One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
I am kicking off a new campaign on Saturday, using the excellent Legend system by Mongoose Publishing.
The PCs are newbie entrants in to the Thieves' Guild of Dyvers, I have some long term plans but first want to get everyone comfortable with the new rules etc.
So far we have 3 PC concepts finalized and I thought I'd run them by you guys. Bearing in mind we are playing on Saturday, the other two Players had better pull finger. In fairness, one of those two is playing a Rhennee thief ... I am going to have fun with that!
1) Valster of Ulek - Male Hill Dwarf originally from the Principality of Ulek, Valster has dwelt in Dyvers for a score of years. His parents were killed in humanoid raids and his family decided to head north.
2) Arrador a half-elf, whose mother (human) died in childbirth. His elvish father was very distant but taught young Arrador how to hunt. He left home young and poached game and stole to survive.
3) Caldric is a human, originally of Baklunish extract (Necross) who is a plant from the Mage's Guild, trying to determine whether or not Dyver's Thieves' Guild, the Alliance, had anything to do with a respected sorcerer's murder.
Coupled with the Rhennee, and an as yet unknown, fifth PC makes up my Player Characters.
...The PCs are newbie entrants in to the Thieves' Guild of Dyvers, I have some long term plans but first want to get everyone comfortable with the new rules etc...
1) Valster of Ulek - Male Hill Dwarf originally from the Principality of Ulek, Valster has dwelt in Dyvers for a score of years. His parents were killed in humanoid raids and his family decided to head north...
This Saturday, I am finally running my first game session of my new campaign, set in the World of Greyhawk. The characters are made, the session is mainly done so now we wait.
In brief, my PCs are junior members of the Alliance, the Thieves Guild of Dyvers - City of Sails. They get assigned "jobs" through a handler. This is an easy way to send them on adventures and gives me a fair amount of control. As previously mentioned, two of my players have never role played before.
This, their first job, is to case a manor house belonging to an aged, but minor nobleman, posing as workmen. Then a few days later, they are to return and rob the place of some expensive Jewels and Art Objects. Pretty straight forward ...
... After breaking in and exploring the manor, they find the Lord murdered. Round about this time, the players "bump" into a horrific mutated guard dog that is as big as a pony. After the ensuing battle, the players are interrupted by the untimely arrival of the Watch. They have, obviously, been framed but are clueless as to by whom. I am thinking that this frame, has been set up by the Alliance, to ensure loyalty from the players. Especially as ...
Behind the scenes, I have incorporated the old AD&D module, Slavers, to run in the background. The PCs will only come across teasers and hints through the course of their daily life and adventuring. The Alliance runs the Slavers ring, unbeknownst to the players, and I plan on slowly exposing this fact to the them.
I am hoping this creates some role playing opportunities as we explore Slavery as a theme.
Warlock, how do you wish to involve the Slavers from the Wild Coast/Pomarj?
Are you using the 'new and updated' list of Slavers, and not the original Lords of Nine (I assume so...but it is your game)?
I've always been a fan of DMing the A series, and they collective are some of my favorites. I am looking forward to the day (FAR away, sadly, given the timeline of my current game) when I am able to use the Slavers module. I've got a player whose Heironean paladin helped to topple the original reavers of the yellow sails, and I cannot wait for him to tackle the newbies who have filled that vacancy...after the Wars.
Hey Lanthorn, the first step is to slowly get the PCs immersed in Dyvers and its culture. I have a few low-level missions/jobs for the Alliance planned in the city. It is during this phase that the PCs will begin to hear rumours of missing folks.
The module has a step by step Adventure Outline that I want to stick with as an adventure path skeleton/framework.
The story begins with Arrador, Necross the Mad, Valster and Malachai sitting having a drink at The Three Heads. Desperate "Des" Tern is over at the bar, his unsightly wife is in the back and his three beautiful waitress are tending to tables. Lis, the party’s waitress for the night, comes over to fill their mugs and offers them freshly prepared fish stew. The tavern is friendly with The Alliance, the thieves guild in Dyvers, and the party has only recently been recruited.
Necross, feeling brave, decides to chat to Trinny, another waitress. Trinny finds him charming, but has other things on her mind. When Necross questions her, she explains that her neighbour disappeared mysteriously recently and no one seems to know why or who is responsible. Trinny goes to the back of the tavern, seeming distant, so Necross questions another waitress about the disappearance of the woman. Hennah explains that several people have disappeared of late, but she knows nothing about the matter.
Necross finally rejoins the group and explains what he has heard, staring at the tower of empty bowls next to Valster. Just then a dirty looking, freckled boy named Jez bursts through the door and runs straight to the party. Arrador allows a glance up at the energetic young lad who explains that Mutch, the parties handler for The Alliance, wants to meet with them at a tavern down the street at 8 bells that evening. Knowing nothing more he rushes off to deliver his next message. The party have a couple more mugs of ale before deciding to head out. Just then, an old bard begins playing a soulful Elvish melody in the corner.
After arriving at the One Eyed Mug, a quiet local with a few strange characters keeping to themselves, the party meet Mutch in his usual corner booth. He treats them as good friends, but after a round of drinks he gets straight to business.
He explains that the job is to obtain the Lady’s Teardrop, a well-known gem, from inside the Manor of Lord Bastonvar. The aging lord, once lived with his daughter, a powerful mage, who has not been seen for some time and is believed to be dead. Mutch explains that the party is to sign up for work detail at the Manor the following , they will be required to complete various odd jobs for the Lord, such as gardening or painting, and to use this opportunity as cover, allowing them to investigate the property and plan a way to get inside without being caught. The Teardrop must be taken that same evening, before the Lord embarks on a journey.
After Mutch finishes the briefing, Necross decides to confront an elf sitting off to one side. The elf does not look pleased and tells him to leave. The party decide to head home for the night, although Valster decides he wants to grab one last mug of ale and sits near the bar.
The Night Assault
On the way out from the tavern, Necross hears the sudden scream of a woman in the distance. Asking if his colleagues heard the scream, he runs off up the street. Arrador calls back to Valster to come join them and the three head after Necross. As they get close, however, a crossbow bolt flies out of nowhere and hits Necross on the side of the helmet. The party duck for cover around him and to check if he is ok. As it happens, the bolt glanced off his helmet and he is unscathed.
Arrador tries to sneak further up the the street, in the direction of the rogue bolt, moving as silently as possible. Suddenly he spots another bolt speeding towards him from a side alley and attempts to evade, but bolt catches him in the stomach, impaling him. Blood gushes from the wound as Arrador collapses back in pain, desperately trying to manoeuvre himself in to a position of cover against the nearest wall, away from the alley. With blood pooling on the cobbles, Arrador tries to heal the wound magically, but the pain is unbearable and his magic fails him. He can smell death, his own.
The sorcerer, Necross, bravely runs up to him, staying close to the wall, and begins using his own magic to heal the horrible wound. In the chaos, Malachai hears the attackers around the corner and readies himself for an imminent attack. Valster draws and cocks his crossbow and takes aim. The atmosphere is tense.
Arrador and Necross, together, manage to heal the wound and staunch the flow of blood. The bolt is slowly pushed from the wound as the elf’s flesh knits together.
Healing completed, Necross glances around the corner and spots the attackers. A tall grey-skinned orc, wielding a crossbow, with a mighty claymore scabbarded across his back, takes aim at Necross' face and fires. The, incredibly lucky, sorcerer manages to pull away, just in time, as the bolt shatters against the wall where, moments earlier, his face had been.
It all happened so fast, yet he still managed to see two other figures, one carrying the unconscious form of a woman. Glancing around the corner, once more, Necross sees Orc drop his crossbow and run straight at him, the enormous sword in hand. Thinking quickly, Necross casts “Dragons breath” and spews forth flames from his mouth, hitting the left arm of the orc directly. Screaming in pain and anger, his flesh melting off his bones, he attempts to grab his claymore, but trips and falls just as Valster fires a bolt into his leg. The orc collapses to the ground near Arrador who draws his dual daggers and leaps on the orc, stabbing both directly into his chest. The orc takes his last breath and expires.
Necross rushes down the alley, finding the woman seen carried by the mysterious figures, lying in a crumpled heap on the cobbled street. It was Trinny, slowly bleeding out from a slit throat and on the verge of death.
Immediately, Necross casts spell of healing on the young woman, which instantly begins closing the wound. With time being of the essence, he picks her up gently, and carries her over to the others. The woman’s injury does not prevent the party from looting the orc’s corpse before they move her back to The Three Heads.
After laying her down in a back room of the tavern, Des thanks Necross and promises him free ale for life for saving Trinny. Bonus! Now worn out and exhausted, the friends head off home to get some rest.
Apologies for the long post to follow but I finally completed Part Two of Session One.
Chapter Two: The Investigation
The next morning the party arrived at the Manor of Lord Bastonvar. They were greeted at the gate by two Armed Guards who let them enter the grounds once they had explained that they were there for work.
The Manor itself was a tall, gothic looking building surrounded by beautiful gardens, further surrounded by a high wall. The large and ornate front gate serves as the only entrance and exit.
Upon arrival, the party is met by Rourke a well built, yet elderly man, who instructs them to perform various tasks in the gardens. After giving detailed instructions, Rourke left the party and headed into the Manor.
Almost immediately, Necross decided he wanted to begin investigating the Manor grounds. The party talked him out of heading directly to the front door, so Necross walked around the building looking for ways to enter, or anything else of interest. Arrador decided to walk close behind him, just in case he got himself in to trouble, while Malachai and Valster stayed behind continuing with their work, deciding to investigate from a safer distance.
Necross and Arrador walked around the Manor, peering into the windows for clues or any advantage to obtain entrance later. Eventually, they had completed a lap of the property and were back were they began, at the rear of the Manor. The beautiful, manicured was complete with an ornate fountain, a pathway lead to three doorways. Arrador called out for Necross to go back to the front where the others were, but he insisted that he wanted to investigate through one of the doors.
After careful deliberation, Necross decided to enter through the left door, however, as soon as he reached out and grabbed hold of the massive bronze handle and pushed the door open he triggered an alarm.
WAAAAAAAAAAAAH! An extremely loud noise echoed throughout the Manor and Gardens. The door was magically warded by an alarm. In the confusion, Necross peered inside just long enough to notice that he stumbled into the training room, complete with weapons lying across the tables. In the middle of the room Rourke stood startled by the intrusion, which soon changed to anger and, angrily, he ran up to the surprised sorcerer, demanding, "What are you doing here?"
Quickly, Necross explained that he was done with his work. Rourke looked at him, confused. "Your work only just started! Not even 15 minutes ago!” with dazzling speed, he threw a punch at Necross, sending him flying backwards. "Get back to work!" he yelled.
Cowed by the experience, Necross and Arrador returned to the others, Necross explained what he saw and the party began devising their break in plan for that night.
The Break In
That night the party went back to the Manor house of Lord Bastonvar, their plan was to climb a tree growing next to the large wall surrounding the property. After an easy climb, they began dropping down in to the large grounds. Malachai and Arrador were quickly up and over the wall. Suddenly, there was a loud snap and a crash as Necross fell to the ground. The branch he had been straddling had snapped from his weight. Now wary, the party quickly hid in nearby bushes and waited, in the dead of night, for any nearby guards that may have heard. Sneaking around to the back, they made an attempt to pick the lock of the central back door. Valster, however, was still waiting on the other side of the wall, as he was struggling to grab hold of a branch due to his short stature.
After waiting a moment, with no guards in sight, the party regrouped. Valster finally made it over and joined his comrades near the back door of the Manor. Malachai, knowing more than the rest at picking the lock on doors, moved towards the door and attempted to pick the lock. Success! He pushes the door gently, and all held their breath in anticipation, as the double doors swung wide revealing darkness inside. Malachai lit his lantern and the party equipped their footpads to help conceal any noise from their foot falls from anyone inside.
Quickly they started exploring the areas around the Manor, moving from room to room, but find very little of interest. Strangely, they party finds not a single person. Along the walls are small, feint lights that help guide them in the darkness. At a door, slightly ajar, the party stops. It appears to lead to the main living area and a light inside illuminates the room, however, the party struggles to see what, if anything is inside without giving themselves away.
They turn back to explore a library momentarily, but move back to the door after discovering nothing of interest. From the doorway, Malachai peers inside, noticing a candle burning, a stairway leading up to the first floor and a foot sticking out from behind a couch close to a fireplace. The party moves silently into the well-appointed room but are surprised to find that the owner of the foot is laying, dead. It is Rourke, the man that gave them their individual jobs earlier that day.
After looking around the room, Necross looks up at the stairs and proceeds to take a step up. Just then, a giant hound, the size of a horse, leaps out at him snarling and gnashing its teeth wildly. Narrowly missing Necross, spraying him with saliva, the creature is very aggressive, with a look of menace in its eyes.
Readying themselves for attack, the party draw their weapons; Malachai slashes at the beast, cutting it deeply just as Arrador fires an arrow from across the room, striking the hound true, in its massive head. The hound yelps in agony but the pain only serves to anger the hound further. Again Malachai attacks the hound, this time slashing across its back with his dagger as Necross intones his Wrack spell which strikes one enormous leg. Crumpling in pain as the spell surges through it the poor beast tries to attack back, but in vain.
Valster fires a crossbow bolt into its leg, and the beast collapses to the floor, unconscious. Malachai walks over to it, places his dagger to its throat and ends its life.
Breathing heavily, but uninjured, the party move on past the hound and back up to the first floor. Necross walks into a nearby room and immediately spots the body of Lord Bastonvar, lying in a bloody pool, next to his large bed. Espying a small lockbox on a nearby table, he goes through Lord Bastonvar’s clothing, finding a key on a chain around the dead lord’s neck. After removing the key, a grim task, he unlocks the box, and opens it. It is filled with jewellery and silver coins, but this is not what he is most excited about. In a black velvet bag he find the object of their search, the Lady’s Teardrop.
Necross is holding the bright blue tear-shaped gem in his hand when the rest of the team enter the room.
Excited by the find, the team takes a moment to congratulate themselves, only to find Necross enthralled in the depths of the gem stone, a strange light gleaming in his eyes...
This past Saturday, the group finally met for the second session of the Dyvers campaign. We meet monthly but then play extended sessions of approximately 6 hours or so. Went really well, as we are all becoming more fluent with the rule system.
I highly recommend Mongoose Publishing's Legend system for those of you looking for an alternative to D20 systems.
We, finally, managed to run Session 4 of my ongoing Dyvers campaign (Black Hearts in Dyvers) this Saturday past. I am using the Mongoose Publishing's Legend system and things are progressing well.
The PCs have turned in to budding heroes ... originally thief newbies in the Alliance guild. They couldn't seem to help themselves from rescuing a maiden in distress and accidentally discovering an insane sorcerer's crypt beneath the city. They managed to kill the sorcerer but one of the group (the dwarf Valster) fell to his fell magic.
The new PC is an Acolyte in the mysteries of The Shalm (from the Gnarley) - he managed to meet the group and was hired as a Guide, as the PCs now need to procure an item for the Dyvers' Sorcery Guild - as payment for identifying a magic ring they found in the Sorcerer's crypt.
In the background, I have been running the Slavers module by SKR and Pramas. The PCs have only superficially been interacting with the module, however. I am going to scare the crap out of them by having them trip over the caverns of Blackthorn.
The sessions have been so much fun and have really rekindled my love for Greyhawk.
Initially I was running the Slavers module far in the background, with the PCs only occasionally coming in to contact with a kidnapping or whatever. The main reason was that the PCs started out as newbie rogues of the Alliance.
The idea was to have the PCs slowly uncover the plot and realize that the Slavers were in cahoots with the Alliance in Dyvers and explore the morality of that situation. My players foiled my plans to a degree by acting decidedly heroic - rescuing a bar lady mid-kidnapping, and investigating a rumour which led them to the crypt below the city where they encountered the insane sorcerer.
We only play monthly so I try to pack quite a bit of a punch in these sessions, in terms of action hence the owl bear bursting out of the forest at the end of the session.
I also inserted Ruja (Markessa) into the party as a NPC and can't wait for that to play out
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