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    Canonfire :: View topic - It started in Saltmarsh...
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Campaign Journals & General Online Play
    It started in Saltmarsh... [ Previous  1, 2, 3]
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2002
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    Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:26 pm  
    Post 146: Down the Oyt Avon

    Post 146: Down the Oyt Avon

    22 January, 571 [Fireseek 28] - Oytmeet (lowlands)
    Ossian and his crew are up before dawn, reading Na Fèidh for departure. At first light they cast off, poling the barge until it swings into the current of the Oyt Avon. Despite Ossian’s words from the night before, he makes no effort to continue his conversation with Willa, and he and the hands are in good spirits.

    The first hour out of Oytmeet they pass through a narrow valley of agricultural land. Trails run on either side of the river, and they glide by numerous villages and farmsteads. After that, the valley opens up for the rest of the morning, the trails recede from the river, and it is all sheep pasturage. Here the river is slow, and while the peilot is always alert and steering, many of the hands doze on the deck.

    By the early afternoon they have reached the end of the valley. The cliffs converge, and the ground grows rough and rocky. They leave even the pastures behind. All afternoon is spent maneuvering through canyons. Foamy white spray from the river coats the sides of the barge and even lands on deck. All hands are manning poles to keep them from colliding with the walls and rocks in the river and keep them from lodging on sand bars. The first hour is the most intense, but Ossian calls for all hands innumerable times after. Finally, as the sun is reaching the western horizon, the river straightens, slows, and pasture lands again appear on the bank. Ossian grounds the barge along a curve in the river and announces that they are done with traveling for the day.

    [ Used 8 pounds meat and forage; 10 pounds meat and forage remaining
    38 human rations remaining
    2 mule rations used; 14 mule rations remaining
    6 pounds charcoal used; 82 pounds charcoal remaining]


    23 January, 571 [Readying 1] - The Oyt Avon [lowlands]
    The pleasant rolling pastureland they glimpsed last evening continues all morning long. To the west, some five or ten miles away from the river, are high bluffs. To the east is open pastureland as far as they can see, with occasional copses or larger stands of forest on the rougher or higher ground.

    At midmorning comes their first navigational challenge of the day - negotiating a gravely-bottomed ford where the Oyt Avon is wide but shallow. The twin trails from Oytmeet, the one following the east bank and the other the west, cross here, and there are thorps on both sides of the river.

    After the ford, they continue on through the sheep country, but the copses grow larger and thicker, the forest stands running together, and the pasturage retreating to smaller and smaller fields closer and closer to the river. They are, announces Ossian, at the outskirts of the Oytwood.

    The sun is low in the west, but they have an hour or more of light left, when the rise that had been blocking their view of the left bank gives way to valley bottom, revealing another river, the Lea, about to join with the Oyt. Here Ossian guides the barge to the slow shallows, and calls the party together. He has, he says, faithfully delivered them to the mouth of the Lea, as promised, and another 50 gold lions are due him. What’s more, the party will need to decide what to do next. If they disembark here, they can make a day’s march up the valley of the Lea to the city of that name. From there, good trails lead north through Pregmere and eventually to their goal of Dersyth. Or, they can stay on the Oyt Avon. The river will take them more than half the distance north to the city they seek - but at a cost of carrying them far further east than they want. Do they wish to disembark tonight, or hire Na Fèidh for the journey through the Oytwood to Preston-on-the-Javan?

    After a short discussion, Willa, Tyrius, and Aurora all agree that they will continue on the Oyt downriver. Ossian nods, brings the Na Fèidh back out into the current, and spends the rest of the daylight running the rapids that are formed by the confluence of the two rivers. When the river finally returns to calm waters again, he steers the barge to the shore for the night.

    [ Used 8 pounds meat and forage; 2 pounds meat and forage remaining
    38 human rations remaining
    2 mule rations used; 12 mule rations remaining
    6 pounds charcoal used; 76 pounds charcoal remaining
    50gp paid for barge]


    24 January, 571 [Readying 2] - The Oyt Avon [lowlands]
    Once the party starts out in the morning, the forest rapidly approaches both banks of the river and grows more dense. The last pastureland becomes a memory, and the barge spends the entire day going downriver through the thick wood. Ossian tries to keep Na Fèidh in the center of the river, and encourages the party to be alert for movement along the banks, or anything that might betray the presence of brigands or humanoid bands. Perhaps it is the power of suggestion, but several of them come to feel that they are being watched. The forest boasts all sorts of trees including a wide range of fruit trees. The mixture does not provide a consistent canopy. Sunlight penetrates the forest, undergrowth is prevalent, and they cannot see far from the river except in cases where distant forested hills rise up above the treeline.

    In the evening, Ossian continues to navigate far later than he has before, using the light of Luna’s growing crescent. When asked about it, he says that they need to make sure they are well beyond the elven village of Edhellond. If the village comes to the banks of the river, there is no sign of it to those on the barge, but Ossian insists that without an invitation from the fey, they will not be overnighting in the area. Even when they are well beyond, and Ossian relents and allows the barge to moor, he requests that the party set a double watch for the night.

    [ Used 2 pounds meat and forage and 6 pounds human rations; 32 human rations remaining
    2 mule rations used; 10 mule rations remaining
    2 pounds charcoal used; 74 pounds charcoal remaining]


    25 January, 571 [Readying 3] - The Oytwood, on the Oyt Avon [lowlands]
    With nothing untoward passing in the night, Ossian and his hands are up even before first light, eager to cast off. Once it is light, the party can see that the forests are thinning and becoming interspersed with meadow. At midmorning, Ossian steers the barge to the banks and says the party has another decision. Up ahead, they can see a few wooden buildings on both sides of the river, and a ferry running between the banks. Ossian tells them that if they are bound for Dersyth, he can have them disembark on the north bank of the Oyt Avon, where the trail will take them to the city after several days’ march. He and his crew will be going another five miles down the Oyt, to where it enters the Javan, and then another six miles down the mighty Javan, to Preston, there to resupply before they make their way home. If the party wants a chance to buy goods before they set out up the trail, they should stay with the barge. If they feel that they are well-supplied, and can make New Midwood on their own, then being dropped off here, sooner, will save them a half-day’s journey back north from Preston.

    Aurora has been keeping track of supplies - although they exhausted their fresh food on the previous day and will be using trail rations on their march, they still have half a week’s worth - and Thokk and Larry have a new hunting trap. The party decides to disembark now, and Ossian steers Na Fèidh to the north bank. The dock there is just large enough for the river ferry, not the barge, but the peilot makes it work for long enough for the party to disembark. The mules take the longest time, not trusting the gangplank, and Ossian has to hustle to get Na Fèidh away before the ferry arrives. Already the peilot of that craft is shaking his fist at them as he approaches, so the party decides to continue up the trail before he makes port. They get two miles of walking in, back along the river bed, before they stop for a mid-day meal.

    The land they are traveling through is the now-familiar Geoffan sheep country, so Willa is not ready to loose Thokk just yet, instead waiting until they get farther from the river and perhaps settled lands. As the afternoon wears on, they do climb some hills, up and out of the Oyt river valley, but when they come back down the other side, they find themselves in the Javan valley, with just as much pasturage about as before. As the afternoon wears on into evening, however, they climb still higher, into rugged lands of light forest, and leave the sheep fields behind. If it stays like this on the morrow, Willa will give them leave to hunt.

    [ Used 8 human rations; 24 human rations remaining
    1 mule ration use, supplemented by forage; 9 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 74 pounds charcoal remaining
    55gp paid to Ossian and crew]
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:55 am  
    Post 147: Oyt Ferry to New Midwood

    DM's note on sources: Prenffrwyth is not on Darlene's maps but is on those of Anna Meyer. I based my description of it from https://db4sgowjqfwig.cloudfront.net/campaigns/129072/assets/845045/GyruffCY618_04.pdf?1522501776, although I expect much of that originally comes from Living Greyhawk sources.

    Post 147: Oyt Ferry to New Midwood

    26 January, 571 [Readying 4] - The Oytwood, on the Javan (lowlands)
    As the party breaks camp in the morning, Willa selects Babshapka as their forward scout, and tells Thokk to remain behind the party to hunt, but to catch up by mid-day. Larry she would send to hunt as well - but on this level ground with a trail, he is going to be hard-pressed to keep up with the main party as it is, without falling behind further to hunt. Thus he is kept with the main host.

    For most of the morning, the track remains in the rocky highlands overlooking the broad Javan river. As the morning wears on, however, they descend back into pastureland, and soon after come upon the outskirts of a village at the edge of a wood. It is so close to mid-day that the village is the obvious location for their meal, but Willa wants to make sure that Thokk has rejoined them before they enter. She sends Babshapka ahead to scout the village while the rest of the party waits on the trail.

    It is not long before they spot Thokk coming up the track toward them, empty-handed. By the time he reaches them, Babshapka has returned as well, the village being small and easily scouted. Prenffrwyth is a small community of a few hundred humans. What is remarkable, notes Babshapka, is that nearly all of the villagers work as skilled craftsmen in wood. The remainder are either shepherds or work servicing the trail, including the village’s single inn - which has common rooms, but no private rooms. “Good eno’ fer lunch,” decides Willa, and they eat their mid-day meal hot off the grill. While they dine, Babshapka engages in conversation with the proprietor. She explains that the village was founded generations ago by a forward-thinking Goeffan nobleman who had negotiated a deal with the elves of the Oytwood: in exchange for not logging the lands claimed by the elves, the elves would sell wood to the nobleman, from trees carefully selected and harvested by the elves. The nobleman stood to gain more from the taxes on the fine woods than from the sale of lumber, which was abundant in the region. He encouraged woodworkers from Old Midwood, across the Javan, to settle in the village, and with their labors they produced crafted goods worth even more in taxes. Over time the village came to be sought out by those from all over the cantrev, or even farther afield, wishing to 'prentice as woodworkers. Today these craftsmen represent the majority of the villagers, and the original deal with the elves remains.

    The first five miles of afternoon travel are through the forested lands north of the village. They are surprised to find that the woods are old and intact, perhaps even a remnant of the ancient Oytwood. Just the thinnest margin of the forest near the village shows signs of being used for firewood, with no trace of the source of the wood they saw in the numerous crafting shops. Once they emerge on the other side of the forest, again along the Javan, they can see the walled town of New Midwood up ahead, where a much smaller river flows into the Javan. They reach the town just before the gates are closed at dusk, and a few words from Tyrius are sufficient to gain them entrance, including Thokk. That evening is spent at an inn.

    There is a scop at the inn, entertaining the crowd, though not a graduate of the College of Cainaith. To Willa’s question, he confirms that long ago, even before the Age of Heroes, even before there were humans in Geoff, the three great wooded lands of the Dim Forest, the Oytwood, and the Hornwood were as one - one unbroken forest that stretched across the length and breadth of the land. The fey held their hunts and revels there and lived beyond time. It was only after the Gyri arrived and settled along the Javan and began cutting trees for their homes and sheep folds that the Dim Forest was sundered from the Oyt Wood. Of course, this incurred the wrath of the fey, who sent the evil fey races into the world to punish the humans for their hubris. The scop indicates Thokk with a flourishing gesture when he speaks of the evil fey races.

    [ Used 2 human rations; lunch and dinner at inns; 22 human rations remaining
    No mule ration use, forage in day and stabling at lunch and dinner; 9 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 74 pounds charcoal remaining]
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:37 am  
    Post 148: The Road to Dersyth

    DM's note on sources: New Midwood is not on Darlene's maps but is on those of Anna Meyer. I based my description of it from https://db4sgowjqfwig.cloudfront.net/campaigns/129072/assets/845045/GyruffCY618_04.pdf?1522501776, although I expect much of that originally comes from Living Greyhawk sources. Based on the descriptions therein, New Midwood would not canonically exist yet in the timeline of my adventure, just Midwood on the other side of the Javan. The fogs off of the river are from that source. Naming the river Rhychdir is my invention, based on the name of the cantrev of its headwaters. The name of the cantrev ruler is from that source.

    Post 148: The Road to Dersyth

    27 January, 571 [Readying 5] - New Midwood (lowlands)
    [Light Rain 11am - 1pm][Drizzle 1pm - 3pm]

    As the party sets forth from the inn in the morning, they are greeted by a heavy fog from the River Rhychdir, tributary of the Javan. Fortunately the road to Dersyth is broad and well-marked. They follow it gratefully, and would soon be walking in circles without the slick cobbles leading through the town and, beyond the gates, the drainage ditches bordering the road. The road takes them up and away from the river, and the rising sun burns back the fog, so that by the time they are a league from New Midwood they can see the green pasture land around them and, far to the north, and for the first time, the Barrier Peaks!

    Throughout the morning’s travel, the road rises and falls along the slopes above the river. An hour before they stop for lunch a light rain begins to fall, and continues for several hours, although it eventually slows to a drizzle. They are wet, but not cold in the warm daylight and not slowed on the good road in the highlands.

    The rain is finally letting up as the road turns and leads back down to the river. There, in the valley bottom, the path splits. A lesser track crosses the river at a bridge, while the main road continues along the river itself. The scop told them, the night previous, that there would be two roads to Dersyth. The more direct, but less traveled, way is the northern branch across the river. The southern route takes longer, but passes through more settled lands. Here with the choice in front of them, they all agree that they prefer the direct route.

    The bridge is of ancient timbers lashed together and supported by stone pilings across the river. The wood is sodden and slippery, but bears their weight. They are not far across when the trail climbs to rough ground and their view is blocked by encroaching woods. There are only four hours or so to their evening camp, but Willa tells Thokk to drop back and hunt.

    The party makes their camp in a small clearing in the woods. Thokk joins them soon after, carrying with him a scrawny owl which becomes dinner. He and Larry disappear into the woods, setting up their hunting trap somewhere nearby for the night. Willa reflects on what Ossein said about the elves of the Oytwood, and on what the scop said last night, about the fey releasing evil fey as a punishment to humans who did not respect their land. She asks Umbra what she knows about the elves hereabouts, and whether the party should take any precautions when traveling or hunting in forests.

    Umbra is silent for a long time. Those near her in the gathering dusk can see her face twisting, as if recalling painful memories. When she finally speaks, her voice is calm and cold. “What’s done is done. Ossein was wise not to anger the elves of the Oyt. Those of the Dim Forest and the Hornwood are the same. But these” - and she gestures at the trees around them - “are now human lands, all the way from here to Dersyth. Do what you will, hunt where you like, it makes no difference.”

    [ Used 2 pounds meat caught today, 3 rations, and inn fare at breakfast; 19 human rations remaining
    1 mule ration used, supplemented by forage; 8 mule rations remaining
    2 pounds charcoal used; 72 pounds charcoal remaining]


    28 January, 571 [Readying 6] - Cantrev of Rhwng yr Coed, on road to Dersyth (lowlands)
    [Thunderstorm 9pm-12am]
    The party is awakened in the night by nearby screams and thrashing. Thokk trots off into the woods and, moments later, the screams cease. He returns with a yearling roe deer slung over his shoulders, one leg twisted at an improbable angle. He begins skinning and gutting the dear as the others return to sleep.

    After a breakfast of hot venison, the party starts off down the trail. The woods continue and the ground rises until mid-morning, at which point they break out into more open meadows. Eventually they see crofts, cottages, and barns in the distance - more sheep country, though no villages larger than a cluster of houses are in sight. Innumerable trails cross the main track, but it is clear which is the main road. The party camps for lunch, enjoying more venison in the open grasslands.

    Shortly after they resume their march, the trail enters the forest again, and begins climbing up a steep, rocky slope. They crest this and pass down into a high valley of trees and meadows. Willa calls for a campsite underneath the edge of a forest, as Larry points out the gathering clouds.

    The last of the venison, supplemented by trail rations, makes their dinner, and Thokk eagerly sets the trap again before turning in.

    Several hours after dark, the sky is rent by thunder, lightning, and rain. The downpour continues until midnight.

    [ Used 6 pounds meat (caught), 1 ration; 18 human rations remaining
    1 mule ration used, supplemented by forage; 7 mule rations remaining
    6 pounds charcoal used; 66 pounds charcoal remaining]


    29 January, 571 [Readying 7] - Cantrev of Rhwng yr Coed, on road to Dersyth (lowlands)
    [Wandering Encounter: Men, Patrol]
    [Thunderstorm 8am - 10am; half movement]
    Umbra and Babshapka have the predawn watch. They are enjoying the dawn chorus of birds greeting the day throughout the forest around them when both prick up their ears. To the west, up the trail, the birds have gone silent. They have the party up and armed by the time the strangers appear, though few of them have their armor on.

    A squad of six soldiers, headed by an officer, approaches them cautiously. The men are in woolen tartans, cloaks and skirts, though of a different color and pattern than those they saw around Gorna. They have leather breeches besides, long spears, and several of them carry slings as well. The officer has a shortsword and buckler at his belt - his long spear bears a pennant, of two hands clasped together on a green field.

    The officer introduces them as a patrol for his lord, the Arglwyth Briallen merch Luther, ruler of the Cantrev of Rhwng yr Coed. He has a number of questions for them, but ultimately seems satisfied with Tyrius’ answers. He tells them that as outlanders, that can’t be expected to know all the laws of the cantrev, but keeping a close watch on Thokk and not drawing their weapons within town will be a good start. The party asks about the trail to Dersyth, and the man explains that they are about four days out, and that the trail will pass through a number of hamlets but none of any size before Dersythtown itself. The party thanks them and the men move on.

    Breakfast is a quick meal of trail rations while camp is packed. The hunting trap is found to be empty - perhaps just as well, as another deer might well have gotten them accused by the patrol of poaching the lord’s game. However, knowing that they are four days out from Dersyth is worrisome as they have less than three days of rations remaining; they will need to rely on their foragers. The party sets out west as the clear morning starts to cloud over.

    The forest they used to shelter from the storm last night goes but a scant mile or so before the trail climbs a high cliff overlooking a river. They spend all the rest of the day looking down on this river from above. In places it passes through broad meadows where sheep graze. Other times it rushes through steep gorges and there is no sign of human habitation about. A thunderstorm slows their advance and soaks them in the midmorning, but they have the rest of the day to dry out and clear skies by the time they camp in the evening, in light woods next to a clear pool.

    [ Used 7 rations; 11 human rations remaining
    1 mule ration used, supplemented by forage; 6 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 66 pounds charcoal remaining]
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:53 pm  

    I've read through this whole thread, and I just wanted to say bravo. You make the setting come alive with all the little details, and I love how you're willing to go your own way when it benefits your campaign. It's really engaging, and your players are very lucky.

    One question I have is where you got your information about traveling through the wilderness? I'd have thought the rivers were impassible to barges in winter, much less the mountains themselves. I was also surprised that the barge captain turned down Larry's offer to light the way when they were sailing at night-if I were running things, I'd have accepted the offer and extended the rate of travel.

    When I was writing For Crown Or Country, I had to ask several questions on the Greyhawk Resources forum on Facebook about various details I wasn't sure about. Where'd you get your information?
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:28 am  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    I've read through this whole thread, and I just wanted to say bravo. You make the setting come alive with all the little details, and I love how you're willing to go your own way when it benefits your campaign. It's really engaging, and your players are very lucky.


    Thank you, CSL. That it comes from someone whose prolific articles are all about bringing the setting to life with little details makes your recognition even more meaningful.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    One question I have is where you got your information about traveling through the wilderness? I'd have thought the rivers were impassible to barges in winter, much less the mountains themselves. I was also surprised that the barge captain turned down Larry's offer to light the way when they were sailing at night-if I were running things, I'd have accepted the offer and extended the rate of travel.


    I've tried to be as explicit as possible about sources - most times before the party gets to a new city or settlement, for example, I include what I read in preparation. So you can assume that if I don't mention anything, it has been invented by me. And that would be most of the 'landscape scenes' as they travel. Typically what I would do is look at Anna Meyer's maps in as fine a level of detail as possible, and then try to imagine the natural world that would make those maps - how have the rivers carved the valleys, why it is forest in one spot but field in another, would the local peasants be growing sheep or oats, etc. My undergrad degree was in a Geology department, so once upon a time I had a number of earth science classes I draw upon for landforms, my graduate work was in Ecology so I've read a fair bit about competition between species and community assemblages, and I've always been interested in human land use. I am by no means an expert in any of those fields and I'm not saying my conclusions are accurate, but if they are evocative and lend verisimilitude then I would consider myself successful.

    As far as 'winter', I am using the weather generation tables as is from the WoGG. My previous 1E Greyhawk campaign was mostly set in Perrenland and the Vesve, so one thing I did not appreciate when I started this 5E campaign in Saltmarsh is just how far SOUTH the Sheldomar region is. Even Geoff, which I am imagining culturally as quasi-medieval Scotland to Keoland's England, is at 30N Latitude, in the subtropics, with a +20F to all temperature rolls. This is the latitude of RL Jacksonville, New Orleans, and Houston. So 'winter' brings cooler temperatures, to be sure, but it is not like ice floes are going to prevent river travel. If you haven't guessed already, the party is headed for the Barrier Peaks in their quest for the fallen star. Once there, with the adjustments for elevation, they will face some brutally cold conditions that will challenge movement and even survival.

    With respect to Larry's light and river travel, you may recall that I did have the captain of the Banner of Heather accept Larry's help when they were traveling up the Javan [Post 130], even if the Peilot of the Na Fèidh does not [Post 145]. This was just a function of the speed and size of the river. Crawling upstream on the wide and slow Javan, 150 feet of advance warning is plenty of time to maneuver around the occasional floating log or sand bar. Rushing downstream on the narrow Oyt, with frequent rapids to navigate, the extra vision from the light is simply not enough advance warning to avoid something like a rock or a rill, and would blind him to what was even further ahead.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    When I was writing For Crown Or Country, I had to ask several questions on the Greyhawk Resources forum on Facebook about various details I wasn't sure about. Where'd you get your information?


    I don't Facebook, so I didn't know about this forum. Sounds like something I will have to check out, thank you!
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:46 am  
    Post 149: A long journey almost ogre

    DM's Note on House Rules
    5E is very much a map grid-based edition, but it assumes that casters can place spells exactly where they want on a battlefield where targets have an exact position. In order to have a bit more verisimilitude for a six-second casting time against moving targets, I have casters make an Arcana check when attempting area of effect spells in combat. Failures are off-target, in the spirit of 1E's misses from a "grenade-like missile". This also helps contain the power of the bigger evocation spells like fireball and lightning bolt, since they can easily not include the optimal number of enemies and can even unintentionally include allies.

    Similarly, when shooting missiles into combat, if a PC rolls a low attack score (low being situationally decided by me but always including critical fails) I require them to make another attack on an ally to see if the miss results in a friendly-fire hit.

    Finally, the 5E rules for interrupting rest allow PC's to return to resting after a combat unless it lasts more than an hour! My players, however, know that even a round of combat will "spoil" their rest so that they do not achieve in-game benefits from it unless they start over.

    Post 149: With the Barrier Peaks in sight, the party's long journey is almost ogre

    30 January, 571 - [Readying 8] - Cantrev of Rhwng yr Coed, on road to Dersyth (lowlands)
    [wandering encounter, predawn, patrolled civilized hills: ogre]

    Umbra and Babshapka are on watch before dawn. Suddenly the chilly air is rent by a deep, horrible cry. Some huge humanoid is screaming out, as if in pain. A second later, perhaps in response, both elves can hear lumbering figures thrashing through the trees and dried grass toward them, scattering rocks with every massive step. The sounds come from all sides - the party appears to be surrounded!

    Surprise round
    Babshapka hears two groups approaching - one up the trail in front of him to the west, another off in the brush to the southwest. Umbra hears the howl of pain from the southeast, but a large group coming from the north. The howls have woken everyone in the camp except Thokk and Eddard.

    Umbra pulls back from the trail to the east of the party and takes cover in the space between a large stump and Shefak’s tent. To the northeast of the camp, fully five eigers are moving rapidly through the brush with nothing between them and the center of camp.


    Round One
    Up the trail in front of him, Babshapka can make out four massive eigers lumbering forward. Their hide “clothes” are tattered, their long greasy hair unkempt, but all are brandishing thick tree limbs as huge clubs. Babshapka whistles a warning to the awakened camp, then drops into the cover of the trees off the trail to his right. As the first eiger comes into close range, he sends off two arrows that sink deep into the brute’s body (16 points).

    Umbra pulls a wand out from her robes and mouths some arcane words. She is surrounded by an inky sphere of darkness which emanates fifteen feet from her in all directions. Its boundaries are hard to see, since the camp itself is still in pre-dawn darkness, but for even those with darkvision, Umbra disappears from view. [One charge from crystal of shadows, 9 remaining].

    The eiger that was shot by Babshapka skids to a halt on the trail, his eyes narrowing and his head swiveling as he searches for the source of the arrows. The eigers behind him bunch up, giving Aurora all the chance she needs. Not ten seconds out of her bedroll, she launches a fiery missile through the air at the west side of camp. As Babshapka sees the flaming sphere sail over his head, he ducks behind a tree, closes his eyes, and presses his back up tightly against the trunk. The fist-size sphere detonates at about chest height on the eigers, and a blast of concussive, fiery force shoots out between them. The eigers are burned and staggered, and a shower of flaming tree limbs shoots past Babshapka. (Aurora Arcana roll 12; Babshapka is unintentionally at the edge of the effect and will need a save for no damage, or fail for half. Babshapka saves for no damage. Eigers all fail for 29 points fire damage to each.)

    [Aurora's rest is spoiled. She starts at 1/3/3 for spell slots with three mage armors cast the day previous and not recovered; fireball takes her to 1/3/2. Her current mage armor runs until 5am, and so she is at full AC15 with spell, Dex, and bracers]

    When the rain of flaming twigs and branches cease, Babshapka rounds the tree trunk and fires off another two shots.

    Larry snorts, growls, and rolls into a crouch. He shakes Thokk awake, grabs his own shield, and then trots over to the trail at the west side of camp.

    [Larry’s chain is medium armor. It would take him 5 minutes to put on; 50 combat rounds. He is now breaking his rest. He starts with 2/3/3 for spell slots with two create waters cast the day previous. He is at AC15 with just Dex and shield.]

    Tyrius awakes with a start, immediately calling to Pelor and surrounding himself with a golden halo of light. He stands up, grabs his shield and mace, and vaults on Eddard bareback, waking the mount in the process. By his light he can see the four eigers emerging from the fireball, but also another three moving toward a clump of trees southwest of the camp. He urges Eddard forward to face them.

    [Tyrius’ plate is heavy armor. It would take 10 minutes to put on; 100 combat rounds. He is now breaking his rest. He starts at 4/2 for spell slots. He is AC12 with just Dex and shield.]

    Thokk grabs his shield and heads over to the same trees as Eddard and Tyrius, bellowing a challenge at the oncoming ogres. Shefak emerges from her tent and starts that way as well, Tyrius being the only source of light in the vicinity. [Thokk is now breaking his rest; he is at his full unarmored defense AC with Dex, shield, and ring. Shefak is breaking her rest, she is at her full unarmored defense AC with Dex and martial arts ability).

    Willa, in her tent, takes a moment to grab her lantern and greatsword. Leaving her armor behind, she moves to the west side of the camp, where the trail is now strewn with branches, some smouldering and some in open flame. She lights her lantern with a nearby burning twig and sets it on the ground behind her as she faces the oncoming eigers.

    [Willa’s magical plate is heavy armor. It would take 10 minutes to put on; 100 combat rounds. She is breaking her rest. She is at AC13 with just her Dex.]


    Round 2
    While Thokk and Tyrius prepare to hold the line against three oncoming eigers, Shefak spots a single one moving up from the south toward the center of the camp. His shape is barely visible against Willa’s lantern light, but gives the monk enough to go by. Shefak moves to engage him, striking at his legs with her staff, and kicking at his hands when he tries to bring his club down on her. (Shefak does 5pts damage).

    The four smouldering eigers arrive within club distance of the party defenders; one on Babshapka partially concealed in the trees, two on Willa and one on Larry in the open on the trail. Another arrives at the camp from the east and sends a javelin into Aurora’s back. (Aurora from 38 to 27hp).

    The eiger facing Babshapka brings his club down in a shower of branches. (15 points, Babshapka from 48 to 33hp). The elf darts away, and follows up with another arrow shot (giant killer ability, damage 10). Babshapka continues to dance around the eiger attacking him. Using the trees as cover, he shoots twice more, and the second sinks another arrow shaft deep into the brute, and it crashes to the ground. (10hp damage; one eiger down). Unfortunately his first shot missed the eiger, but grazed Willa! (attack roll critical fail, 5hp damage, Willa to 57hp).

    The two eigers facing Willa interfere with each other’s blows, so that she is unharmed, despite her lack of armor, and Larry seems too small and nimble for the still-smouldering ogre attacking him to find.

    In the trees to the southeast, however, two eigers and a massive eiger leader have arrived. One misses Thokk, but the other and the leader both land heavy blows on Tyrius’ shield. The paladin barely manages to stay mounted, but Eddard seems to move instinctively under him, keeping him on despite his lack of saddle and stirrups (total 29 points damage, Tyrius from 49 to 20hp).

    As soon as the five eigers bearing down on the camp pass through the edge of Umbra’s sphere of darkness they begin to bump into one another and stumble over tree roots despite their darkvision. One breaks through to the other side, but the other four remain confused and lost in the inky sphere. Umbra, who apparently can see even in the blackness, easily avoids their clumsy steps. (Eiger wisdom saves to orient themselves; four fails one success).

    Willa, wielding her greatsword two-handed, moves among the thick legs of the eigers, striking deep clefts through their calf muscles (two hits, 25hp damage).

    Thokk, now in the heat of battle, bellows a shout of rage and strikes back at the eiger attacking him (two hits, 13hp damage).

    Tyrius, barely keeping his shield above him, and facing both an eiger and eiger leader, swings his war hammer. At each blow he channels the power of Pelor, resulting in a burst of light and extra damage on impact (two hits for 18, plus 16 more in divine smite for 34 points total, Tyrius uses two first level slots and now is at 2/2). Eddard strikes forward with his hooves, but misses the ogres.

    Larry, having just avoided the blow of the eiger facing him, moves around to the side of the brute. He carefully lines up that eiger, one of the ones fighting Willa, and a new eiger approaching the camp from the north. Summoning the power of the mountain spirits, he launches a lightning bolt that strikes all three foes. (25 points damage; two eigers fail their save, one succeeds. Larry now at 2/3/2.) Aurora sends a firebolt at the one closest to Larry, felling the eiger and allowing the dwarf to back out of combat (16hp damage, two eigers now down). She moves quickly to the edge of the trees to gain some cover from the javelins being thrown at her.

    Deep in her cloud of darkness, Umbra puts two fingers to her lips and blows - the whistle is shrill but soft - even the eigers stumbling around her do not hear it. At her side, a mastiff-sized dog appears, itself even blacker than the darkness in which it is encased, except for its coal-red eyes. It growls, deep and rumbling, and launches itself at the eiger closest to Umbra.


    Round 3
    Larry is confident that Babshapka, Willa, and Aurora will make short work of the other three eigers now facing them, so he trots over to where Thokk and Tyrius are trying to hold off another front. This time, his lighting bolt is a little too eager, as he sends it right up through the pitched melee, where it arcs through everyone to some degree (Arcana roll for placement 1 (critical fail); 27 points to three eigers that all failed saves, 13 points to three party members that all made saves; Thokk to 53 hp, Tyrius to 7hp, Eddard to 11hp. Larry now at 2/3/1.)

    Shefak, moving in a blur, rains down blows upon the solitary eiger she faces, but still it remains standing (flurry of blows for one ki point, four hits for 39 damage, total 44hp to this ogre).

    Aurora sends a number of magic missiles at the eiger fighting Thokk (cast at second level, Aurora now at 1/2/2).

    The shadow hound darts forward, sinking its fangs into the leg of an eiger (6 points); the eiger topples to the ground (failed Strength save) and Umbra blasts it with a bolt of darkness that leaves a trace of frost on its skin (8 points).

    Babshapka moves south, drawing a bead on the eiger facing off against Thokk. He fires two arrows (23 points), felling the eiger and freeing Thokk from the immediate combat (three eiger down).

    Willa, facing the last of the two eigers wounded from the fireball, manages to slay each one with mighty blows of her greatsword (13 points each. Five eigers down). She turns north and charges at the approaching eiger, the one that was caught by the tail end of Larry’s first lightning bolt.

    Tyrius forgoes attacking the two eigers he faces, and instead lays hands on himself for 15 points (15 points left, Tyrius to 22hp). By the grace of Pelor, Eddard is also healed for 15 (Eddard to 24hp)

    The eiger charged by Willa holds her at bay with a club swing (11 points - Willa to 46hp).

    The eiger fighting Tyrius sees his companion fall to arrows, and turns to face Thokk, landing a massive blow (18 points, reduced to 9 from rage, Thokk to 44hp).

    The eiger leader, now facing Tyrius one on one, brings down another club blow on his shield. (13 points, Tyrius to 9hp).

    From the trees to the south emerges the largest eiger the party has ever seen. His thick limbs are like tree trunks, and odds and ends of human armor have been strung on the thick leather hides that hang off his massive body. Assessing the lightning-throwing dwarf as the greatest threat to his band, the chief strides forward, the ground shaking under his feet. He buries his club deep in the ground next to the dwarf, but Larry slips away.

    The lone eiger fighting Shefak nearly sweeps her legs out from under her with a low swing, but she leaps over the blow and tumbles away.

    Three eigers emerge from Umbra’s darkness, joining another arriving from the east. Four javelins sail toward Aurora in the trees (7hp damage, Aurora to 20 hp).

    Two eigers are fighting the shadow hound - one standing, the other having been knocked prone. Neither manages to hit the hound, and the one that has fallen loses his grip on the tree-club and lets it fall to the ground beside him.

    Seeing Tyrius in a bad way, Thokk ignores the eiger that has turned on him. He steps forward, slamming his shield and shoulder into Eddard and forcing the war horse out of the way so that he can stand between the eiger leader and Tyrius. (contested strength roll (shove attack) Thokk 22, Eddard 10). Thokk slashes at the eiger leader (two hits, 24 damage).

    Safe for the moment, Eddard disengages from the fray and canters forward, then turns and lets Tyrius set himself for a charge at the eiger leader’s exposed back. Now seeing the huge eiger chieftain, however, the pair agree to charge him from behind instead.


    Round 4
    With three more well-placed kicks and staff blows (19 points damage), Shefak lays low the eiger she faces (six ogres down). Before the brute has even hit the ground, the monk has spun about and is running toward the melee with Thokk, Tyrius, and Larry, following the glow given off by the paladin.

    Willa slays the eiger to the north (two hits; 23 damage, seven eigers down), then hurriedly looks about. The javelin-wielding eigers arriving from the northeast are nearly in the center of camp now, and the mules are panicking. She dashes over to them and attempts to lead Randy away by his halter, but the mule, eyes wide with fear, bites at her. (Willa Animal Handling roll 4).

    Bolts of darkness fly from the cloud of black and strike the eiger on the ground, who is still being savaged by the hound (3 points, 12 points).

    Eddard gallops forward, going as fast as he dares knowing that Tyrius has no saddle. He slams his forequarters into the chieftain’s thighs from behind. The eiger wobbles but does not go down. (7 pts from hooves; Eiger chief makes Strength save).

    Aurora looks out from her cover among the trees. The five javelin-wielding eigers have drawn together in a loose knot in the center of camp, preparing to charge her or perhaps Willa and the mules. Now is the perfect time for another...fireball! The fiery missile is in her palm and then launched before she even thinks about it - or the fact that their being in the center of camp means that they are surrounded by the party's gear. The missile flies through the air, detonating in the center of the five eigers (Aurora Arcana roll 16 for placement, all five eigers affected, 33 points damage to four that don’t save and 16 points to the one that does. Aurora now at 1/2/1). The force of the concussive blast instantly flattens both Willa and Sheffak’s tents, then sets them on fire. Willa’s oilskin tent burns all the hotter.

    “Me tent!” screams Willa, and then, a second later, “Ther map!” Aurora’s elation turns to realization and then concern.

    Babshapka looks up at the towering figure of the eiger chieftain, dwarfing even Tyrius’s great warhorse. He flips open the cover of his second quiver and pulls forth two of the recently purchased “giant arrows” and sends them forth. One impacts a scrap of chain armor at the eiger’s shoulder and doesn’t penetrate, but the other sinks into his chest and immediately the shaft breaks off at the wicked head (12 points).

    The chieftain raises his club up for another strike at Larry (3 points additional damage from giant arrow). This blow lands on the dwarf’s shield, nearly driving him into the ground (18 points, Larry at 38hp). The eiger leader and remaining eiger try ineffectually to hit Thokk.

    The standing eiger striking at the shadow hound lands a blow (13 points), giving his companion the chance to grab his own club and rise to his feet.

    Three eigers that survived the latest fireball in the center of camp charge Willa and Aurora, landing hard blows (Willa takes 11, to 35hp, Aurora takes 17, to 3hp. The third eiger aims at Aurora, but through her use of instinctive charm he ends up hitting his own companion (for 14hp).

    Larry hears the cry of pain from Aurora as she is hit. Ignoring the Chieftain towering above him, he floods the other melee with a moonbeam (Arcana roll 16 hits two eigers but neither party member, Larry at 2/2/1. 12 points damage, both eigers make Con saves for 6 points).

    Thokk continues his assault on the eiger leader (2 hits, 22 points).

    Tyrius sees that the few hits the chieftain has taken have not even slowed him down. Seeking a quick resolution, he pulls forth a scroll tube, withdraws the scroll and throws the tube to the ground. By the light of Pelor he reads the scroll of hold person, but the chieftain is unaffected (makes Wisdom save).


    Round 5
    Willa grunts with effort, dodging the blows of the eiger and landing her own (two hits, total 30hp). Straining mightily, she spins and lands a third blow backhanded (action surge; third hit for 14 damage). The eiger staggers, then collapses into a pool, gushing blood and fouling the pristine spring (eight eigers down).

    Babshapka continues his arrow assault on the eiger chieftain, launching two normal arrows (one hits for 11hp, plus another 4hp as Babshapka activates a hail of thorns - he is at 3/2).

    Shefak’s attacks are too rapid to follow, as she rains blows down on both the eiger and eiger leader fighting Thokk (ki point used, Shefak has five left, flurry of blows, five hits, total 40 points damage). One eiger falls to the ground (nine down), but the leader remains on his feet despite Shefak’s best efforts (eiger makes dex save, not knocked prone).

    The eiger chieftain raises both arms above his head and brings his blow down on Larry’s shield with a resounding crash that echoes through the forest. Larry is driven to his knees, and the moonbeam winks out (20 points of damage, Larry at 18hp, concentration save fails; 2 points additional damage to chieftain from giant arrow).

    The eiger leader lands a blow on Thokk (17 points, reduced to 8 from rage, Thokk at 23).

    The two eigers facing Aurora are concerned. Half their band has fallen and their mighty chieftain has not been able to score a single kill yet. One of them turns and begins fleeing. He avoids the burning tents, but as the mules scatter before him, he sees their pack bags on the ground and snatches one up as he goes. The remaining eiger swings at Aurora but misses.

    Both eigers fighting the hound land blows - the creature disappears into shadow, leaving nothing behind.

    A new eiger emerges from the trees to the south, limping badly. Fastened about its ankle, like some diabolical metal shoe, is the party’s hunting trap. It looks confused and in pain. In fact, it was the source of the initial cry that first alerted the guards and woke the party.

    Ignoring the eiger attacking her, Aurora points at the fleeing eiger and calls out “That one has our mule pack! Stop him!” She sends forth a perfectly-placed web spell (Arcana 26, now at 1/1/1), covering the eiger in sticky, restrictive strands. As an afterthought, she shouts, “And they are setting the tents on fire!”

    Thokk continues his assault on what is proving to be a very tough eiger leader (two hits, 12 points total).

    Taking advantage of the chieftain’s last blow on Larry, Eddard has turned and fallen back. Now Tyrius urges him forward in another charge. As the horse and rider slam into the chieftain he teeters, totters, and finally crashes to the ground, jolting everyone around him with a force that threatens to knock them down as well (trampling charge, two hoof blows for 20 points damage). Tyrius leans low across Eddard’s back, striking at the now prone ogre with his hammer (attacking with advantage, two hits for 14 total, plus another 8 points of divine smite, Tyrius at 1/2).

    Four bolts of darkness emerge from Umbra’s cloud and strike at the ogre struggling in the webs. (14 points damage, Umbra at 4/2/3).

    Larry rises, moves around to the fallen chieftain’s feet so that his spell will not hit Tyrius or Eddard, and sends forth a lightning bolt to travel directly up the eiger’s spine as it thrashes about on the ground. (Dexterity save at disadvantage fails; 19 points damage, Larry at 2/2/0).


    Round 6
    Now that the chieftain has fallen to the ground, Babshapka moves up the trail and takes aim at the eiger in the webs. He sinks two arrows into him (16 damage). Aurora unloads a barrage of magic missiles at the same target (cast at 3rd level, total 21 points damage, Aurora at 1/1/0). Finally, a freezing cold blast of darkness shoots out of the inky cloud (8 points), and the eiger ceases its struggles, sinking to the ground (ten eigers down).

    With a howl of pain and frustration, and a string of invective in its native tongue, the eiger chieftain rises to his feet, towering over Larry, and bringing its massive club down like a sledgehammer against a stake. Larry crumples to the ground, unconscious (19 points, Larry to 0hp. Chieftain takes 2hp more from giant arrow).

    The eiger leader matches his chief’s bellows and lands another blow on Thokk (14 points, Thokk takes 7 from rage, Thokk at 16 hp).

    There are but four eigers left near the center of camp, including the one engaged with Aurora and Willa and the one with the trap on its foot. With some two-thirds of their companions slain, two of those remaining decide to turn and run, and none think to grab pack bags before they go. The one who stays throws a javelin at Aurora but misses.

    Thokk lands yet another blow on the eiger leader (11 points), and this one is finally enough to dispatch the great brute (ten eigers plus eiger leader down). Thokk then runs over to attack the chieftain, but when he sees his spoon-buddy Larry crushed and bloodied on the ground, he trips over the body of a fallen eiger and falls to the ground himself. “NOOOOOO!” he cries in rage and torment. (Thokk failed a Dex save to move quickly across the body-strewn ground)

    Willa squares off against the last eiger in melee range, hitting it twice and killing it (24hp; eleven eigers plus eiger leader down).

    Shefak, seeing that Larry has fallen, attacks the chieftain, attempting to move him away from the dwarf’s body (two hits, 19 points damage).

    <Larry fails a life save and is one step closer to death>

    While the chieftain is thus occupied, Tyrius dismounts and runs to Larry’s side. He lays on hands for 10hp to his friend. (Larry to 10hp, Tyrius has 5hp left of lay on hands).


    Round 7
    Babshapka fires arrows at the javelin-wielding eiger (two hits, 10hp damage), and Willa charges and ends the eiger with one blow (13 damage; twelve eigers plus eiger leader down). As he falls, Aurora shouts “That’s right, Willa - get those eigers! Did you see what they did to your tent!” Willa turns and begins to pursue Aurora into the trees, shouting that a good punch in the mouth will shut her up. Aurora shoots a firebolt at the eiger chieftain as she flees from Willa (12 hp damage).

    Tyrius is remounting Eddard and preparing for another trampling charge when Aurora’s firebolt knocks the chieftain to the ground. This time, he does not get up (twelve eigers, leader, and chieftain down).

    Umbra shoots five bolts of darkness[i] at the fleeing eiger. (Total damage 18, Umbra to 4/2/2).

    As swift as the wind, Shefak [i]dashes[i] up to the last fleeing eiger.

    Larry rises unsteadily to his feet. Looking around, he sees all of the eigers about him lying still on the ground - but then he sees the party’s tents aflame! He summons forth [i]created water
    , having it fall as a gentle rain over both tents. (Larry at 1/2/0).


    Round 8
    With the falling rain dousing the flames enough for her to approach the tent, Willa uses her greatsword to peel back the layers of flaming oilcloth. When she sees her backpack inside, she reaches forth to grab it, getting only a mild burn in return. The thick leather pack is singed but not aflame. (failed Dex save, 2 points damage, Willa to 33hp) However, all the leather stitching is burned through and weakened. The longer she looks at it, the more unsalvageable it appears.

    Shefak catches up to the closest fleeing eiger and ends him (total of thirteen eigers, chieftain, and leader slain - some three or four escaped).

    Umbra emerges from her cloud of darkness and shoots freezing rays into the fire, while Larry continues to rain water down. Willa has pulled out her plate armor by the time the flames are out.


    Post Combat
    Babshapka asks for Tyrius’ help, and with his light quickly recovers the giant arrow that missed the chieftain (Babshapka total 19 giant arrows remaining). He uses a dagger to retrieve the head of the other arrow from the body of the chieftain, but the weakened shaft has done its job and splintered. There is no way to reattach the head, but he saves it nonetheless.

    Willa uses her lantern to sort through what remains of her tent.

    [The days have been in the 50’s F; last night it got down to 40F. Willa was sleeping in some combination of small clothes and her traveling clothes, with her cold weather gear clothes loose in her tent overnight and put on in the morning. I decided that I would apply the fireball damage first to the tents, and with their destruction reduce the amount of damage "left over" to apply to the items within. Similarly, containers would "soak up" damage before passing on what remained to their contents.

    5E rules for damaging objects assigns a hp range to objects based on their size and toughness. Magic items are assumed to be resistant to all damage (taking half).

    Fireball was 33 points of damage, both bludgeoning (concussive force) and fire.

    Willa’s tent is a “Medium, Resilient” object and absorbs 18 points of damage before it is irreparably destroyed. That leaves 15 points to transfer to each of the objects in it.

    Magic Plate Armor
    Magic Mace
    Bedroll
    Cold Weather Gear
    Longsword Scabbard
    Dagger Scabbard
    Cold Weather Gear
    Silk Rope
    Backpack

    Magic Plate Armor is a “Medium, Resilient” item and it has resistance to damage. The seven points of damage done to it are not enough to harm it.

    Magic Mace is a “Small, Resilient” item and it has resistance to damage. The seven points of damage done to it are not enough to harm it.

    Bedroll is a “Medium, Resilient” item. The 15 points of damage done to it are not enough to completely destroy it, although it is severely damaged and needs to be repaired.

    Cold weather gear is a “Medium, Resilient” item. The 15 points of damage done to it are not enough to completely destroy it, although it is severely damaged and needs to be repaired.

    Longsword Scabbard is a “Small, Resilient” item. It takes 10hp of the 15 and is irreparably destroyed. Five more points of damage are passed to the sword itself. The sword is a “Small, Resilient” item and five points of damage are not enough to harm it.

    Dagger Scabbard is a “Tiny, Resistant” item. It takes 5hp of the 15 and is destroyed. Ten more points of damage are passed to the dagger itself. The dagger is a “Small, Resilient” item and ten points of damage irreparably destroys it.

    Crossbow is a “Small, Resilient” item. It takes 15hp and is irreparably destroyed.

    Silk rope is a “Small, Resilient” item. It takes 15hp and is irreparably destroyed.

    Backpack is a “Small, Resilient” item. It takes 10hp of the 15 and is irreparably destroyed. Five more points of damage are passed to each of the items inside.

    Tinderbox (inside backpack) is a “Small, Resilient” item. The five points of damage done to it are not enough to harm it.

    Leather purse (inside backpack) with coins is a “Small, Resilient” item. The five points of damage done to it are not enough to harm it.

    Map case with Willa’s Map of the Dreadwood and the Starfall Maps (inside backpack) is a “Small, Resilient” item. The five points of damage done to it are not enough to harm it.

    Tool box with Navigator’s Tools (inside backpack) is a “Small, Resilient” item. The five points of damage done to it are not enough to harm it.

    Folded Portrait of Nholast (inside backpack) is a “Small, Fragile” item. It is irreparably destroyed.

    Healer’s Kit Bag (inside backpack) is a “Small, Resilient” item. The five points of damage done to it are not enough to harm it.

    Belaying Pin (inside backpack) is a “Tiny, Resilient” item. It is irreparably destroyed.

    Oil flask (inside backpack) is a “Tiny, Resilient” item. 5 points of damage is just enough to irreparably destroy it. Luck roll +1; the flask is cracked and slowly seeping oil, but the oil did not combust.

    Potion vial (neutralize poison) (inside backpack) is a “Tiny, Resilient” item. 5 points of damage is just enough to irreparably destroy it. Luck roll +2; the stopper is cracked and the potion must be kept upright or it will leak.

    Potion vial (water breathing) (inside backpack) is a “Tiny, Resilient” item. 5 points of damage is just enough to irreparably destroy it. Luck roll -3; the vial is ruptured and the potion is lost instantly, soaking the other contents of the backpack.

    Potion vial (sweet water) (inside backpack) is a “Tiny, Resilient” item. 5 points of damage is just enough to irreparably destroy it. Luck roll +1; the flask is cracked and slowly leaking potion.

    Checking her items, Willa silently thanks the Gentle Sea Cow of the South that the most important non-magical items, the map case and tool box for her navigation instruments, survived the blast. She resolves to offer something to the goddess to show her gratitude.

    She takes up the flask of neutralize poison and walks quickly over to the brook that runs through the camp. It’s not the warm south sea where the Sea Cow reigns - but it must flow into the River Fyn, and that surely empties into the Javan River, and that enters the Azure Sea, whose waters lap against the shores of Saltmarsh and which even now are likely feeding her brother Tom. “Modder Cow,” she mumbles, so as not to be overheard by the party, “please accept t’is offerin’ o’ me t’anks fer yer protection an’ care o’ me, me family, an’ me mates.” She pours the contents of the phial into the brook as slowly as she can, thinking of how its contents saved her and Babshapka from poison gas in Castle Ravenloft, poison gas that was released, of course, by Aurora fooling with a chest she was told to let alone...she sets aside the thought as uncharitable. It is true enough, but such salt is not befitting the solemnity of this occasion. When she has poured out the last drop of magical potion, she bows her head and mumbles a few more words of prayer. The prayer itself was taught to her by her mother, and the memory of the two of them praying together to the Sea Cow when her father would take to the sea is one of the clearest of the few memories she has of her mother.

    On her way back to the others, Willa feels the smooth glass of the phial in her hand, with its worn paper label. She recalls her surprise at finding the phial, one of three such, was actually labeled when they recovered it from the captain’s cabin on the Sea Ghost. She suddenly regrets never asking Sigurd if it was he who labeled the phials with his own hand, but is glad that she remembered to thank the Sea Cow for protection for her “mates,” figuring now that should cover Sigurd as well.

    Returning to her gear, Willa carefully pours the potion of sweet water from its cracked glass vial into the now-empty phial she took to the brook. The sweet water was found, she remembered, in treasure they won from a medusa that Aurora turned into a slug. So she supposes the ditzy wizard has her moments. She tries the stopper of the broken vial in the phial hopefully - it fits, but not well, and could easily bounce off if jolted. Aurora has a stub of a candle in her writing supplies, and Willa melts wax liberally all around the stopper. In the end, she is confident it will take the gentle jostling of the pack mules or her own backpack, but not a fight or flight. With luck, they will have neither before reaching Dersyth where she can look for a new container.


    Shefak’s tent is a “Medium, Resilient” object and absorbs 18 points of damage before it is irreparably destroyed. That leaves 15 points to transfer to each of the objects in it.

    Bedroll
    Cold Weather Gear
    Dagger Scabbard
    Dart Case
    Waterskin
    Backpack

    Bedroll is a “Medium, Resilient” item. The 15 points of damage done to it are not enough to completely destroy it, although it is severely damaged and needs to be repaired.

    Cold weather gear is a “Medium, Resilient” item. The 15 points of damage done to it are not enough to completely destroy it, although it is severely damaged and needs to be repaired.

    Dagger Scabbard is a “Tiny, Resistant” item. It takes 5hp of the 15 and is destroyed. Ten more points of damage are passed to the dagger itself. The dagger is a “Small, Resilient” item and ten points of damage irreparably destroys it.

    Dart case is a “Small, Resilient” item. It takes 10hp of the 15 and is irreparably destroyed. Five more points of damage are passed to the darts themselves. The darts are “Tiny, Resilient” items. Five points of damage are just enough to irreparably destroy them. (Luck roll 0; all of the darts are destroyed).

    Waterskin is a “Small, Resilient” item. It takes 10hp of the 15 and is irreparably destroyed.

    Backpack is a “Small, Resilient” item. It takes 10hp of the 15 and is irreparably destroyed. Five more points of damage are passed to each of the items inside.

    Holy Symbol (inside backpack) is a “Tiny, Resilient” item. 5 points of damage is just enough to irreparably destroy it. Luck roll +4. Although the paint has been burnt off and the metal pitted, Shefak accepts it as a symbol of the impermanence of material form and it will continue to function for her as holy even though broken.

    Silver Statue (inside backpack) is a “Small, Resilient” item. The five points of damage done to it are not enough to harm it.


    It is still more than an hour until dawn. Babshapka and Umbra are the only ones who have had a complete long rest - everyone else has broken their rest to fight. It is agreed that they will wait until dawn and depart at a normal hour, which will allow the others to have at least a short rest. Before that, however, Larry insists that they pull the body of the eiger out of the spring. Even the mules refuse to drink from it later, however.

    Post-combat hp and spells remaining
    Larry 10/56, 1/2/0
    Babshapka 33/48, 3/2
    Umbra 38/38, 4/2/2
    Aurora 3/38, 1/1/0
    Tyrius 9/49, 1/2, 5/30 lay on hands
    Eddard 24/24,
    Willa 33/62,
    Thokk 16/66,
    Shefak 24/39,

    [Reasoning that they don’t know what the day may bring and they may still need their spells offensively, the party elects to spend hit dice on natural healing after their short rest rather than casting magical heals. Larry (natural recovery) and Aurora (Arcane recovery) also regain some spells.]

    Post-rest HD, hp, and spells remaining
    Larry 1/6, 54/56, 4/2/0
    Babshapka 4/6, 48/48, 3/2
    Umbra 6/6, 38/38, 4/2/2
    Aurora 0/6, 33/38, 1/1/1
    Tyrius 0/,6 44/49, 1/2, 5/30 lay on hands
    Eddard 3/3, 24/24
    Willa 3/6, 62/62
    Thokk 1/6, 66/66
    Shefak 2/6, 37/39

    At some point Thokk goes to check the hunting trap and finds it gone. The others tell him that they saw an eiger with it clamped on his foot. Thokk is incensed and demands that they go track down the eiger and get the trap back. Willa convinces him that the eiger has now had more than an hour lead time and is long gone, and it is not worth it to go off the trail and into some potential ambush of the whole eiger tribe. She tells Thokk to search the bodies of the eigers and see if they will pay for a new trap when the party gets to Dersyth. She stares pointedly at Aurora and says “an’ all me stuff, t’ boot.”

    Thokk comes back with 109 gold lions' value in coins of all different denominations. Willa estimates they may break even, once all of her and Shefak’s gear is replaced. Not counting the potion of water breathing, of course - that was likely worth in the hundreds or more.

    While Thokk was searching the eiger, he realized that all that meat has more than solved their food problem! They will likely have more meat than they can even carry. He is unprepared for the vehemence with which the others tell him that they will not be eating eiger, not even if he allows them to cook it. The elves are repulsed and Tyrius is indignant, although Larry just shrugs. Willa is a little queasy at the thought herself, but she is by now well used to finding creative arguments to manage Thokk. She takes him away from the group and explains patiently that he can eat off an eiger carcass himself while they are here - as long as he feeds on whichever one is farthest from camp. However, they will not be taking any of the eiger meat with them, as that would “spook the mules”. Thokk reflects on the combat and recalls the terrified screams of the mules during the attack. He nods and accepts the sage advice of his trusted evil advisor. The combat was exhilarating for him, and now that the eiger coin has softened the blow of the theft of ‘his’ trap, he is in fine spirits.

    As soon as the camp is packed after breakfast, the party is away. Already the crows are thick and loud on the corpses of the eigers, and most of the party are eager to be off before wolves or larger predators appear. The day’s march continues along the same hills and bluffs overlooking the river Fyn. Sometimes the hills are lower and nearer the river, sometimes higher and farther. Sometimes the trail is in view of shepherd’s crofts, and sometimes in desolate highlands with not a soul in sight.

    In the late afternoon they move away from the river, climbing up into rugged hill country, with a large peak between them and the Fyn. They camp in a bowl on the back side of the mountain, with untouched forest all around them. Willa decides that this is the perfect place to hunt, far from any tended flocks that Thokk might raid by accident. She tells the party that as they have less than a day of food left, five of them will remain in camp on the morrow while Thokk, Larry, and Babshapka all forage. Depending on how much they bring back at dinner, they may be able to continue on for Dersyth the day after.

    [ Used 6 rations (Thokk gorged on eiger flesh in the morning); 5 human rations remaining
    1 mule ration used, supplemented by forage; 5 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 66 pounds charcoal remaining]
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    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:26 pm  
    Post 150: The Road to Dersyth Part II

    Post 150: The Road to Dersyth Part II

    31 January, 571 [Readying 9] - Cantrev of Rhwng yr Coed, on road to Dersyth (lowlands)
    [Rain 3pm - beyond 12am]

    After a breakfast of trail food, the main party sees Thokk, Babshapka, and Larry off on their foraging run. With the day planned for sitting in camp, Willa goes through their gear, taking an inventory of the supplies on the mules and seeing what they might need to pick up in Dersyth. In the process, she finds the last remaining fishing pole, which gets her thinking. A Salter born and bred, she has no experience hunting - but with a pole she might be able to contribute to their food stores, if she made a side jaunt to the river.

    She looks at who is left at camp - Umbra, Tyrius, Aurora, Shefak. None of them are exactly ideal fishing companions, and yet with eigers about she doesn’t want to travel alone. For those already foraging she is unconcerned about them going solo - Thokk and Babshapka can easily hide, and Larry can turn into an innocuous animal, if facing overwhelming foes - but stealth is not Willa’s forte. For that matter, she can’t imagine sitting on a river bank and trying to cast a line in full plate mail - she will be unarmored and vulnerable. She will want someone to come with, just in case, even if they are only on watch while she fishes.

    With his gear still arranged all about on the ground, Randy is confused about whether he is going to be packed today or not, and he stamps his foot anxiously. Eddard speaks soothingly to him. Eddard!

    After Willa asks him, and then Tyrius just to be polite, Eddard agrees to go fishing with her and they set out at mid-morning, reaching the Fyn in about an hour and a half and having to go off-trail only a bit. The mist is just clearing off the water when they arrive at the river. Eddard proves to be an excellent companion, neither going on at length about nothing (like Aurora and Tyrius would) or remaining tight-lipped on the occasions when Willa does want to talk (as Shefak and Umbra do). Rather, he waits until spoken to and then gives slow, carefully measured responses. By the early afternoon, as rain clouds begin to gather, Willa has caught only a single fish (Survival roll 8 ), but has had a grand time. She gathers some rushes at the river’s edge, weaves them into a small raft of sorts, lays the fish on it and says some words to the Sea Cow while Eddard remains respectfully silent. She lets the raft and its offering float downstream as she packs up the tackle. Already an ambitious kingfisher is eyeing the raft and its cargo.

    All the way back to the camp it rains in brief showers that come and go. She and Eddard are quite wet by the time they arrive, but Aurora has a charcoal fire going and the others are looking for dry, dead wood to add. The rain doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon. A night in the 40’s, dry and in a tent, is one thing - but a night in the 40’s, wet and under the sky, is quite a different kettle of fish.

    One by one the foragers return to camp, all sodden. Larry is empty-handed (Survival roll 9), as is Thokk, although the half-orc is testy because he broke a javelin in his pursuit of game (Survival roll 5, critical failure). Babshapka brings in a brace of wood cocks (Survival roll 22), but the small birds are not going to be enough for all of them.

    Taking stock of their supplies after dinner finds them with even less food than the day before. Babshapka reports that his scouting from a nearby hilltop revealed that they are not too far from farming country. Willa tells them that they may just have to tighten their belt for a day, but they can likely buy food from a farmstead if they do not arrive at Dersyth on the morrow.

    The rain showers continue off and on all night, with the party taking shelter as best they can under the limbs of trees.

    [ Caught 4 pounds of game cock, used 4 pounds of game cock and 3 rations; 2 human rations remaining
    No mule rations used (full day of forage); 5 mule rations remaining
    7 pounds of charcoal used to cook meat and stay warm; 59 pounds charcoal remaining]


    1 February, 571 [Readying 10] - Cantrev of Rhwng yr Coed, on road to Dersyth (lowlands)
    [Rain 12am to 6am]
    [Hail 6am to 8am]

    In the morning as the sky lightens, the gentle rain changes to hail. When the ice pellets penetrate the mostly-bare limbs of the tree she is under and begin to bounce off her face, Willa wakes with a roar. “Aurora!” she bellows across the camp. “Yer buyin’ me a tent in Dersyth o’ I’ll be makin’ one from yer hide!”

    Shefak is already up, ignoring the hail and sitting cross-legged on the ground, facing east to greet the dawn in meditation. “We must accept loss as part of life,” she says in response to Willa, “and not dwell on material things.” She stands, then turns to face the party. “However, perhaps it would encourage Aurora to improve her aim if she had to replace all of our items from her own funds, rather than the party treasure.”

    The party finishes the last of their food supplies for breakfast and then packs the camp. “Bring us summit fer lunch,” says Willa to Thokk as they set out but he remains behind to forage. She had considered sending Babshapka out as well, but prefers missing a meal to stumbling into another pack of eigers while on the march, so she keeps him as their forward scout.

    The rain and hail continue for the first hour of their march. The trail takes them low and close to the river. As they travel, they leave the woods behind, and the land becomes green pastures, with shepherd’s fields more and more common as they progress. They make their noon camp, with Willa arranging a coal pit expectantly but not lighting it. Thokk shows up soon after, a string of small, skinned animals draped across his back and a small cloud of flies about him. He explains that just before he left the woods, he found a pair of pine martens skulking about the base of a tree that had a squirrel’s nest. He killed the martens with his javelins, and then fished the squirrels out of the tree one at a time and wrung their necks. He has brought enough meat for lunch and dinner besides!

    Some hours after they resume their march, the trail rises and is joined by another trail coming from the south. Willa and Aurora reason that this is the overland trail from the Lea and Pregmere that Ossein spoke of on the river. They must be nearing Dersyth.

    After this, the trail descends to the valley bottom again. Soon they start to see fields and farms, the first they have seen since New Midwood. While the folk of Geoff grow many things for their own household use, here the staple crop appears to be oats. They travel the rest of the afternoon. The farms grow more dense, but they have not arrived at Dersyth by nightfall, nor does Thokk have more forage for them when he arrives at their evening camp. However, they do find a stone-walled sheep fold with one corner roofed by rough timber and the flock nowhere in sight. Although the roof is not high enough for any of them to stand but Larry, all of their bedrolls placed one against the other just fit under the covered part, which is appreciated during a cold drizzle from before midnight through dawn of the next day. Eddard and the mules have to stay outside in the wet, but at least the stone walls of the fold cut the wind for them.

    [ Caught 8 pounds of game, used 5 pounds of meat and 2 rations; 3 pounds of meat but no rations remaining
    1 mule ration used, supplemented by forage; 4 mule rations remaining
    4 pounds of charcoal used to cook meat; 55 pounds charcoal remaining]
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:26 pm  

    Boy, Willa doesn't like Aurora at all, does she? What's Aurora's alignment, anyway? I've seen you describe her alternately as a harridan, a ditz, etc.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:59 am  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    Boy, Willa doesn't like Aurora at all, does she?

    The players of Aurora and Willa are co-workers and have been friends for years. Willa's player is very cautious and Aurora's much more impetuous. Part of the dynamic is Aurora's player always saying "Let's do this!" without regard for consequences and Willa's player always criticizing whatever decision Aurora's player makes. She likes to complain, but it is good-natured.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    What's Aurora's alignment, anyway? I've seen you describe her alternately as a harridan, a ditz, etc.


    A ditz, definitely. A harridan? Nah, more like a vixen or minx.

    I have some reflections on Alignment in this campaign between posts 108 and 109. Let me say here that for this, my first 5e game, I wanted to try a different approach to alignment. Basically I told the players that their job was to come up with a consistent personality and perspective, and that their actions would then dictate their alignment rather than the other way around. Thus, I have my understanding of what their alignment is, but it is not actually known to them.

    I did write an 'alignment' on their sheets based on my assessment of their role-playing:

    Aurora - Chaotic Shrill
    Babshapka - Chaotic Obliged
    Larry - Neutral Grubby
    Shefak - Not from around here
    Thokk - Chaotic Simple
    Tyrius - Blessed Be Pelor
    Umbra - Shrouded in Mystery
    Willa - Loyal Freebooter
    _________________
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    Last edited by Kirt on Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:59 am  

    DM's note on sources: Dersyth, the Lake of Rhûn, and the Monastery of Pelor are not on Darlene's maps, but the first two appear on those of Anna Meyer. On Darlene's map, Dersyth would be at the edge of the mountains, north of the G in "Grand". I based my description of Dersyth and the Lake of Rhun on https://db4sgowjqfwig.cloudfront.net/campaigns/129072/assets/845045/GyruffCY618_04.pdf?1522501776, although I expect much of that originally comes from Living Greyhawk sources.

    Post 151: Dersyth to the Lake of Rhun

    2 February, 571 [Readying 11] - Cantrev of Gwyrth Bryn, on road to Dersyth (lowlands)

    Morning’s light shows that they are easily within striking distance of Dersyth, which straddles the Fyn below them, so Willa encourages everyone to take an extra portion at breakfast and finish off the squirrel. They arrive at the gates of the walled city long before lunch, but not before the mists have cleared from the Fyn.

    Willa sets their priorities as; first, finding an inn, second, replacing their gear, and third, learning what they can about the starfall so as to determine whether they will need more serious gear for the mountains. Tyrius adds that he would like to find a temple to Pelor, both to give thanks for their safe arrival, and to see what the local priests might know about the starfall.

    Dersyth is the seat of its cantrev, and is a large walled town, but calling it a city would be a stretch. It doesn’t take them long to find an inn and accommodate their gear and then have a quick lunch. Afterwards, Thokk stays at the inn drinking, with Larry and ostensibly Umbra watching him, but she spends more time in her room than the common room. Tyrius is in the stable, under the direction of Eddard, seeing to the care and maintenance of the hooves and coats of the mules with implements borrowed from the stablehand. Willa, Shefak, Aurora, and Babshapka set out for the town markets.

    Purchased from private funds of Aurora
    6gp Two-person oilcloth tent (Willa)
    2gp Backpack (Willa)
    10gp 50’ silk rope (Willa)
    - Longsword scabbard (Willa - minimal expense)
    - Dagger scabbard (Willa)
    3gp Repair of cold weather gear (Willa)
    1gp Bedroll, new (Willa)
    1gp Vial with well-fitting stopper (Willa)
    2gp Two-person canvas tent (Shefak)
    2gp Backpack (Shefak)
    - Dagger scabbard (Shefak)
    3gp Repair of cold weather gear (Shefak)
    1gp Bedroll, new (Shefak)
    0.2gp Waterskin (Shefak)
    Total: 31.2gp

    Purchased with party funds
    1gp 10 flasks of lamp oil (Willa)
    0.1gp 10 torches (Willa)
    28gp 56 human rations (7 days x 8 people)
    0.7gp 14 mule rations (7 days x 2 mules)
    2.5gp Half a hundredweight of charcoal
    1gp 2 javelins (Thokk)
    5gp Cold weather gear (Tyrius buys new for Umbra)
    10gp 50’ silk rope (Aurora)
    0.5gp 10 pitons (Larry)
    0.05gp Signal whistle (Tyrius)
    5gp Hunting trap (Thokk)
    Total: 53.85gp

    [Notes: The river Fyn does not appear to have any sailed vessel traffic, just poled barges and rowed boats. Willa does not find a belaying pin for sale in the markets of Dersyth.]

    [It is cheaper to buy a new bedroll than to repair the damaged ones. Tyrius gives the two damaged bedrolls to the Temple of Pelor to distribute to the poor.]

    [It is cheaper to repair the damaged cold weather gear than buy new ones.]

    When the quartet have returned from the market, Tyrius sets out and quickly finds the temple of Pelor. As one of the Old Flan Gods, the worship of Pelor is quite strong here in the north of Geoff. Tyrius offers his prayers at the temple and talks to the priests. If he is looking for old lore, they say, he should travel west of Dersyth, up the Fyn road. A day’s journey from the town is a monastery dedicated to Pelor that houses many historical books and records. It is decided that half of the party will go there on the morrow.

    The skies are clear of clouds tonight, although Luna is full. Willa rearranges the watch schedule so that she is up after moonset but before sunrise (Celene is new so she is free of that complication). She is able to make her final and most accurate starfall map. The final area, to the most precise reading of her instruments, is about a 15 mile radius high in the Barrier Peaks. Even in such a relatively small area, how will they find a single, odd rock in that remote wilderness? Willa is hopeful the monks of Pelor will have more information for them, and she gives the map to Tyrius the next morning. Even if they can’t narrow the location, at least they should be able to tell the party what the conditions and weather will be like.

    [ Used 3 pounds of meat - other food at inn, no meat remaining; 56 human rations remaining (purchased)
    No mule rations used, fed at inn; 18 mule rations remaining (14 purchased)
    2 pounds of charcoal used to cook meat; 103 pounds charcoal remaining (50 purchased)]


    3 February, 571 [Readying 12] - Dersyth (lowlands)
    In the morning, Tyrius organizes the expedition to the monastery. Willa has elected to remain in Dersyth and watch those members of the party who might not be as welcome in a place that is sanctified to Pelor; Thokk (a half-orc), Umbra (who seems to draw her power from darkness), and Shefak (a Bakluni). Eddard will of course be accompanying Tyrius, but also Larry (who speaks Flan and seems well-liked by the Gyri they have met so far), Aurora (who wants to know historical information) and Babshapka (Aurora’s bodyguard). Since they plan to be at the monastery before nightfall, the “away team” will be traveling light and leaving the mules in town.

    During the day, Thokk remains at the bar of the inn, with Shefak as his minder, while Umbra largely remains at the inn but occasionally makes forays into the city. Willa visits a few stores and shops to continue replacing their gear and check up on the craftspeople still repairing her and Shefak’s cold weather gear. Willa also talks to several fletchers. They can fit the head of Babshapka’s ‘giant arrow’ to a new shaft, but none of them know how to specifically weaken the shaft so that the arrow will penetrate but then immediately break off. At least, they will not be able to do that without some guesswork, trial, and error. Willa keeps the head for now.

    Dersyth is built on both sides of the Avon Fyn, with one great stone bridge and several lesser wooden ones crossing the flow. The party entered town from the south bank but the trail to the west leaves from the north. The trail runs roughly due west above the river, though the Fyn’s meanders take it sometimes near and sometimes far from the trail. As the away team travels west, they pass more oat fields, sheep fields, and thorps, but no major settlements in all the day. The Fyn itself seems covered in mist for much of the day, and the trail rises slowly into the foothills of the great Barrier Peaks.

    By sundown it is obvious that they will not be reaching the monastery before dark, mostly due to Larry’s slower pace. Still, backlit against the red western sky, they can see a great stone structure on a hill just a few miles ahead that surely must be it. After they pause briefly to rest, Luna rises, and the light of her full body is ample enough to continue on this cloudless night (and they are lacking most of their camping gear, besides, providing strong incentive to reach the monastery before they sleep).

    As they draw closer, they can hear the Fyn coursing in a deep gorge below. The monastery is built at the narrowest part of the valley, where the Fyn is hemmed in by cliffs, and travelers must pass under the stone walls of the monks. Low walls surround fields of wheat and hops, while a great temple is in the center of it all. Lights play along the surface of the temple, almost certainly a magical effect, making it a welcoming beacon in the darkness.

    The monks at the gate question the party briefly, but when they learn that Tyrius is a Paladin of their Order, they welcome the entire party inside (despite a few impolite questions for them from Aurora, designed to reveal whether the whole enterprise is an elaborate ruse).

    While many of the monks are currently at nightly devotional services and some have even returned to their cells, there are a few remaining at the communal dinner table and the party is invited to dine with them - including Eddard, who is served a bowl of hot oatmeal! (The party is surprised when he accepts, as they have never seen him eat before.)

    When Tyrius asks about historical records, the monks tell him that he can visit their library after dinner. When he asks whether Aurora can accompany him, the monks somewhat begrudgingly agree, provided she is under his supervision at all times. Over dinner, the party discovers that the monastery serves as a center of learning and healing, but also brews beer. “We spread Pelor’s light unto the world in many ways,” says one monk. Many of the monks undertake martial training as well. The monastery itself protects the upper reaches of the Fyn and the Lake of Rhun, where both the Council of Druids and the Bardic College of Cainaith are to be found. The monks screen travelers, and allow only those with peaceful intentions to continue on. In ages past, they also kept warlords from attempting to seize the Council or College and thereby claim rulership of all Geoff, but those days of inter-clan rivalry and warfare are long gone, and no one disputes the rule of the Brennin (Grand Duke) anymore.

    Tyrius shows the monks the latest map of the starfall, and asks them what the mountains will be like at that spot. They provide some general guidelines, like “cold, high, and full of humanoids and monsters,” but nothing too specific. All of them recommend that Tyrius speak to the Council of Druids on the Isle of Rhun, for they will surely know such details if anyone does. When Tyrius asks how to ask them, they explain that if the party travels another day up the trail, they will come to the Lake of Rhun. However, the lake is continually covered in mist. Only those whom the druids wish to receive are granted passage through the mists to their home, the Isle of Rhun. Similarly, only those the bards accept are allowed through the mists to their College on Kindler’s Isle. All Tyrius can do is travel to the shore of the lake and petition to speak to the druids - what happens next is up to them.

    Some time after dinner Tyrius and Aurora are admitted to the great library of the monastery. The head librarian is a very old man, but also quite hearty for one of his advanced age. He has heard of no tales of a star falling in the Barrier Peaks specifically. Of course, planets changing in the sky are a portent of change on Oerth, and he knows several tales of stars falling in general or in other places, just not near here.

    When Aurora says that this would have occurred around seven or eight hundred years ago, he shakes his head sadly. At that point, he says, the Gyri did not even have a written language, and although this library likely has the most extensive collection of histories in the land, none of them are older than five hundred years. For tales older than that they will need to seek an oral history, and for that they will need to go to either the Council of Druids or the College of Cainaith, both repositories of the Old History of the Land.

    The monk - librarian is happy to show Aurora all the relevant texts, but she rapidly agrees that none of them are old enough, and none contain specific tales of this fallen star.

    The party are shown guest cells and pass the night peacefully.

    [ Half of party eats at inn, other half has lunch only on trail, using 1 ration; 55 human rations remaining
    No mule rations used, fed at inn; 18 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 103 pounds charcoal remaining]


    4 February, 571 [Readying 13] - party split between Dersyth and Monastery of Pelor (lowlands)
    [Thunderstorm 11pm - 2am]
    [Wandering encounter, Civilized Hills - Patrol, Men]
    Tyrius will not impugn the reputation of a Temple of Pelor by suggesting that they are anything less than safe, so he refuses to set a watch schedule for those who traveled with him. Nevertheless, he remains up after the others have retired to their cells, kneeling in a prayer vigil in a small chapel near their rooms. Some four hours later Babshapka comes to tell him that he has tranced enough, and will remain alert until dawn, should Tyrius wish to get some sleep. Tyrius nods gratefully as he massages the blood back into his legs, stiff and numb from the stone floor.

    The monks are up before dawn, as the entire population of the monastery celebrates a sunrise worship service in the marble-covered main temple. Tyrius drags himself from bed at the last minute to participate as well. After this, and as the rest of the party is waking, the more militant of the monks go outside and have weapons training in the cool morning air, while the aged and infirm or those more skilled in healing and brewing and other arts break their fast with the party. Tyrius opts to train as well, so that by the time the party has washed up, packed, and is ready to be on the road, he has not had anything to eat. If the lack of food and sleep is affecting him, he is good at pretending it doesn’t. As he rides to the head of the company on Eddard, he asks them rhetorically what they are waiting for.

    Eddard is only at a gentle walk but it is not long before Larry is huffing and puffing and struggling to keep up. Tyrius tsks his tongue. “This won’t do, brother Larrenthal. The monks were kind enough to let us in after dark, but I fear that once the the townsfolk close the gates of Dersyth for the night they will not open them for us.” None of them have brought their sleeping rolls, let alone the new tents, and it dipped into the 30’s before the sun rose this morning.

    “Ahm oon et,” says Larry, and casts the Longstrider spell on himself. “Ah’ll see ye a’ lunch,” he says, and trots ahead, faster than at least Aurora could follow, although the others might keep up with him if they had to.

    Not long after Larry is out of sight down the road, a number of figures approach the party from ahead of them. They appear to be a patrol of footmen, very similar in look to those the party met with nearly a week ago, although dressed in a different livery. The serjeant looks at the device on Tyrius’ shield and does not bother to even question them. He does draw forth an object from a large leather bag he carries to show them, though. It is a creature’s head, humanoid, though as large as a boar’s head. It has been rolled in salt to preserve it but still looks the worse for wear and they do not recognize it at first until Babshapka realizes that it is an eiger.

    “Aye, it be an eigre, true eno’,” says the serjent. “A whole troop o’ ‘em war foond on th’ low road t’ New Midwood. If ye be travelin’ east o’ Dersyth, best be on yer guard, eh!” The patrol continues up the road to the monastery.

    [Tyrius, Eddard, Babshapka, Aurora; moving 5 hours at 3mph (Aurora’s pace) = 15 miles
    Larry; moving 3 hours at 3.5mph plus 2 hours at 2.5mph = 15.5 miles]

    The party does indeed catch up to Larry at mid-day, for after three castings of longstrider he has walked at his own pace for the remainder of the morning. Even though they are eating trail food, and have little in the way of preparation or clean-up, he insists on taking a short rest for a full hour. While they eat, he contemplates the Fyn below, still shrouded in mist, but audible through the clear winter air. When they start up again, his natural recovery has allowed him to get those three castings back, and he tells them he will next see them at the gates of Dersyth.

    “Be careful,” says Eddard drolly, “I hear there are eigers on the road.” Larry chuckles as he speeds off.

    They do indeed find Larry again at the gates of Dersyth, trying to persuade the guards to keep the gates open until they arrive. The last rays of the sun glint off Tyrius’ armor as he thanks the guards, but they only scowl back.

    Reunited at the inn, Aurora and Tyrius tell the rest of the party that on the morrow they will be packing for a journey to seek the Council of Druids on the Isle of Rhun.

    [ Half of party eats at the inn, other half has lunch only on the trail, using 1 ration; 54 human rations remaining
    No mule rations used, fed at inn; 18 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 103 pounds charcoal remaining]


    5 February, 571 [Readying 14] - Dersyth (lowlands)
    The party (less Thokk, who is in a drunken stupor) is woken by thunder in the night, and all of them are glad for the roof of the inn overhead. The pouring rain, thunder, and lightning last from before midnight to well after.

    In the morning Willa orders their march once they pass out of the north gate of Dersyth. Since they now have their camping gear with them, there will be no hardship if they fail to reach the monastery by sundown - and less to explain to the monks about the party members that stayed behind last time. Nor does she want Larry off by himself ahead of the party, so they will all travel together at his pace. Today, as they pass through fields of sheep and harvested oats, she will keep Thokk with them, but depending on the terrain she might release him to forage on the morrow.

    The day passes uneventfully. From their camp, they can see the lit monastery on the hill all night, a shining beacon in the darkness.

    [ Breakfast at the inn, 4 human rations used in rest of day; 50 human rations remaining
    One mule ration used, supplemented by forage; 17 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 103 pounds charcoal remaining]


    6 February, 571 [Readying 14] - road from Dersyth to Lake Rhun (lowlands)
    [Light rain 8am-4pm, no affect on movement]
    Dawn comes, but the sunrise is unseen as the skies are overcast. By the time the party has reached the walls of the monastery, a light rain is falling. The river is covered in mists and a fog shrouds the land so that the horizon falls back from the great Barrier Peaks to just the trail immediately in front of them.

    All day the rain falls as they climb higher and higher into the foothills along the trail. An hour after their mid-day rest, the sound of the rushing river in the gorge alongside them fades away, and an hour after that it is replaced by the lonely cries of water birds and the gentle lapping of waves.

    Ahead of them, emerging from the mist, appear low wooden buildings. A small village sits at the shore of a mist-covered lake. Interestingly, it does not appear to be a fishing village - no nets or drying racks are in sight. There is a small dock, but no boats moored.

    The village is quiet, but not deserted. The villagers welcome the party and take them to the “petitioner’s house” - a two-story wooden building with the second floor just a loft accessed by a ladder. There is a stable, a large fireplace with wood already laid in, and simple but comfortable furnishings. It could be mistaken for a country inn, but there seems to be neither staff nor proprietor. The villagers tell the party that they are welcome to stay there as long as they need to. When they ask how long that will be, the villagers explain that only those who the Council of Druids wish may access their isle. A few are admitted right away, some, after a while, most never, until they eventually give up and leave.

    The party unpacks, settles in, and starts a fire in an attempt to dry their clothes. In the late afternoon, a man enters the building without knocking. He has close-cropped hair, hard-worn hands, and a simple robe of sky blue. He asks the party their business, and they reply that they would like to meet with the Council of Druids. He explains that he is a representative of the Council, and that they can state their business to him for the Council to determine whether they wish to hear it in person or not. Aurora is hesitant, but Willa forges ahead, and says that Larry would like to know whether the druids of these parts can teach him any spells he does not know. The man seems taken aback by the question, and asks does Larry not have a master? Does he not belong to a circle? Who taught him before, and why did they stop?

    “Ah war taught by a bar an’ raised inna cave,” says Larry simply. “Until ‘e said ‘e ‘adn’t nae more t’ teach me an’ Ah lef’.”

    After an awkward silence, Tyrius interjects. “He was accepted as a novice candidate by the Circle of the Great Druid in the Dreadwood, but he...did not agree with their teaching methods or priorities. He is, mostly, self-taught, as it were...”

    The man raises an eyebrow. “If that is your only business with the Council...” he says, in a tone that suggests that they are wasting their time.

    “Also, I am an historian,” says Aurora quickly. “And I am seeking information about an ancient event - a star falling in these parts. It is older than any written histories, but we were told that the Council has oral histories that go back further.”

    “We ‘ave a map,” says Willa bluntly. “O’ ther mountains, whar we think ther star fell. We’d be wantin’ t’ ken what ther weather be like oop yonder.”

    “I see,” the man says politely, although as he looks from one to the other of them it is not clear that he does, in fact. “I will present your petition to the Council. You will have their answer on the morrow.”

    A few of the party follow the man out of the building and down to the lake, where a single, oarless, rowboat is now tied to the dock. The man enters the boat, unties it, makes a mystic pass of his hands, and mumbles a few words. The thick mists of the lake part and the boat moves away from the dock, seemingly of its own accord. The mists close again behind the boat, like a curtain in a theatre.

    The rain lets up soon after, and the fog onshore disperses, but the mists over the water remain thick throughout the afternoon and night.

    [ 7 human rations used; 43 human rations remaining
    One mule ration used, supplemented by forage; 16 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 103 pounds charcoal remaining]
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    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.&nbsp; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Adept Greytalker

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    Posts: 406
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    Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:37 pm  

    Kirt wrote:

    A ditz, definitely. A harridan? Nah, more like a vixen or minx.

    I have some reflections on Alignment in this campaign between posts 108 and 109. Let me say here that for this, my first 5e game, I wanted to try a different approach to alignment. Basically I told the players that their job was to come up with a consistent personality and perspective, and that their actions would then dictate their alignment rather than the other way around. Thus, I have my understanding of what their alignment is, but it is not actually known to them.

    I did write an 'alignment' on their sheets based on my assessment of their role-playing:

    Aurora - Chaotic Shrill
    Babshapka - Chaotic Obliged
    Larry - Neutral Grubby
    Mathias - Neutral Bargainer w/ LE tendencies
    Shefak - Not from around here
    Thokk - Chaotic Simple
    Tyrius - Blessed Be Pelor
    Umbra - Shrouded in Mystery
    Willa - Loyal Freebooter


    Who's Mathias? Don't you mean Barnabas?
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:55 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    Kirt wrote:

    I did write an 'alignment' on their sheets based on my assessment of their role-playing:

    Aurora - Chaotic Shrill
    Babshapka - Chaotic Obliged
    Larry - Neutral Grubby
    Mathias - Neutral Bargainer w/ LE tendencies
    Shefak - Not from around here
    Thokk - Chaotic Simple
    Tyrius - Blessed Be Pelor
    Umbra - Shrouded in Mystery
    Willa - Loyal Freebooter


    Who's Mathias? Don't you mean Barnabas?


    Indeed. We lost Barnabus before we were playing online, so I don't have his character sheet - I think he may have been listed as "Chaotic Larcenous". And Mathias...well, that was unintended foreshadowing, as I just got ahead of myself. Mathias will join the party when they get to the starfall.
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.&nbsp; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Master Greytalker

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    Posts: 756
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    Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:08 am  
    Post 152: A Druid of the Council of Rhun

    Post 152: A Druid of the Council of Rhun

    7 February, 571 [Readying 16] - Lake of Rhun (5000' elevation)
    The party is glad of the large fireplace and ample wood, for the night outside drops into the 20’s - the first time it has been below freezing since three weeks ago in the Stark Mounds. Larry and Thokk figure they are already higher in elevation than the peaks of the Mounds and they are only at the base of the Barriers and will surely have a lot higher to climb.

    In the morning, after breakfast, Willa dispatches several party members to the water’s edge. The day is clear and cold but the mists lie just as thick over the lake as before. Suddenly the mists part and the same boat is visible, piloted by the same man in the sky blue robe, but now with a passenger.

    The new man climbs easily onto the dock and then strides ashore. There is a grace and suppleness to his movements that belie the deep wrinkles on his face. He has a long white beard, which flows down the front of his robes, themselves of a deep, royal blue.

    No sooner has the man stepped foot on shore but he is approached by animals - swallows and sparrows from under the eaves of the houses, mice from under doors and through holes in the walls, a mountain hare from beyond the edge of the village. They cluster around him, following him expectantly as he walks forward but not getting under foot. He nods at the party members on shore, but does not speak to them or even pause as he moves briskly towards their borrowed lodgings.

    When he reaches the building, he finally speaks, but to the creatures, not the party. Lowering himself to one knee, he tells the mice, “Search th’ buildin’ - make sure thar are no ears aboot.” The mice scurry under the door and into holes - those inside hear them crawling within the walls and in the loft above. Standing, the man addresses the birds. “See tha’ we are nae disturbed,” he says, and they take flight, circling the house. They ignore the party, but any villagers who accidently stray too close are immediately set upon. “An’ ye…” he muses, looking down at the hare waiting beneath him, “ye can warm me feet.” For indeed, he is barefoot in the hoarfrozen grass.

    He enters the house without knocking, takes a seat without asking leave. The hare curls up on top of his feet. He welcomes the party to the lake (rather than them welcoming him to the house), and asks who they are and what they would have of the Council.

    Once everyone is inside and the door closed, Willa introduces the party, each in turn, and he nods at all of them and squints. When she finishes, he says, “Well, ye’ve certainly got eno’ magic aboot ye.”

    “Do you know the mage Nholast?” opens Aurora.

    “Cannae say as ah do,” he replies, “‘tho th’ nime sounds Suel to me ear.”

    “Indeed,” agrees Aurora. “Nholast of the Suel House of Linth. This mage was a general to the wizard Asberdies, who ruled the Yeomanry.”

    The man’s eyes narrow. “‘Rruled?’ More like ‘e crrrushed th’ folk o’ th’ Yeomanry ‘neath ‘his tyrannical boot, an’ used ‘is fell magicks t’ enslave th’ lot o’ ‘em.”

    “So him you know,” agrees Aurora. “Well, anyway, we were in his servant Nholast’s tower, one of them anyway, and found a diary. Some seven hundred fifty years or so ago, he recorded a star falling from the sky and landing near here. He planned to use the metal in the star to create a mighty weapon, but fortunately it seems he met his end before he had a chance.”

    “An’ we be hopin’ tha’ ye might help us t’ find yon star,” says Willa. After a pause, she adds, “t’ make sure summit so powerful hain’t fallen inter ther wrong ‘ands an’ all.”

    “Do you know of any such histories of falling stars?” finishes Aurora.

    “Och, aye, o’ course,” he says. “Long, long ago - long afore th’ Gyri larned t’ write, when only the scops kept histories in song, thar appeared a star in th’ sky brighter than any t’others. Over th’ course o’ a few nights, et grew brighter an’ brighter, until ‘twere as bright as Luna ‘erself an’ could be seen in th’ day. Then it fell t’ Oerth. The stories don’t say whar, but they do say tha’ the whole Oerth shook, ‘twas a roar like thoonder tha’ lasted fer hours, an’ all th’ mountains ‘twere afire.”

    The party, now sobered, remains quiet a moment, until Willa ventures, “But ye dinnae ken whar it lies?”

    The man shakes his head and shrugs.

    “I ‘ave a map,” Willa says, pulling the map case out of her backpack and ignoring the concerned look of Aurora. She unrolls the map and spreads it out on a table near the druid. “This be whar we t’ink ther star might be. What can ye tell us aboot yon mountain?”

    The man rises to look at the map, the hare jumping up but then docile at his side. It takes him a moment to work out the scale and scheme of the map - but when he realizes what it shows, his eyes widen. He sits back in his chair pensively, his hands fumbling as if looking for a pipe or other device he has not brought along. Finally, he nods as if deciding something, and leans forward again.

    “Somewhar deep in th’ Barrier Peaks thar be a caive,” he begins. “A caive tha’ be th’ source o’ many a strange crrreature. Th’ Council hae kenned this fer generations, an’ we even hae a name fer it - Th’ Unoerthly Caive. The crrreatures tha’ coom from th’ caive be unlak any ‘tother thing ye ever seen - they be doonright unnatural.”

    “Interesting,” says Aurora, “but what does that have to do with the starfall?”

    “Yer map o’ th’ starfall be centered right upon th’ Caive. Wha’ if they be woon in th’ saime? Wha’ if these crreatures be so unoerthly because they dinnae be o’ th’ Oerth?”

    “What be ye proposin’?” asks Willa.

    “We can ‘elp woon atother,” he says. “Th’ Council will show ye exactly ‘ow t’ get t’ yer starfall, an’ ye can tell us wha’ lies in th’ caive.”

    “But if you have known exactly where it is for generations,” says Aurora dubiously, “why haven’t you investigated it before?”

    The man explains that the Council’s affairs are those of Geoff - the vastness of the Barrier Peaks are not in their purview, strictly speaking, although the tendency of strange creatures to leave the cave every few years and create problems in Geoff makes it of interest to them. They have, occasionally, over the generations, sent druids to investigate - typically brash young types with something to prove. Many have come back without locating it, turned away by the vast, frozen peaks. Others have not come back at all - whether they have been lost to the mountains, or the cave itself, he cannot say. However, he says that this party seems powerful, numerous, and well-equipped; he believes that they can handle the dangers of the cave and return to tell the Council what is producing the monsters, and hopefully, how they can be stopped.

    Aurora, perhaps overly excited at meeting someone who knows of Asberdies, is eager to plumb the druid for more lore. “You know,” she interrupts, “even though Nholast told Asberdies he was his loyal follower, he actually wasn’t. At least in his diary, he mentioned that really he was a servant of ‘The Master’.” The druid does not react, but Aurora continues. “He even mentions that he was looking for Relics of the Whispered One.”

    At this last reference the druid’s face darkens, and he bolts upright. Startled, the hare dashes off and hides behind the party’s mule packs. “Tha’,” he thunders, “is an ancient evil best lef’ unspoken. If ye value yer lives, an’ those o’ yer mates, ye willnae pursue tha' farther.”

    Even imprudent Aurora is cowed by his vehemence, at least momentarily. “I...I did not mean to offend...or seek more danger,” she stammers, as she recovers, “I merely wished to ascertain whether this cave, and the starfall, might somehow be connected to the...the one we should not name.”

    The lightning in the man’s eyes dims. “Nay, nay, there be nae connection atwixt th’ two.”

    Aurora approaches the druid, turning her body so that she can hide from Umbra the fact that she is pointing with her thumb at the shadow elf. She silently mouths the words “Whispered One?,” signals Umbra again, and raises her eyebrows as if making a question.

    Willa grabs Aurora by her shoulder, pulls her back a step, and scowls at her.

    The druid shakes his head. “Whar ye be gang be dangerous eno’, without th’ ancient evil. Ye must all be o’ woon mind, without dissention, if ye be coomin’ back atall.”

    Willa clears her throat and looks pointedly at Aurora.

    “Oh, we’re of one mind,” agrees Aurora. “Most assuredly.” She turns her back on the druid and gestures to the party to gather around her in a huddle, even Umbra. “I just meant to ask,” she whispers conspiratorially, “whether he knows anything about the...the place that made Umbra faint last time.”

    “You can say the Spidered Throne in front of me, enchantress,” says Umbra dryly. “And we will speak of this later.”

    Aurora turns back around. “We were just wondering whether any of this was connected to the Spidered Throne?”

    The druid shudders and says that has nothing to do with the Unoerthly Cave - but is also something you should not seek.

    “So how do we be navigatin’ t’ ther cave?” asks Willa. “Ye ‘ave a better map than this one?”

    “Maps, feh,” the druid disparages. “Ye think ye can circumscribe th’ Oerth Mother Beory with paper an’ calc’lations? Ye think tha’ drawin’ a place in ink says anything aboot the place an’ its life? Nae, nae, I dinnae hae a map fer ye. Bu’ I can tell yer druid th’ names o’ the peaks an’ valleys an’ streams an’ forests twixt ‘ere an’ th’ caive. Nae the names ye call ‘em an’ write on yer “map”, bu’ the names they call themselves an’ t’ which ther own spirits answer! Yer druid can talk t’ th’ spirits an’ ask directions along th’ way.”

    In addition, the druid explains to them that there will be two principle routes to choose from. One would continue north along the trail they used to come here, pass through the lands of the Dwarven Clan Stonereaver, then follow the last traces of the Upper Fyn high into the mountains, before summiting a high mountain pass and coming down on the Unoerthly Cave from above.

    The other route would take them south and west around the bottom of the Lake of Rhun, up a different river valley high into the Barriers, across a number of rugged mountain ranges and finally a vast snowfield before coming upon the Cave from below.

    Shefak asks about the weather to expect. He replies that it will be below freezing during the day, and far below freezing (below zero) at night. The greatest danger, however, will be the wind. While they are down in the valleys it will be strong, but when they need to cross ridges and on exposed faces it will be downright dangerous. The air will be thin, and they will be out of breath. They will need a heat source to keep their water from freezing - he warns them that eating snow will not keep them from dehydration and death.

    As the druid explains all the hazards of the journey, Willa’s expression grows more and more sour. “An’ what be in it fer us?” she asks, finally.

    The druid shrugs, saying that they came to him, asking about the starfall. He is giving them the precise location of it, in return for them investigating and reporting back about the cave. It seems a fair trade - if they want to try to find the location of the starfall from their map alone, they are welcome to try.

    “Might be a fair trade fer ye,” says Willa to Aurora. “Wha’ do the rest of us want wi’ starmetal?”

    “Oh, Willa,” chides Aurora. “Always so suspicious and negative. This starmetal is incredibly valuable. I’m sure it will have attracted monsters with treasures and such. We can keep those, right?”

    The druid indicates that indeed the party is welcome to whatever they find or discover, so long as they can explain what they found in the Cave to the Council.

    Willa is not satisfied, but she does turn to the more practical - asking the druid about what they will need in terms of supplies and equipment, such as snowshoes? And where they might get such gear.

    The man says snowshoes would just be a burden except perhaps in the snowfield, but ‘boot spikes’ (crampons) would be of high utility. They will need fur-lined sleeping bags if they plan on resting at night - after examining their cold-weather clothes he thinks they are likely to be sufficient to move in the day. Alternatively they could sleep in the day in what they have and move at night, but then they would need better clothes rather than better bed rolls. They will certainly each need individual tents, or at least one large pavilion for all of them and their mounts. The mules are hearty enough that they can take the cold while moving, but they will need blankets, or to be kept in a tent and out of the wind, when they are resting. And of course, the mules will need liquid water as well. He recommends that the party purchase either a brass or iron camp stove and coal - actual, mineral coal, not the charcoal they have with them.

    As to where they can find all of this, he suggests the Dwarves - they frequently travel in the mountains, and are skilled craftsfolk besides. When Willa asks whether the dwarves would be willing to offer them a fair deal, he says that although they are a proud and independent people, they are nominally under the rule of the Brennin of Gyruff, and maintain friendly relations with the Council. He can write them a letter of introduction that will insure they receive fair treatment, so long as they behave. As to what “behaving” means, he warns them to not ask questions, especially about their mines or livelihoods or family, to not speak until spoken to, to not haggle or show distrust, and generally to mind their own business.

    While most of the party seems ready to agree, Willa is still convinced they are getting the short end of the stick, and asks what else the druid might be able to offer them. After a bit more negotiation, he offers to teach Larry a spell to protect them from the cold, provided he is able to cast spells of third level. When Larry says that he is (his favorite being lightning bolt) the man nods and says that it is unusual to see a free druid so powerful - and that Larry may want to see about joining some Circle or other at some point. Larry scoffs at the idea.

    The Druid first teaches Larry the names of all the spirits of the land he will need to talk to to find the Cave (which takes the rest of the morning), and then, when he is sure Larry can recall them all, he teaches him the prayer he will need to call upon the spirits of the mountain for Protection from Cold, which takes much of the afternoon. Finally, Aurora lends him parchment, quill, and ink, and he writes out a letter, in both Common script and Dwarven runes (although none in the party, even Larry, can read the latter). It informs the Dwarves of Clan Stonereaver that the party (and it lists them all by name) are acting on behalf of the Council, and are to be treated as allies in their endeavor.

    The druid takes his leave of the party and returns across the lake.

    [ 7 human rations used; 36 human rations remaining
    No mule rations used, forage all day; 16 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 103 pounds charcoal remaining]
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.&nbsp; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jan 26, 2021 7:46 am  
    Post 153: The Lake of Rhun to Moradinath-Mor

    By far the best source for maps of Greyhawk comes from the work of Anna B Meyer. I used http://ghmaps.net for the party's travel. I would highly encourage any DM to use Anna's work, and anyone with the means to do so to support her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/annabmeyer


    Post 153: The Lake of Rhun to Moradinath-Mor

    8 February, 571 [Readying 17] - Lake of Rhun (5000' elevation)
    [Clear; low 23, high 43]

    The party leaves the village by the lake at first light, when it is still below freezing and the grass crunches underfoot. Thokk lags behind, with instructions to hunt for them once he is well away from the village itself. By late morning the sun has melted the hoarfrost and the day warms - but not as much as it did in the green valleys below, along the Lower Fyn. The first stretch away from the village is through dense fir forest, but by some two hours out of the village they emerge from the trees and the trail follows the banks of the upper Fyn. This river is not clouded by the mist that covered the lake or the lower Fyn and visibility is good, although increasingly limited by the narrowness of the river valley itself. Soon they are walking at the water’s edge in a steep, rocky canyon, with the trail climbing most of the time.

    Willa reckons that it is as cold a day as they have felt since the “cold spell” on the Javan that set the merchants to speculating about giant raids. She is privately glad they are keeping warm by walking, and not immobile on the deck of a ship (although she would not admit that). With the blessing of the Great Mother Sea Cow, she will survive this foolishness and live to see the warm southern ocean again.

    Shortly after their mid-day trail meal they come to a stone bridge over the Fyn, where the trail they are on crosses from the northern to the southern bank. The stonework on the bridge is elaborate, with four life-size statues of dwarves holding axes at the corners. It is easy to surmise that they are crossing into the land of the dwarves, although no guards greet them. Aurora, at Willa’s request, sends Buckbeak back to find Thokk. She doesn’t want him hunting in the lands of Clan Stonereaver, so he is recalled to join the party. Just after they cross the bridge together, he spots a group of mountain goats moving along the cliff face over the trail, and despite his protestations is not allowed to go after them.

    In mid-afternoon, at what should be the warmest part of the day, it is barely above forty degrees, and the sun has passed from view beyond the walls of the steep canyon, although it will remain light for several more hours. Just an hour before their evening camp they cross the Fyn again, this time at an even more elaborately carved and decorated stone bridge.

    [ 7 human rations used; 29 human rations remaining
    1 mule ration used; supplemented by forage; 15 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 103 pounds charcoal remaining]


    9 February, 571 [Readying 18] - Trail to Moradinath-Mor (7500' elevation)
    [Clear; low 18, high 40]

    The next day is spent moving along the trail, which now stays entirely on the northern side of the Upper Fyn for all twenty-five miles traveled. Sometimes they are in narrow rocky canyons right at the water’s edge, sometimes the southern wall of the valley pulls back a mile or more and there is fertile meadows that could be grazed by mules, goats, or sheep (and some evidence that it has been, though they see no sign of herds, flocks, or inhabitants at the moment). The northern wall of the canyon remains steep and close, sloping up to the great snow-covered Barrier Peaks above them.

    The trail continues to gain elevation all day and it gets noticeably cooler as they go. For the last five miles, the trail leaves the river valley and begins making its way up the northern wall. Their camp this night is on a narrow ledge, scarcely three times wider than the trail itself. It appears that they will cross over a ridge and be able to move down into a valley on the morrow, but Willa does not wish to try the crossing in the dark, and the others are tired, sore, out of breath in the thin air, and cold enough to stop for the evening.

    [ 7 human rations used; 22 human rations remaining
    1 mule ration used, supplemented by forage; 14 mule rations remaining
    No charcoal used; 103 pounds charcoal remaining]
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.&nbsp; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
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