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 were 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 needed 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 still 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