded up window while the other clawed the nearby old lady in half.

The other two on the first floor turned toward those who were standing by the balcony. Before Alistair even had a chance to react, one of the monsters clawed and bit him. He fell to the ground from his wounds.

Gambit took a peek outside to see what’s going on out there but all she could see were some white figures walking quickly in the darkness.

Elrond cast a web spell at the two monsters on the lower ground just as one of the monsters grabbed the little girl.

Pedro jumped on top of the tables and attacked the monsters around him. Goldmoon created a spiritual hammer and threw it at the monsters. Gambit started shooting her longbow at the monsters from a distance.

Soon, two more monsters broke in through the windows, one of them near the girl and the other burst through the window near Gambit. But that monster ignored her and ran straight to the girl on the other side of the room.

Eventually, with magic missiles and arrows flying in the air and slashing swords, the heroes were able to defeat all the monsters and save the girl from being taken away.

With Alistair revived and the dust settled, the heroes asked the town survivors questions about the monsters they had just faced. They said that one day, they heard a loud explosion deep within the mine. That was the day of the first attack. They rushed out of the mine and killed a lot of the townsfolk and pulled the children back down into the mine, never to be seen again. Some people tried to escape the town but since it’s a few days to get to the nearest town, they believe that those who tried to escape had been killed by the monsters.

They also asked if anybody knew the daughter and granddaughter or Old Man Pat from Erstone. Rell said that although Moira (the daughter) had been killed by the monsters on the first attack, her granddaughter

They decided that the best course of action was to find where the monsters live and destroy them there. And maybe they could save a few children in the process.

After a few magical Healing thanks to Goldmoon, they all rested through the night peacefully. By morning, they were all back in full health ready to raid the mine.

But before any of that, they decided to try to open the Book of Making again. Chichi attempted to unlock the Book and again failed to open it. The book once again electricuted her, forcing her to let go of the book. Unlike the last time, a shadowy smoke escaped its pages and floated out through the gaps in the barred-up window of the inn. Maybe it was just safer to give the Book to Kheldratus after all, some of them thought.

As they geared up to go to the mine, the town survivors thought that they were going to leave them there to fend for themselves. But they clarified that they were going to the mine to investigate the source of the problem. Leena, a young woman in the inn bashfully approached Pedro and seemed genuinely worried about him. She gave him a pendant that she said would give him luck.

Initially everybody was suspicious of the pendant and even considered leaving it behind but in the end Pedro decided to wear it. That was even after Elrond confirmed that it was magical through the use of Detect Magic.

They all went to the mine. It was easy to see that it was the lair of the monsters. There was blood everywhere and some random body parts. They saw the trail of dried blood go into the dark mine.

Chichi led the way, trying to fin the possible monster lair underground. Instead, they found a dead end where a lone monster was crouched gnawing at a humanoid leg. Cornered, it quickly ran for Chichi thinking she’s the weakest member of the group. Also, they presumed because she also looked like a child.

Alone, the monster didn’t stand a chance against the heroes. They quickly dispatched it.

Looking around the mine, they found the same communicator ring that Prince Vesryn gave them a while back. They also noticed around them remnants of what seemed like elf clothes and equipment.

Elrond decided to do the tracking instead. Unfortunately, he led them to a weak section of the mine. The corridor collapsed and held buried them in rock. Everybody was hurt but survived, except for Alistair who passed out and needed to be revived.

Eventually, they found the lair of the monsters. From a good distance, they could see a large brazier with weird runes enscribed along its perimeter on the ground and around it were like the monsters they encountered at the inn the night before but those looked weak compared to some of them in the lair. One was obviously the alpha of the pack. It was the biggest of them all and it had long sabre-tooth fangs coming out of its mouth. They did not notice the heroes as they were busy feasting on something they could quite make out.

After some discussion and preparatory spellcasting, the heroes decided to advance through the corridor toward the monsters. However, as they moved closer, the noise from their carried equipment alerted the monsters to their presence. In quick moment, the monsters ran toward them and around them. Those who thought they were safely behind the fighters suddenly found themselves face to face with the monsters.

Elrond cast Mirror Image causing multiple images of himself to appear around him, making it impossible to know which one was the real him. Alistair cast Invisibility and stepped back from the group.

There was a lot of back and forth between the heroes and the monsters. Magic missiles, arcane blasts and arrows flew. Swords were swung. The lucky pendant Pedro received turned out to be lucky after all. Clawing and biting ensued. Blood was spilt. Beka fell.

In the end, as all of Elrond’s mirror images have all been spent, the spellcasters reduced to using Arcane blasts, the heroes low on health and Goldmoon could only cast one last spell. She decided to cast Hold Person on the last monster — the Alpha — and succeeded.

The Alpha froze and the heroes took that opportunity to destroy it, thus finishing the last of the mine monsters.

With the battle won, they looked around the lair for clues as to what happened there. They saw a lot of torn elf garments and broken equipment scattered away from the brazier as if something exploded from it. They realised the monsters themselves had pointy ears like elves but they were obviously a lot bigger than elves. They also found two items lying around the lair: a ring of protection which Elrond kept and a cloak of displacement which Alistair wore.

They then returned to the Sleeping Canary Inn to bring the good news to the remaining townsfolk of Stonescar.

Magic items gained:

  • Pedro: magic amulet that works like Ring of Protection +1
  • Elrond: Ring of Protection +1
  • Alistair: Cloak of Displacement

The Guardians – Episode 22: Crocodile hunters

This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human fighter, level 4
  • Elfred – elf fighter/magic-user, level 3
  • Fredo – halfling thief, level 5
  • Hermione – human magic-user, level 5
  • Mistamojo – human cleric, level 5 (controlled by other players)
  • Lavandes – elf druid, level 4
  • Oracle – human fighter, level 5

The boat came barreling down the underground rapids. Shortly, they saw a fork in the river where the right side looked like it was going to be the edge of a waterfalls and the left side went to somewhere calmer and also darker.

Diana spotted a dead ogre by the side of the river and her long lost magic dagger still sticking out of its chest. She foolishly swam for it but fortunately was able to swim back to the side of the boat.

Oracle took the oars and rowed the boat to the left. Meanwhile, the team decided that pulling the dead ogre with them was a good idea so Mistamojo threw his grappling hook and rope at the dead ogre’s body and started pulling it towrd them along with Elfred’s help.

With each pull, the boat moved back to the right side of the fork ever so slightly. Realising this, Mistamojo tried to loosen the grappling hook front he dead body but couldn’t so he just cut the rope in half to let the boat continue to the left.

The boat slowed down as it entered the dark channel to the left of the fork in the waterway. Elfred peered into the darkness and saw floating eyeballs on top of the water. On closer inspection, she realised that they were crocodiles. Hungry crocodiles.

Mistamojo spilled oil on the water and lit it on fire in an attempt to burn the crocodiles that were in the water. The crocodiles simply went around it though. The fire did illuminate the corridor a bit.

Elfred moved to the right side of the boat and shot an arrow at the largest croc. She hit it but then she accidentally shoved Mistamojo off to the side of the boat and into the water.

Oracle shot a smaller crocodile. Diana threw her magic dagger but missed and now she lost that dagger again under water. Fredo shot an arrow at the largest croc and hit. Lavandes used a sling to shoot a stone at a croc but it just bounced off its tough hide. Hermione shot off two magic missiles at the largest croc as she floated above the boat.

The largest crocodile swam to the boat and attacked Diana who was in the water hanging on to the boat. She got bit badly in the arm.

Elfred pulled mistamojo from the water and then Oracle pulled Mistamojo back into the boat. Mistamojo poured oil onto a nearby croc and lit it on fire. It died and sank into the water. Oracle swung his longsword hard at the largest croc almost chopping its head off and it too sank into the water. They killed off two more crocs before the remaining two crocs decided to retreat instead.

Diana, not wanting to lose her magic dagger again, decided to swim under water to find it. She did and was very lucky to have been able to swim back to the boat yet again.

They all finally arrived in a large cavern as the river turned into a shallow stream. In the cavern was a dead hydra and an abandoned encampment. It was where they had killed the hydra a few days ago.

With no sign of the undead in pursuit, they were finally able to take a breather and recuperate overnight. Tomorrow, they will have to press on to Landseal and find the hellmouth where they could throw the phylactery and stop the lich Kranis Volan for good.

Dragonslayers of Erstone character sheets

I have changed over to the modified 5e character sheets for the player characters of our Dragonslayers Basic Fantasy RPG campaign. The screenshot shows the characters as of the end of session 6 back in November 2017.

However, I will keep up-to-date in a shared folder in the cloud for anybody interested in keeping tabs on it here:!AnJOWypFepGXxzBY_TelUlfLB0Ta