The Guardians – Episode 14: The mother ogre, the son ogre and the seven-headed hydra

This week’s PCs:

  • Aragorn – male human fighter, level 4
  • Brioche – male human thief, level 4 (sort of)
  • Diana – female human fighter, level 3
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Fredo – male halfling thief, level 4
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – male human cleric, level 4
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

It all started with Brioche unconscious on the floor in front of two very angry ogres. The bigger meaner one was berating the slightly smaller wide-eyed one. The bigger one seemed to be the mother and the smaller one the idiot son who had let a group of adventurers through their lair. 

Diana sprang into action and attacked the ogre boy with her sword. Fredo and Krishna joined in by firing off their short bow and crossbow respectively. Both hit the ogre boy, severely wounding it.

Elfred went to Brioche’s aid and stabilised him. Oracle then leapt in front of Elfred to shield both of them from potential attacks. He swung his magical long sword but unfortunately missed. With each attack, the felt the walls and ceiling shake.

Mystic pushed ahead followed by Hermione away from the ogres and discovered another cavern with an underground steam of running water. On the opposite end was dry ground where a seven-headed hydra was resting beside an iron ladder that seemed to lead back to the surface.

Back with the rest of the group, Diana eventually killed the ogre boy with her sword. This really angered the big mother ogre as she stared ragefully at Diana and bashed the wall beside her. This caused some dust and small stones fell from the ceiling.

Mistamojo theorised that intentionally hitting the walls at the mouth of the passageway could very well bring down the ceiling on the mother ogre and block the entrance. He went to the front of the ogre and bashed the wall with his mace. Some more loose stones fell but it wasn’t enough to make the ceiling fall.

Aragorn followed suit and struck the wall with his two-handed sword. This was enough to send the ceiling crashing around the ogre.

Aragaorn, Elfred, Fredo and Mistamojo quickly stepped back from the falling rubble. A few stones hit Oracle but managed to step away in time and carry the limp body of Brioche back to safety as the mother ogre was crushed under the falling rocks that then blocked the passageway.

Meanwhile in the other cavern, Mystic fired a magic missile at the resting hydra which brought attention to both her and Hermione standing by the lair entrance.

Hermione cast a Web spell at the hydra in an attempt to hold it in place.

Unfortunately, the hydra was not even slowed down by the magical web and it rushed across the water toward the two magic-users. 

They both walked back. Mystic fired off another magic missile and Hermione cast mirror image generating two illusory duplicates of herself. Rusty walked passed them toward the hydra when the hydra breathed fire into the passageway.

Rusty was blasted with fire but survived it. For now.

Meanwhile, the cavern behind them was starting to collapse. The rest of the party started running toward the hydra’s lair. 

To be continued…


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The Guardians – Episode 13: What’s with all the racket?

This week’s PCs:

  • Aragorn – male human fighter, level 3
  • Brioche – male human thief, level 4
  • Diana – female human fighter, level 3
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – male human cleric, level 4
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

The party entered an ogre’s cave and decided to split up. Mystic and Oracle explored the eastern section of the cavern where they found themselves cut off from the rest of the group in a passageway blocked by collapsed rubble. 

Meanwhile the rest of the party was in a cavern where a living monstrous ooze had revealed itself when they tried to investigate it.

Diana and Aragorn tried to fight the ooze as the others decided to ignore it and walked away from it. Mistamojo opened a flask of oil, poured it around the ooze, lit it on fire and walked away as well.

Having already been damaged by Diana’s magic dagger, the ooze easily died from the fire. The ooze simply flattened to the ground to reveal a glass bottle with coins which Aragorn retrieved.

They soon all walked eastward to determine what had happened to Mystic and Oracle. To minimise the chance of triggering any more traps in the area, they had sent Brioche ahead to scout.

He quickly found the blocked passageway and discovered that Mystic and Oracle were on the other side. Brioche called out to the others to come help clear the rubble so that they might be reunited with the pair (some suggested couple).

Once the passageway had been cleared, they pressed eastward down the clear passageway to see what lies ahead.

They found themselves in a huge cavern with natural uneven stony pillars. Even with darkvision, Mystic, Elfred and Rusty couldn’t see what could lurk behind the pillars. Meanwhile, Brioche did not go with the group. Instead, he went back through the labyrinth passageways to see if there was anything they might have missed.

The group pressed forward into the cavern. But then, a loud cacophonous screeching erupted all around them. Looking around them, they saw giant cave locusts – pale, eyeless cricket-like creatures about 4 feet long. The shrieks were so loud that even Brioche who was far away could hear the annoying noise echo through the tunnels.

Elfred cast a Silence spell on the creatures to quickly quiet them but one was left unaffected. Fearing that the noise might attract unwanted attention, they permanently silenced the remaining insect by killing it. As a precaution, Oracle placed spikes along the path where they had come from. He hoped that this would at least slow down anybody who might attack them from the rear.

But before the caverns went quiet, Brioche saw that there were two angry ogres running down the tunnel towards him. They were angry with the noise that suddenly filled their cave. Brioche recognised the smaller one to be the ogre they saw at the entrance. The smaller ogre was accompanied by a larger ogre who was berating the former. It sounded like this was the smaller one’s mother.

Brioche ran back to the rest of the group as the two ogres caught up with him. The larger ogres easily knocked out Brioche. Those at the rear of the group turned around just in time to see Brioche felled by the ogres.

To be continued… 

The Guardians – Episode 12: Let’s split the party

This week’s PCs:

  • Brioche – male human thief, level 4
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Fredo – male halfling thief, level 4
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

After fleeing the gargoyles, the group set up camp and spent the night to recuperate. Oracle stood guard and looked around the area. He found a dead mauled body that must’ve been the person they heard screaming earlier.

The night went by uneventfully and they woke up to see that the sky still had an orange hue. They marched on northward hoping to find the lair of the goblins that may have taken the phylactery.

They found a cave after a day’s walk. There found a lot of small foot tracks in the area that could belong to goblins so Rusty investigated the mouth of the cave and declared it safe.

However, when Rusty stepped in, with the rest of the group behind him, he tripped a trap that sent spikes down from the ceiling. It slammed into him but thankfully it did not fatally wounded him. They set aside the trap and continued into the main cave passageway.

A few feet into the tunnel, they saw a smaller tunnel branch out to the east. They decided to stick to the main tunnel and followed the stench of rotting corpses that had become more apparent the further into the cave they walked.

They found an ogre eating sitting on the northern wall of an alcove where the main tunnel led them. The floor was littered with rotted and torn body parts. It wasn’t clear if these were human remains or some other humanoid beings’ remains. The ogre was busy eating what looked like a human leg but stopped when the group entered the cavern.

Elfred went for a non-aggressive approach and talked to the ogre. It didn’t like that they were there but it didn’t attack them. They asked if they could pass through his “home” to look for the “felicity”. The ogre let them pass while it continued to eat the human leg.

The group split up to explore the three tunnels leading out of the ogre’s lair at the same time, to cover more ground quickly. Oracle and Mystic went up the north-east passage, Brioche went in the north passage, and Elfred, Hermione, Rusty and Fredo went down the west passage.

Oracle and Mystic went through some winding passages but eventually found themselves in an ornate room with a bashed-in door. It was a furnished room with a dead skeletal figure sitting in one of the chairs. There were silver goblets and gems on the table. They scooped it up and then left the room via a south passageway.

After walking several feet through the passageway, the ceiling suddenly collapsed on them. A bit of the ceiling crashed on top of Oracle but Mystic was able to pull him out before the passageway was completely blocked by the rubble. They’ve been cut off from the rest of the group.

Meanwhile, Elfred, Hermione, Fredo and Rusty descended into the tunnel to find a fork to the north and what looked like some dark fluid on the floor to the west. They decided to walk around the fluid and went through the north passage instead.

They eventually reached a room that was lit by sunlight coming down from a hole in the ceiling. They looked up and saw twelve blood-sucking stirges hanging from the ceiling. On the ground are a lot of scattered dead leaves and stirge faeces. They tried to cross the room quietly toward the east exit but because of the crunchy sound from the dead leaves, the stirges stirred and descended on the group.

One stirge managed to bite Rusty and stuck to him to suck on his blood. Hermione then cast a sleep spell that put to sleep all the stirges, including the one stuck to Rusty’s back, except for one. Fredo finished off the remaining stirge with his dagger.

During the fight, Elfred accidentally kicked a wooden chest buried under all the dead leaves. She opened it to find two unlabelled potions and several gold and silver pieces, which they divided among themselves. They finished doing that just as Brioche found himself in the same room after wandering through the tunnels.

They continued down the east passage and eventually arrived at a cavern that had the same dark rippling fluid on the ground. From where they stood, they could see there’s a bottle in the middle of the cavern surrounded by the dark fluid.

Hermione wanted to investigate the fluid by extracting some of it in a bottle but that’s when the fluid oozed into life aggressively and moved forward to attack them.

To be continued…

 

Task Resolutions

The BFRPG rulebook has optional rules for general task resolution in the Ability Rolls section on page 153. I use this but want to adjust the listed target number based on the difficulty of the task. As I want the bonuses and penalties to be somewhat consistent, I’ve put together a list of difficulty ratings based on D&D 5e’s Difficulty Class rule.

Each difficulty rating has a suggested Difficulty Adjustment (DA) value to add or subtract to the BFRPG Ability Roll target number. The DA doesn’t have to be exactly the numbers below. It could be any number in between.

  • Very Easy (DA -10)
  • Easy (DA -4)
  • Medium (DA +0)
  • Hard (DA +4)
  • Very Hard (DA +10)
  • Nearly Impossible (DA +14)

For example, Pedro the Level 3 Fighter with a Strength of 17 wanted to lift a heavy boulder that is blocking the group’s path. I decided that this is a Hard task. As a Level 3 Fighter, his ability roll target number is 16. As he has a Strength of 17, he gets a +2 bonus to his roll as normal.

Since this is a Hard task (DA +4), his actual target number is 20 (16 + 4). All he has to do is roll the die and add his +2 Strength bonus to it. If that adjusted roll value is 20 or above, he successfully moves the heavy boulder out of the way. So due to the +2 Strength bonus, he effectively needs to roll 18 (18 + 2 = 20) and above to move the heavy boulder.

There is really not much of a need to hide the actual target number adjusted by DA. However, for perception checks and some passive checks, the actual target number may be kept from the player making the roll so that the player doesn’t know if they actually succeeded or not.

Medium should be the default difficulty. Easy and Very Easy difficulties should not even need a roll to succeed unless the character is under stress and failure would be dramatic. Hard and Very Hard should only be used sparingly or in areas known to be very perilous (as the PCs go up in level). Nearly Impossible should only be used if the task shouldn’t be doable by anybody except the extremely lucky.

Thief abilities, racial abilities, open doors, and so on will continue to use the current rules as written except Ability modifiers could adjust the chances (Dexterity for movement-based rolls, Wisdom for detection-based rolls, Intelligence for knowledge-based rolls and Strength for force-based rolls). For percentage chances, each +1 modifier bonus is +5% improvement. For 1 of 6 chances, add the modifier to the chances so that a +2 of Strength gives the PC a successful open doors roll if she gets 3 and below (1 on a 1d6 becomes 3 [1+2] on a 1d6).

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.