The Guardians — Episode 11: Run for it!

The group couldn’t believe that the phylactery wasn’t in the room as Zelirith the Witch claimed. They searched the room for clues, including the roasted dead goblins on the floor that were around the pedestal.


Elfred the cleric found a note on one of the dead goblins. It read:

ME LOYAL SUBJECTS.

DEEP IN WOODS IS HOLE, DAT HOLE GO DOWN TO UNDER EARTH THAT IS KEEP SAFE BY BIG MAJIK, IN DER IS VERY BIG POWER MAJIK BOX DAT CAN CONTROL A VERY OLD BUT BIG STRONG MAJIK MAN. WID BOX, US CAN TAKE BAK LAND FROM DEES YOOMANS, ELFS AND DWARFS!

IF US CONTROL MAJIK MAN, US CONTROL DA WORLD! BRING BAK BOX TO ME AND YOU GET BIG LOOT, GOOD MATE AND BE ME RIGHT HAND!

YOU MAJESTIC, KING XUBOR

From this they suspected that the goblins may have taken the phylactery before them.

They took a rest inside the bigger chamber to recuperate before setting out to tracking down the goblins that may have taken the “magic box” before them.

When they reached the surface, they smelt smoke in the air. They looked out to see that the sky had an orange red hue, like it was sunset but the shadows cast by the trees outside the cave suggested that it was closer to midday. They knew something went terribly wrong.

Now that they knew to look for signs of goblins, they noticed faint small footprint tracks leading out of the cave heading north. They walked out of the cave, completely forgetting about the gargoyles guarding it outside.

The three gargoyles swooped down on the heroes. The group made a run across the open clearing to the edge of the forest.

The fighters at the front of their column had a head start. The spellcasters at the rear became the initial targets of the gargoyles.

Diana the fighter stood by to attack the gargoyles with a magic dagger as the rest of the group ran. Hermione the magic-user was caught by one and fended it off with magic missiles. The last gargoyle attacked Rusty the dwarf fighter from behind.

Fredo the thief, being one of the faster members of the group, was one of the first to reach the edge of the forest. Once there, he heard a man shouting in the distance. He decided to ignore the man for now and waited for everybody to cross the clearing first.

Mystic called for the others to help those who were being attacked by the gargoyles and launched her own magic missiles. Oracle, who was already at the edge of the forest, kept yelling for the rest of the group to run toward him and forget the gargoyles.

Elfred tried to heal those who were near death from the gargoyle attacks as the others managed to destroy two of the three gargoyles. They saw that the gargoyles did not venture far away from the cave. Once they all managed to reach a certain distance, the lone gargoyle perched back on the top of the hill where the cave was.

With everybody away from immediate danger, they considered their options. Do they take another rest? Can they actually track down goblins by themselves? Do they help the man shouting for help in the distance? Where was Zelirith?

To be continued…


We only had about an hour to play in today’s session. There was only really enough time to do a setup for what the player characters might choose to do next and wrap up the current task.

To spice it up a little this time, I decided to add music and some sound effects using SoundPad on my iPad. The players appreciated it and thought it was cool. I need to be better prepared next time so all the sounds and music I want to play are queued up, linked and ready to go.

Another thing I decided to do was print the actual letter they found on one of the dead goblins. I was going to just narrate the letter to them but it was way better to have an actual letter they can read for themselves. They’ve reread it out loud a few times and then while we were continuing with the adventure, a few continued to reread it again. I thought that was good and it allowed them to really absorb the content of the letter without me having to recite it multiple times.

The Guardians – The story so far…

Here is a condensed recap of the story so far (up to episode 10) for those who haven’t caught up yet or have forgotten what’s happened so far and also don’t want to re-read the first 10 session reports:


It all started when the town of Landseal was attacked by goblins and kidnapped a few children. The group tracked down the goblins to a long lost mausoleum deep in the woods. (See The Fellowship – Episode 1)

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They went in and saw that the goblins were performing some ritual and were sacrificing the children. The group stopped them but not before the goblin shaman killed himself and released a trapped Lich from underneath the mausoleum. (See Episode 4: Freed more than just the children)

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The group was no match for the Lich. It was looking for its phylactery and they denied knowing anything about it. The Lich then summoned zombies and left the group to die. (Episode 5: What’s a phylactery?)

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The group survived the zombies. They were leaving to go back to town when they met a woman named Zelirith, a mage belonging to the Order of the Box, an order tasked to ensuring that the Lich King stayed magically imprisoned underground. (See Episode 6: Why so many zombies?)

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With the Lich King Kranis Volan set free, she needed to get the Lich’s phylactery quickly from the place where the Order had kept it safe. The group offered to help but they wanted to return to town first to rest and resupply. Zelirith agreed to meet them in town the next day.

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When they returned to Landseal, they were given a heroes’ welcome for saving the town and their children from the goblins. They were dubbed the Guardians of Landseal by the townsfolk and Mayor Noah gave them the key to the town.

After some a night’s rest, an envoy from Baron Andren came to town and invited them to come to the castle for an audience with the baron. They ignored the envoy and went with Zelirith to retrieve the Lich’s phylactery from some hidden tunnel instead. (See Episode 7: Shopping day)

After a 2-day hike, they arrived at the entrance. Zelirith split from the group to distract the gargoyles guarding the place while the group entered the tunnel. They faced a few challenges along the way but they eventually got to the room that would have held the phylactery. (See Episode 9: The elements)

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However, the phylactery was no longer there. The tunnel and the rooms within did seem to have a lot of dead goblins that have been killed recently. They thought that they might have come there before them. (See Episode 10: Where’s the thing?)

Could the phylactery still be in the tunnels somewhere? Could it have been taken away already?

To be continued…

The Guardians — Episode 10: Where’s the thing?

This week, I had 8 out of 10 PCs and 2 of the ones who were in the previous session couldn’t make it. I just said they were knocked out by the iron statues to explain why they couldn’t act.

Also, I’m just super busy this week so I have no time to finish the drawing I wanted to go with this session report. I’m posting the rough sketch anyway.

From left to right (excluding the towering iron statues): Fredo the halfling thief, Mistamojo the cleric, Hermione the magic-user, Mystic the elf magic-user and her mirror images, Oracle the fighter, and Rusty the dwarf fighter. Brioche the thief is behind the iron statue on the left and Elfred the elf cleric is not in view because she’s already through the door.


Fredo and Mystic caught up with the group.

They concluded that they need to match the blocks to the correct pedestal as labelled and then provide the block with the element that they represent. They were hoping that this would open the double doors.

They decided to ignore the iron statues and readied themselves to simultaneously activate the blocks. Oracle stood by the Ventus pedestal to provide the block wind. Rusty stood by the Terra pedestal to provide it with soil he grabbed from the cavern outside. Brioche stood by the Ignis pedestal to provide it with the flame of his torch. Mistamojo stood by the Aqua pedestal to provide it with holy water.

Unfortunately, the iron statues were able to knock Mistamojo and Oracle down before they could activate the blocks. Elfred went to Oracle and healed him back to consciousness while Fredo dashed to Mistamojo to grab his holy water. He also administered a healing potion to Mistamojo which brought him back to health.

Mystic cast the mirror image spell that created five copies of herself and then went to the iron statue closest to Rusty and Oracle to try to get it to attack her instead. The iron statue attacked her but only hit one of her mirror images.

While the iron statue was distracted with attacking Mystic and Brioche, the group activated the blocks in unison. The blocks lit light blue. The iron statues walked back to their original positions and the double doors started to open.

Hermione and Elfred went through the doors and found that there is another tunnel. It went in 15 feet before it ended with a waterfall blocking the passageway. Beside the double doors was a button. Elfred decided to press it to see what happens.

The double doors started to close again and the light coming from the blocks on the pedestal went out. The group started to go through the door quickly. The iron statues were on the move again. Mystic blocked their movement again and lost another mirror image. Fredo ran to the doors and planted iron stakes on the floor to stop the doors from closing.

Instead of rushing through the doors, those standing by the pedestal just reactivated the blocks again. The doors opened once again and the iron statues returned to their initial spots in the room. They all went through the passageway and did not press the button this time.

Hermione and Elfred went through the waterfall and saw that the passageway ends with another set of double doors engraved with images of flames. Beside it was another button. Hermione pressed the button and the doors slowly opened.

Behind the doors was a circular room. In the middle was another pedestal with a shaft of light shining down on it. Opposite the entrance was a large blackened fireplace. They saw on the floor two charred goblins.

Mistamojo approached the pedestal and examined it. There seems to be a small flat block on top of it. They concluded that this must be the phylactery they were after. Elfred cast Find Traps and found the block glowing. She declared that it was also trapped.

Everybody stepped back into the passageway while Mistamojo readied to pick up the phylactery and run for it.

When he tried to lift it, it won’t come off the pedestal and it also made a click sound. Suddenly, a fiery humanoid creature appeared in the fireplace. Mystic shot it with magic missile and it seemed to have been affected.

Before the fire elemental could come out of the fireplace, Mistamojo decided to push down on the block on the pedestal. The block pressed into the pedestal and the fire elemental disappeared. Mystic put a bottle of water on top of the pedestal to keep the block depressed into the pedestal.

They were confused. Where was the phylactery then? They noticed faint blackened footprints leading out of the room and into the passageway where they came from. Were the goblins able to take it? Maybe it’s still underground somewhere. Maybe not.

They’ll have to find out next time.

The Guardians — Episode 9: The elements

The group descended deeper into the dark shaft. Rusty took the lead and went down first. He went down about 80 feet when he found himself in a cavern. The cavern walls and the stalactites were moist. On the northern end was a hole in the wall where a curtain of rushing water was passing through. Elfred tried to look through the waterfall and saw that there seemed to be an open area behind it.

They walked through the waterfall and found themselves in another cavern almost as big as the one they just came from. In front of them were two large heavy metallic double doors. The doors didn’t have any knobs nor handles. On the ground were a couple of dead goblins that were rotting for about three weeks.

Rusty looked around and saw that there were tiny openings to the walls adjacent to the doors. Oracle and Elfred looked into what could be in those openings using a mirror and dark vision. Elfred could see that there was some movement in there but couldn’t quite make it out.

They tried pushing the heavy double doors and it was very difficult. They were only able to move it inches each time. The first time the doors were moved, it made a loud echoing creak. Suddenly, the cavern started to be filled by a swarm of flying insects. Rusty peeked through the small gap between the doors to see that there was a dark room behind the doors and an altar in the middle of the room.

With the insects repeatedly biting them painfully, the group was extra motivated to quickly push the doors open and get out of the cavern. At one point, there was enough of a gap between the doors for Rusty and Brioche to go through. Brioche ran through the waterfalls straight through the gap between the doors and into the next room.

He looked around and saw that the room was roughly octagonal in shape. Opposite the door they came in was another smaller set of double doors with no handles. In the middle of the room was an altar where four blocks with carvings were placed. The altar was surrounded by four pedestals with triangular slots on top. And between the pedestals on the east and west are two 7-foot iron statues that looked like naked Olympians. On the ground were several dead goblins again with blood splattered on the smooth stone floor and walls round them.

The group went in and started pulling the blocks from the altar. Each time a block was pulled, the altar shocked them with surges of electricity. They tried putting the blocks in the slots in the pedestals. The first time they tried it, Oracle put a block on a pedestal where the word VENTUS was written. His block went into the slot but he got zapped.

They took inventory of the room and found that the other pedestals also had words etched on them. The others had the words IGNIS, TERRA and AQUA. Hermione having cast the Read Languages spell could read them plainly as: WIND, FIRE, EARTH and WATER.


Meanwhile, they faced two threats in that room. There were the flying insects coming in through the south door and there were the two iron statues that started to move after they had placed all of the four blocks into the four pedestals. They needed to get through the north door and realised that getting the blocks in the right places is key to doing that.

They tried to rearrange the blocks but nothing seemed to happen. The northern doors remained shut. They noticed that the blocks had a dish-like indentation on one end. They decided that they need to match the right block to the right pedestal and then provide the element that the blocks represent into the dish: fire for IGNIS, earth for TERRA, water for AQUA and air for VENTUS.

Would it work though? Would they be able to open the door before the insects and the iron statues kill them? That’s for next time.

It’s #RPGaDAY 2017 this August

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This year, I’ve finally started running tabletop RPG again after a couple of decades of not playing RPGs. I started playing tabletop RPG back in the late 80’s when my older cousin introduced the concept to us.

We played a weekly game with him as the gamemaster using a rules-less fantasy game he made up called Tark-Mar. It’s a campaign world that’s very He-man in tone and we loved it.

I then took over the game master role and got us into AD&D 2nd Edition. And then switched over to classic D&D by way of Rules Cyclopedia when that came out.

We eventually stopped playing when we left university and started having real life jobs.

I wanted to start running a game again with my current friends so I started looking at what’s up in the RPG world back in 2015. Two years later of going through different rulebooks and campaign genres, I’ve finally got my friends to play a game with me.

I used Green Ronin’s Fantasy Age for a couple of sessions and then continued playing with Basic Fantasy RPG. I currently run two separate on-going campaigns and I love it. I hope to continue gaming for several more years to come.

In any case, it’s just about the right time for me to join this year’s #RPGaDAY festivities. I’ll post about those separately. If you are interested in joining the fun, get the details here: https://autocratik.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/rpgaday-2017-announcing-rpgaday-again.html

The Guardians — Episode 8: Down the hole

img_0976Zelirith, whom the townsfolk called the Witch of the Forest, led the group to a 2-day trek to the hills where the Lich’s phylactery is kept hidden. She explained to them that they would need to find the cave guarded by winged demon-like statues resembling gargoyles. And in the shallow cave would be a wall of overlapping rocks. Behind it would be a boulder that they would need to lift to reveal the hole in the ground leading to a deep vertical tunnel.

She was not sure exactly what to expect inside as she had not read this in the book left to her by the Order of the Box.

She wouldn’t be able to accompany them down the tunnel because it was protected by powerful magic to thwart powerful individuals from entering and taking the phylactery. She said that she would lead the gargoyles away from the mouth of the cave to allow the group to go into the tunnel unharmed.

Mistamojo asked how she would accomplish this. At that, she created a tall flaming humanoid from thin air and said, “with this.” She walked off with the fire elemental away from view.

Moments later, the group saw a fireball explode near the mouth of the cave. Ten gargoyles rose from the hill and flew to the direction of the source of the fireball.

In seeing that, the group moved closer to the cave and stopped at the bushes just across it. They surveyed their surrounding to see if it was truly safe to cross. What they saw were the rotting corpses of a couple of ogres and lots of goblins. Mistamojo deduced that the goblins may have attempted to get the phylactery a while back.

With the gargoyles preoccupied with Zelirith and her fire elemental off in the distance, Brioche the thief darted across from the bushes into the cave. Encouraged by Brioche’s lead, Mistamojo followed him.

They went behind the wall of rocks and saw that the hole in the ground was no longer covered by a boulder. Iron spikes were nailed around the hole. Each spike had rope tied to it with the other end dangling into the dark vertical tunnel below. They could hear the faint sound of rushing water in the tunnel. Mistamojo threw in a torch and it briefly lit the tunnel as it bounced a few times on some rocky surface and then it was gone.

With the gargoyles preoccupied with Zelirith and her fire elemental off in the distance, Brioche the thief darted across from the bushes into the cave. Encouraged by Brioche’s lead, Mistamojo followed him.

They went behind the wall of rocks and saw that the hole in the ground was no longer covered by a boulder. Iron spikes were nailed around the hole. Each spike had rope tied to it with the other end dangling into the dark vertical tunnel below. They could hear the faint sound of rushing water in the tunnel. Mistamojo threw in a torch and it briefly lit the tunnel as it bounced a few times on some rocky surface and then it was gone.

Outside, Elfred cast Protection from Evil while Hermione cast Mirror Image. Suddenly there were three Hermiones standing side-by-side and mirroring the movement of each other. The rest of the group tried to cross into the cave but due to the commotion they were making, they attracted the attention of two gargoyles. The flying creatures swooped in to attack but Rusty, Aragorn, Diana and Oracle formed a wall to allow Elfred, Mystic and Hermione to go into the cave safely.

Oracle tried to shoot a gargoyle with his long bow but he snapped his bow’s string. Rusty tried to shoot a gargoyle with his short bow but missed badly. Meanwhile, Hermione remembered from her magical studies that non-magical weapons are ineffective against gargoyles.

She passed on that knowledge to her team. Oracle and Rusty already have magical long swords so they switched to that. Hermione and Mystic both handed their magical daggers to Diana and Aragorn.

Oracle and Rusty were both hit by the gargoyles but they were able to hit them back with their own swords. Hermione and Mystic fired off magic missiles which were effective. One gargoyle tried to attack Mystic because of this but Diana was able to kill it with the magic dagger as it flew low past her. Rusty finished of the other gargoyle with ease.

Once the two gargoyles were down, they all gathered inside the cave to avoid attracting the attention of the rest of the gargoyles. After some discussion, the group decided to all go down the tunnel using the rope that were already there.
As Hermione and Elfred descended down into the tunnel, Hermione’s mirror images disappeared and Elfred’s Protection from Evil fizzled. Something in the tunnel made magic ineffective.

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At about a hundred feet down, the vertical tunnel widened into a round area where everybody could stand. But in the middle of this round area was another hole in the ground leading into further darkness below. As above, there were iron spikes with rope at the mouth of this hole. The sound of rushing water was louder now.

There was also a corpse of someone in singed long robes. Hermione investigated as it looked like a dead mage. It seemed to have been dead for a very long time as it was mostly skeleton. He was wearing a cloak that didn’t look singed like the rest of his clothing. He also wore a magic ring and a scarab amulet. In his backpack was a spellbook, a magical dagger and 150 gold coins.

The group paused here to decide what to do next. In the meantime, they divided the dead wizard’s possessions among themselves.

Would they all go down the tunnel? Would some stay behind to ensure they weren’t attack from the rear? What else is in store for them underneath? They’ll find out next time.


 

Nine of the ten players were in attendance on Tuesday’s game. I tried a few things to make the game run more smoothly despite the large number of PCs.

  1. We only rolled initiative once and we used that for the entire encounter
  2. I asked for a volunteer to keep track of whose turn it was in the initiative order
  3. I sat at the head of the table again so I could easily talk to anybody on the table without having to turn my whole body just to face them. This also meant I could easily see if anybody wanted to get my attention and say something.

The Guardians — Episode 7: Shopping day

From this point onward, I’m labeling this particular campaign The Guardians, in reference to what has happened in game today.


After defeating the zombies, a woman in blue with a white streak on her otherwise flowing black hair appeared in the main chamber of the mausoleum. She was initially shouting at no one in particular but the directed her anger at the group when she saw them. She demanded to know why they have set the Lich King Kranis Volan free.


Elfred convinced the woman named Zelirith that they did not free the Lich King. In fact, they wanted to help stop the Lich King but needed to gear up and rest in town first. Zelirith said she needed to get a few things sorted in her house first anyway and said she’d just meet them back in the town of Landseal the next day. And so, she left with her owl Barn and what seemed like a large walking boulder creature.

When the group returned to town, they were given a heroes’ welcome. The kids greeted them by placing garlands around their necks. Mayor Noah Pritchard, a kindly and respectable old man in smart robes walked toward them with a smile and open arms.


The mayor thanked them, gave them 1000 gold (donated by everyone in town) and the key to Landseal in appreciation. Everyone cheered and started calling them the Guardians of Landseal.

Using the reward money and the treasure they got from the crypt, they bought better weapons and armour. In appreciation for the town’s new found heroes, they were offered 10% discount on all items they bought at the shops. They also got free food and lodging at the Full Tankard Tavern for the time being.


During the day, Aragorn noticed a young boy of maybe 10 to 12 years old following him around town. He was wearing a fur cloak and carrying a short bow. When Aragorn confronted the boy, he said he was George, son of Jared the local hunter. He was one of the kids abducted by the goblins and saved by the heroes. He remembered Aragorn particularly as it was Aragorn who stopped the goblin shaman from killing him.

He wanted to tag along and claimed he could be useful to the group. Although they initially entertained the idea of using him as a scout or checker for traps (I’m sure they were just kidding, right? Right?), they eventually decided against bringing him along. They didn’t want to take care of some kid in the middle of certain danger. George sulkily left the group after the rejection.

In the morning, after they were fully rested, an envoy from the Baron of Andren arrived in town and told the group that they have been invited by Baron Cain Andren to go to his castle where a feast in their honour was waiting for them. The group said they would think about it. The envoy said he’ll just go to the mayor in the meantime to talk to the Baron’s cousin.


While the group discussed in the tavern whether or not to go with the envoy, Zelirith walked in and told them it was time to go. She handed everybody a healing potion each and the magic-users, she handed 7 scrolls. All the spells in the scrolls were neither in Hermione’s nor Mystic’s spell books yet so they transferred most of them across.

In the end, they decided to ditch the baron’s envoy and leave with Zelirith to go to the hidden tunnel of the Order of the Box where the Lich’s phylactery was supposed to be kept and protected.

What awaits the group at the hidden tunnel? We’ll find out in a couple of weeks.


We were only able to play for about an hour today due to scheduling difficulties. And so, we only really had time to do some shopping and start a couple of story threads.

With 10 players and Tuesday being a busy day in the office, it’s getting harder to get everybody together for a session that last at least an hour. For example, although all 10 of the players are at work today, only 7 were able to play. But since I know that there would be some housekeeping that needed to be done, I just want to run a session anyway so that next session will be the actual start of a new adventure.

I also felt that the players were expecting some combat today and they had none. I asked the players after what it was they want out of the games to help in preparing future adventures. The majority said they wanted more combat and problem solving. I’m taking that to mean that they are less interested in the roleplaying aspect of roleplaying games in the future. That means I can now just focus on making/using dungeon-crawling-type adventures.