The Guardians — Episode 8: Down the hole

Zelirith, 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.

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.

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.

The Fellowship — Episode 6: Why so many zombies?

We find our heroes still in the hidden crypt surrounded by undead Templars that have been raised by the Lich before it flew away.

A mysterious light mist rose from the floor and suddenly, Aragorn, Elfred and Fredo fell to the ground unconscious. 

Rusty, Mistamojo and Hermione desperately fought eight zombies armed in Templar regalia. Hermione noticed that they weren’t wearing and using mundane gear. They were wearing magical protection and using magically-enhanced weapons. These, along with being outnumbered, made it very challenging for the three.

Luckily, Oracle doubled back to the mausoleum after Brioche assured him that he could take the children back to Landseal safely by himself.

Oracle found a magic-user along the way by the name of Mystic. For one reason or other, she decided to join Oracle to meet his group. When they finally arrived in the main chamber underground, they found the group already engaged in combat with the undead.

Rusty slashed at the zombies with his long sword. Hermione fired off magic missiles. Mistamojo called on divine power to turn two zombies away.

Meanwhile from a distance, Oracle tried to move quickly to assist his friends. He threw a spear at range but he missed. He shot a couple of arrows and those also missed. Mystic along side Oracle and fired off all the magic missiles she had at the zombies.

The group slowly thinned the number of undead remaining but near the end, Rusty was struck down, having already been severely weakened from earlier encounters. Thankfully, his comrades were able to stabilise him and resuscitate him soon after.

With Mistamojo’s numerous failed attempts at turning the zombies again after the first two fled, he decided to end the last remaining zombie with a very well placed strike of his mace to its skull, crushing it completely.

Finally out of combat, they looked at the Templars’ equipment and found on them 2000 gold pieces, 5 rubies, a couple of magical long swords (+1), a ring of protection (+2), a couple of magical daggers (+1) and magical shield (+1).

Rusty and Oracle each took a long sword, Hermione got the Ring of Protection, Mistamojo took the Shield, and Hermione and Mystic each took a dagger.

As the team was readying to leave the crypt to go back to the town of Landseal, they heard someone yelling in the main chamber.

“NO!” yelled a middle aged woman in blue robes with long straight black hair with a single white streak to the side. She was pacing around the hole where the Lich had risen and looking down into it.

She then cast her eyes at the group who have gathered in the main chamber and shouted at them, “what have you done?! Why have you set Kranis Volán free?!”

And that’s where we ended the session. Who is this woman? Who is Kranis Volán? Will they ever get to go back to town and do some shopping? We’ll find out next session.

Four of our regular players were away today due to various reasons. But since it’s already been 3 weeks since the last session, I just wanted to run the session today anyway just so they can finally get back to town and go on other adventures. That explains why three of the PCs just fainted suddenly.

There would have been only four players today if it weren’t for Mystic the magic-user joining the group. We have a new developer at work and he was keen enough to join the game as a female magic-user so I gave him a character sheet.

We also have a new QA/tester join the team recently and she watched today’s session. She even took over control of Rusty near the end because Rusty’s player had to go to a meeting in the next room. She said she wanted to join the game in the next session as a fighter.

So next session, if everybody’s in, there’ll be 10 PCs in the group. I think creating encounters that’s not too challenging nor too easy would be something I’ll have to manage. I’m just glad that I have this chance to run the game with a group of people who seem to be very into playing their characters.

The Fellowship – Episode 5: What’s a phylactery?

Brioche and Oracle left the mausoleum to take the children back to town while the rest of the group stayed in the main chamber and spent the night there.

The group started the day early. Looking through the large hole in the ceiling they could see that it was still dark outside. But having regained their strength, they felt confident to look around the hidden crypt.

After some investigation, they’ve learned that this was the crypt of a Sir Tristan and his Templar knights. Mistamojo detected magic in the tombs themselves so they tried to pry open the tombs. But then they heard somebody shouting back in the main chamber.

They looked and it was the lich that flew away the day before. It was back! And it kept repeating, “where is my phylactery?!”

Elfred said, “what’s a phelicity?”

The team readied themselves for combat but Mistamojo insisted that they talk to it first and ask it some questions.

However, due to an aura of fear that it emanated, those that went out to engage it froze in fear. Only Fredo seemed to have been unaffected by the aura. He was about ready to strike but took Mistamojo’s advice instead and tried talking to it.

He explained that they didn’t have what it was looking for. The lich did not believe a halfling. It thought that Fredo was lying to him. To show Fredo that it was serious, it cast a lightning bolt at Aragorn standing beside Fredo. With one strike, Aragorn fell to the ground. It asked again in a deep booming voice, “where is my phylactery?!”

The team decided that the time for diplomacy was over.  The clerics Elfred and Mistamojo started to remove the magical fear from those who were frozen. Once able to move again, Rusty went to the fallen Aragorn and healed him. Hermione stung the lich with a magic missile while Fredo slashed at it with his short sword.

Mistamojo still believed he could talk sense to the Lich. In the end, he was able to convince the Lich that there was no point fighting them as they really didn’t know anything and they didn’t pose any meaningful threat. The Lich believed the cleric and agreed that there was no point wasting its time with them cockroaches.

The lich waved its hand and the dead knights buried in the crypt came out of their tombs. Then the lich flew away with an almost inaudible chuckle.

The heroes were left to fight off the zombified forms of the nine knights buried in the crypt.

Will they survive the crypt? Is there anything of value in the crypt worth investigating? We’ll find out in the next episode.

The Fellowship – The Player Characters post episode 4

Here is a snapshot of the player characters’ sheets after saving the abducted children from the goblins.
I’ve altered the James V West OSR character sheet I downloaded from the Basic Fantasy RPG website with the following modifications:

  • I added a Player field. I initially found it useful to know which character belongs to which player. Of course I know it by heart now but I kept it there.
  • I spelt out the Ability names from the three letter shortened form. I found my players getting tripped up with the shortened form.
  • I spelt out Attack Bonus instead of AB. They keep forgetting about it. I’m hoping with the words spelt out, it will be more intuitive.
  • I added a Skill Check target number box.
  • Made the shield drawing for AC also include the letters AC inside it. Having the AC outside confused some players as to which number is the AC (there are a lot of nearby numbers, including the AB score).
  • Added an HP max sub section.
  • Removed the lines in Special and Items. The lines make the text look too busy and some players don’t really look at the items they have.

That’s it. I just wanted to improve readability and minimise confusion.

Anyway, it’s all good to go for the game on Tuesday.

The Fellowship – Episode 4: Freed more than just the children

Everybody was in so our session on Tuesday featured these Player Characters:

  • Aragorn – Human fighter/warrior level 2
  • Brioche – Human thief level 2
  • Elfred – Elf cleric level 2
  • Fredo – Halfling thief level 2
  • Hermione – Human magic-user level 2
  • Mistamojo – Human cleric level 2
  • Oracle – Human fighter/brute level 2
  • Rusty – Dwarf fighter/berserker level 2

The heroes had the main chamber under control. Oracle and Rusty were blocking the advance of the goblin reinforcements through the corridor, Fredo was in a duel with the only goblin fighter left standing in the chamber, and Mistamojo, and Brioche had the goblin shaman surrounded.

The goblins who couldn’t get past the dire wolf in front of them in the corridor started shooting at the fighters with their short bows. Between the dire wolf bites, the goblin warrior spears and the goblin arrows, Oracle and Rusty were slowly getting beaten down. But still they continued to hold the line.

Hermione saw that somebody needed to make sure that the remaining children were safe, ran over to protect them. She then realised that there were two other children sleeping in a cage beside the children who were bound with rope on the floor. Using her magic, she easily opened the cage and freed the children.

Meanwhile, with Fredo and the goblin seemingly locked in endless combat, Aragorn stepped in and struck the goblin dead with his two swing attack. In turn, Elfred decided to run at the goblin shaman and bopped him over the head with her mace.

After the goblin shaman saw that he will inevitably be overpowered by the three heroes before him, he decided that his only option was to complete his mission no matter what. He laughed maniacally and then plunged his own ceremonial dagger into his chest. He slumped to the floor and his blood started to flow from him to cover some chalk-drawn symbols on the floor. That was when the ground shook violently and the floor in the middle of the room fell away.

A skeletal figure with flowy robes floated up from the hole in the ground surrounded by swirling purple light energy. He shouted in a gravely voice, “at last, I am free once more!” Being a magic-user, Hermione recognised this figure as a fearsome lich — once a powerful magic-user ever-consumed with achieving immortality, had become a powerful undead sorcerer.

The mere presence of the lich struck supernatural fear on those who dared gaze upon it. Aragorn and Mistamojo dared to look and ended up cowering away.

Not entirely sure what to do next, the heroes who were fighting in the corridor continued to press on the goblins and dire wolf. At the very least, the corridor seemed to be the only way out and away from the lich in the chamber.

Standing behind the fighters were the two thieves, Fredo and Brioche. Both were hoping to support the weakened fighters. Rusty, in particular, really needed the back up as he had already lost a lot of blood from the combined attacks of the dire wolf and the second rank goblin warriors’ spears.

Fredo threw his dagger at the dire wolf but accidentally struck his friend Rusty in the back instead, further weaking the already bloodied dwarf. After another round of attacks from all sides, Rusty found himself with a dagger on his back and an arrow on his shoulder.

Fredo pulled the dagger from Rusty’s back and threw it again at the dire wolf. This time round, it was enough to fell the huge beast.

Luckily for our heroes, the lich wasn’t looking for a fight right then and there. It used its magic to create a round opening on the ceiling. Rubble fell from the ceiling as a huge hole had let the noon sun shine down into the chamber. The lich then flew up into the outside world and disappeared.

When the goblins saw that the heroes are slowly overpowering them, those who were able, fled.

In the end, everybody felt lucky to still be alive. They checked on the children and their surroundings. In the heat of battle, they didn’t take notice earlier the large statue of a knight on the far wall where the children were bound.

There were words written on the base where the knight stood: “If you are to keep it, you must first give it.” The others tried to offer the statue different things but nothing seemed to work. Mistamojo realised that it must be a riddle.

Elfred then remembered the words written in the offering room, the oath of the knights to the holdy order. She said the words out loud and the wall near the statue rumbled and slid open.

They had found the actual tomb of the templar knights.

All though they were very excited to go in and explore, they thought better of it and decided to set up camp in the main chamber in the meantime. They will need to rest. And for the spell casters, they would need to get their spent magic back.

Brioche volunteered to take the four children back to town and reunite them with their families. After Mistamojo gave Rusty a healing potion, Rusty decided to accompany Brioche to town.

And so, our heroes were able to save all four of the town’s abducted children. In a sense, they’ve successfully completed the mission they’ve embarked on. However, there were two other children who have been slain and their home town is unknown. And there is also the matter of a powerful lich somehow freed by a goblin shaman.

What’s in store for them in the knights’ tomb? Will Brioche, Rusty and the children return to the town of Erstone safely? Will they ever encounter the lich again?

They’ll just have to find out in the coming episodes.

I have the players vote for the most valuable/useful/entertaining player other than themselves at the end of each session. The MVP gets a bonus XP which is around an eighth of what they typically get after a session.

As there are eight players, I want to avoid the situation where the same person might always get the MVP award so I have them vote for three MVPs.

This session’s MVPs are Aragorn the human fighter, Rusty the dwarf fighter (I think mostly because he was stabbed in the back) and Fredo the halfling thief (I think mostly because he accidentally did the stabbing).

By the end of it, everybody went up to level 3 except for Fredo who is now a level 4 thief.

The Fellowship – Episode 3: Save the Children

Aragorn (human fighter/warrior 2) and Brioche (human thief 2) finally caught up with the group at the mausoleum offering chamber underground.

At the same time, Fredo (halfling thief 2) reported on what he saw in the next room — 7 goblins chanting with a shaman goblin whilst there were 4 bound children on the floor in front of the shaman.

Fearing for the children, they went into the next room ready to attack the goblins. However, they found that there were 2 other goblin warriors at each corner nearest the room entrance as they walked in.

Once everyone was in the room and she had line of sight of the goblins, Hermione (human magic-user 2) cast her sleep spell from the safety of the corridor and knocked out three of the eight visible goblins. Unfortunately, the shaman wasn’t affected and continued his dark ritual.

The Oracle (human fighter/brute 2), Aragorn, Rusty (dwarf fighter/berserker 2), Elfred (elf cleric 2) and Mistamojo (human cleric 2) engaged the goblin warriors and easily overpowered them.

Meanwhile, Fredo stepped back into the corridor to hide in the shadows hoping to sneak attack the goblins later. Brioche then went to one dead goblin warrior to grab its long sword.

The goblins near the shaman moved toward the group to allow the shaman to continue the ritual. At that point, the shaman stabbed one of the boys on the floor with his dagger, shocking some of the heroes. The shaman then continued his chanting while slowly walking to a bound girl on the floor, not paying the group any mind.

Wanting to focus on saving the children, the party attacked the goblins who were protecting the shaman. However, luck wasn’t on the heroes’ side as they were not able to dispatch the weaker goblins as quickly as they had hoped.

In the end, they still managed to beat all of the goblin protectors but one. But a few got minor wounds from the exchange and Elfred nearly died from being impaled by a spear. Thankfully, Mistamojo was able to hand Elfred a healing potion in time.

Just when they thought that victory was within reach, they heard a growl come from the passageway behind them. The rest of the goblin raiders with their dire wolves have come down the corridor.

Rusty and Oracle quickly formed a barricade in the corridor to block the advance of the second goblin group while Hermione cast another sleep spell that knocked out a third of the enemy forces. With the Dire Wolf in front and engaged with Oracle and Rusty, the second goblins group were effectively blocked from entering the room.

Seeing that he couldn’t do a sneak attack, Fredo just went for one of the goblins. They became locked into a sparring match where neither of them was able to land a blow on the other.

A shriek sounded out The shaman then stabbed another child on the ground. The walls of the room vibrated. This pushed Aragorn to act. He engage the shaman to protect the other two boys on the ground. Brioche closed in to help.With Aragorn in the way, the shaman took notice of the heroes for the first time. He cast a Cause Fear spell which made Aragorn suddenly flee from the scene of the battle. Upon seeing this, Mistamojo stepped in front of the shaman to stop his advance toward the children.

Will the heroes be able to protect the remining children? Will they be able to stop the goblin reinforcements from coming into the chamber? Will Fredo finally defeat the lone goblin standing in the middle of the room?

We all have to find out next week when we meet again.