The Goodman Gang in The Mysterious Tower
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  1. #1
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    The Goodman Gang in The Mysterious Tower

    Dungeon Crawl Classic #3
    The Mysterious Tower
    Level 3-5

    Playing Goodman Games Modules only, the Gang are now up to Level 3 and are on their 7th scenario to date, in which they visit "The Mysterious Tower" in search of answers.




    Dungeon Crawl Classics #0 Legends are Made, not Born
    An Adventure for 0 Level Characters


    Here follows another story hour, my main game- you can catch the party of newbies I DM at The Lost Boys Vs. The Sunless Citadel (see below) however, go on, you might like it. Unlike that game the players here are much more mature, at least in years and experience. Therefore the language and topics in places may, or may not, get a little fruity. I have, however, at all times, done my best to make sure it is suitable for almost every ear.

    Read on…

    Turn 1

    In the beginning was the word, and the word was… Bugger.

    The county of Lincornshire, home of the Yellow-Bellies, or as they’re sometimes known, the Imps, a mischievous folk that mean you no harm, providing you pay them their dues and then bugger off sharpish, else they’re likely to knock you into early next week, steal all that you own, and micturate in your hat for good measure. Salt-of-the-Oerth then, gentlefolk.

    The Merry Riot Inn, Lowth, outside the rain lashes down, inside the only noise, although the place is packed to the rafters, comes from the logs spitting and crackling in the fire.

    Cue atmosphere.

    Lord Duncan Merriweather, the Mayor, a fat man, in fact nearly enough for two fat men, steps into the circle of expectant faces, he’s eating a pie.

    “It is time. Chomp-chew. Enough. Chew-chomp. We cannot stand idle, chew-chomp, as this creature destroys our village. GGGGulp… our lives.”

    The Mayor stares hard at the empty faces of the gathered folk; his eyes linger on the families of Ginger Barley and Pop Stokes, the victims of the Ogre’s vicious attack earlier today. The families have chosen, this evening, to sit together, which is particularly apposite as Ginger’s wife is Pop’s brother- you work it out, we’re in the sticks now. Goober Stokes dabs his one big eye, while Lillybeth-Jinny-Anne-Sue Barley rubs her stump.

    “It is time to fight back. Chew-spit-choke.”

    None of them can meet his eye, mainly because of the fountain of lard and crumbs that is raining down upon the hushed crowd.

    “For years we have paid tribute to this beast, Gargle-Gulp, even when times were hard- we found a way CHOMP to keep it fed and watered, for sheep and ale was all it wanted…BURRRRP then. But now the creature has become grasping, it craves our gold, and now… PARRRRP, strangely it wants wood and nails- building materials, although Pelor knows what it is GGGulp- that’s better, constructing, or why.”

    He raises his arms; they’re like the horns on a space-hopper, he’s about to make a point.

    (See below for Space Hopper image)

    http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?im...3D10%26hl%3Den

    “And now the beast asks for CHOMP flesh, human CHOMP flesh.”

    The Mayor scans the room, cradles, jiggles and smoothes his flabby folds.

    “And what we would not give, it took. GUUUUUULP”

    He’s finished his pie. He looks again at the forlorn families.

    “It is time to fight, UUUUrp-sorry, back. I have assembled a group of brave souls to deliver our message, once and for all, to the bloody fiend. And that message is… FARRRT, and Death.”

    The crowd stirs, begins to look around, an armoured figure steps forward, strides to the Mayor, turns to the masses and bows low.

    The Mayor continues.

    “Lord Casimir La Frond will lead the group.”

    The armoured figure bows again, smiles.

    “Hello, I’m Lord Casimir, I’m a Gemini, and quite a catch- no seriously, Ogre-“

    He makes chopping motions with an imaginary sword.

    “Is over. Call me Cas. Call me anytime… Laydeees.”

    He licks his lips, then flattens his eyelashes, all with his tongue, then winks at the damsels in distress.

    The villagers know him well, a clean cut and handsome young man, capable, if a little rash- like chicken pox, he gets around; a little, how best to put it- forward. Brave enough when farmer’s daughters are on hand, but enough to face a giant down? Some of the villagers applaud; many more keep their own council, particularly Tarrik (see later).

    Cas edges just out of the firelight, swings round to show off his better side.

    The Mayor stumbles on.

    “Jim Bowen will help to lead the way. Jim.”

    A cloaked young lad, just out of his teens, a rough and ready look to him, strides into the light and to the Mayor, shakes his hand, half-nods to the crowd, and edges back into the shadow.

    The Mayor turns back to him, “Do you have anything to add?”

    Jim shakes his head, trying to hide the burning flush that scars his face, he tenses, a drip of wee snakes down the inside of his farm-boy pants. He shakes a leg and then settles- head down.

    The mayor turns back to the crowd.

    “Bec will add his strength.”

    The crowd parts as a gurning giant strides forth, foaming tankard still in hand, settles next to the Mayor, glugs his drink, wipes his mouth and in the process soaks the front of his jerkin with the tankards contents.

    A smattering of laughter, not cruel, but caring. The giant, Bec, grins.

    “Wet now.”

    He mumbles and, with Jim’s help, shuffles backwards, out of the light.

    “Can I have sandwich?”

    Jim nods and places a calming hand on Bec’s arm.

    The Mayor goes on.

    “Anya’drea will of course provide much needed arcane experience.”

    A tall, and stunningly beautiful, woman silently steps forward, swoony-music begins, her red hair aglow in the firelight, she circumnavigates the crowd- for all to see, to admire. She nods at the Mayor who fumbles in his folds, finds a piece of crumpled paper, goes to eat it- thinks better of it, flattens it out and then reads aloud.

    “Anya is wearing a calf-skin ‘riding’ jacket with ribbed badger lining, her leather dress is by ‘Goat-e-a’- a daring, plunging, design from their ‘Oh Please Mistress’ Collection. Her boots are Dire Rat pelts, bred in captivity- lovingly killed, flensed, cured and stitched to create a shockingly smooth perambulatory experience. Anya’s jewellery is from the ‘Spangle-Dangle’ Collection from Ratners- for Rats and Rings the best bite in town, be sure to snap them up. Ahem. Hair and make-up by the famous Gnome coiffeur Damp Squib. I give you Anya…”

    Anya twirls some more and then, without a smile, or trace of pleasure, passes on to join the others, the music ceases.

    A smattering of applause, the odd wolf-whistle. The noise soon dies down.

    “And lastly, to complete the valiant group, ahem… Newt.”

    A young Gnome barges his way through the sea of legs and into the spotlight, he turns bows low to the masses, and then round to the Mayor, flips a shiny gold coin in the air, it disappears, he strides over to the Mayor, puts his hand out- the coin reappears high above him, it plummets, he catches it and whips it out of sight- he settles into a lazy grin, and when the Mayor turns away presents his middle finger to the fat fool.

    “Good riddance.”

    The Gnome turns to face his audience, his right eye twitches; he scans the crowd, his mouth a snarl, till he spots the bringer of bad tidings- Kerwin, a weasel of a man, the proprietor of Kerwin’s Outfitters, an overpriced general store.

    Kerwin knows the Gnome, all the members of the village do, it seems everyone in the village has mislaid something or other at onetime or another, the missing items always seeming to ‘turn up’ in the vicinity of the quick fingered Newt. Kerwin has a name for it; he calculated once that he was losing at least 5% of his stock to the miniature crime wave that stands before them, shrinkage- that’s what he calls it, shrinkage.

    “Feckowwwwfyascabbycludger.”

    Newt grins, and straightens his apparel, bows again, winks and is on his way, all the while making a mental note to fleece the fellow on his return, else stab him through his stone heart.

    The Mayor dives on, as the Gnome wraps himself in shadow.

    “And so our brave adventurers are ready to strike, to beard the fearsome Ogre in his foul den…”

    WHUMP

    The door of the Inn lashes open, wind and rain flies in, a cloaked figure steps into the light, the elements seemingly unconcerned with this barefoot child.

    “I will go too.”

    Mischa shrugs the hood of her cloak down; the Elf scans the crowd looking for defiance.

    “The creature deserves to die, it has upset the balance, I will see it done.”

    She pulls her hood back up, the audience watches her every move, then makes her way over to the other adventurers.

    “Well… Good. Six- the six shall head forth… Ahem. But before they go- who will proffer aid to them on their perilous journey?”

    “I have brought these.”

    Mischa steps forward again, in her open palm rest eight blue-black berries.

    “The Witch of the Wood…”

    The crowd collectively suck in air. Mischa continues-

    “My mistress, has sent them- Goodberries, they will each heal a minor wound. We will share them.”

    She passes them out, too late, Bec eats his.

    “Mmmm Jammy-good.”

    Then.

    “Can I have sandwich?”

    The Mayor turns back to the crowd.

    “I have brought this.”

    Old Tarrik One-Arm (that’s why he wasn’t applauding) shuffles forward clutching a ferocious-looking jet back arrow in his hands.

    “It will not break, and it will always find its target.”

    He hands it over, Jim Bowen and Lord Casimir step forward to take the arrow, the Lord relents.

    “After yew, sirrah.”

    Cas bows and admires the cut of the farm-boys pants; Jim nods nervously and takes the proffered arrow.

    “I will use it weeEE...”

    He realises all eyes are on him, he turns away swiftly, his face a rictus grin, his bowels about to cut loose, he shakes.

    The room returns to silence.

    It goes on for a while.

    “Is there no other? These brave men and women are our only hope; do none of you have any other aid you can give them?” The Mayor pleads.

    “Ahem.”

    Kerwin steps forward, “Fifty gold- to spend in my place, a…”

    The Mayor strides over to the weasel man, “A generous offer.” Clasps Kerwin’s hand and pumps it beaming at the assembled masses. The hypnotic jiggle of his bellies momentarily confuses Kerwin, he flounders then finds his purpose.

    “A loan.”
    “What?”
    “I said a loan- 5% vig. Per day.”
    “You can’t be serious?”
    “Of course I’m serious; they’ll all be dead by the mor…”

    The crowd begin to hoot and moan, stamp their feet, gnash their gums, someone fetches a banjo

    “Alright 4%.”

    The noise grows louder, a violin squeals up a storm.

    “3%- take it or leave it.”

    The noise continues but Kerwin contents himself with a close examination of his shoes.

    “Then I will pay your 3% scoundrel- and be swift to open your doors, these younglings have a task tonight.”

    The Mayor turns back to the six brave souls and in the surrounding silence simply states.

    “Remember- Legends are made, BUUUURP not born. FART. Bugger”

    Next Turn- Who’s who?

    Any comments gratefully received… anyone played this one?
    Last edited by Goonalan; Monday, 25th February, 2008 at 07:14 PM. Reason: New Scenario

  2. #2
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    I like the beginning, the style makes for a funny read. The characters aren't bad either, and I'm waiting too see how they will interact with one another. Do you plan to keep up the humorous style throughout the rest of the story hour?

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the commets Tal.

    I'm not sure, I'm a little disappointed with this, I've written up about eight sections so far. The problem is I'm having to force the humour. My other story hour, The Lost Boys, is the story of a game I'm playing with a bunch of newbies, aged 9-12, they try anything. This one is with seasoned professionals, they don't take as many risks, or if they do they're calculated- they know what they're doing. There's some good roleplay, but there's never the feeling that the entire thing could implode at any second, and the awe is missing at times. I'm not saying the players are jaded but the characters, or rather the players, know how to handle most things.

    They work together more, which while obvious, is something lacking in the other story hour- the characters there survive by luck, good dice rolls, and moments of inspiration. These guys have tactics, at times, as I say they know what they're doing.

    My latest thought is to post these sessions as diary entries, short and sweet, each member of the group taking it in turns to narrate a session, which might add some spice to it.

    Lord Cas will be all for death and glory, and a little self-centred.

    Jim will be constantly terrified, that's how he's played, particularly of women.

    Bec will be monosyllabic, and confusing- possibly.

    Anya will be self-centred again, and more concerned with her apparel- at the moment she's the weakest link, character development-wise.

    Newt will be self-centred (again), and rather scathing of Cas- he hates him.

    Mischa will be more eco-friendly, and forgiving.

    I'm not sure, suggestions welcome, I don't want to add things that didn't happen but the action, while good, is sometimes obvious, and as I've said the group is so co-ordinated, with defined roles.

    As I say, suggestions welcome.

    Cheers Paul

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    There's this quote, that in my opinion applies here: "There is no book more boring than a book of jokes." I think that if you pressure yourself to write a funny story-hour it might end up being counterproductive. In other words, perhaps you shouldn't try to force the humour out of it. Some of the funniest moments (in games, movies, books, what have you) happen in situations of great stress / drama / fear. Let the story progress naturally.

    Personally, I don't really like stories that are told from 7 different perspectives, it makes me feel like there are too many lines of thought, and makes it harder to get a good overview of the story. But this is really just my cup of tea, not a scientific opinion .

  5. #5
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    Thanks for that.

    The next update is the character stats, and little bit more, so I'll post that soon, then maybe a few others- see what people (and you) think. I'll lay off the humour, at least the throwaway stuff, see how it goes.

    Thanks again.

    Paul

  6. #6
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    Dungeon Crawl Classics #0 Legends are Made, not Born
    An Adventure for 0 Level Characters

    Turn 2: Who’s who?

    And the players are, basically the Pre-Gen’s from the module, but for those of you without the book.

    “Jim” Bowen

    Human Male Warrior Level 1 (Training to become a Ranger)
    NG HP 10 AC 18 Init +2
    Str 14 Dex 15 Con 14 Int 12 Wis 12 Ch 10
    Saves Fort +4 Ref +3 Will +1
    +1 Battleaxe (family heirloom) +4 d8+3
    Comp. Longbow (+2 Str) +3 d8+2
    Dagger +3 or +3 d4+2
    Armour: Chainmail and Light Wooden Shield.
    Feats: Skill Focus (Trapmaking) & Point Blank Shot

    Skills of note: Climb +4 Craft (Trapmaking) +6 Handle Animal +4 Jump +4 Wilderness Lore +3

    Items of note: Nothing much.

    A shy farm boy who doesn’t like people, or at least isn’t comfy around them, or what he means to say… oh excuse me- Jim heads for a bush. And the fair sex, the poor lad feints away. He will die for the cause (I’ll see to that, DMs note). True and steadfast and with a bladder seemingly the size of a packet of crisps (chips), and always full to the brim. A nervous ninny, except when alone, or with his friend- gah- ‘the animals.’

    Bec

    Human Male Commoner Level 1 (Training to become a Barbarian)
    CG HP 11 AC 14 Init +1
    Str 18 Dex 12 Con 18 Int 11 Wis 8 Ch 9
    Saves Fort +4 Ref +1 Will -1
    Long Spear +4 d8+6
    Dagger +4 or +1 d4+4
    Armour: Studded Leather.
    Feats: Toughness

    Skills of note: Climb +8 Jump +5 Ride +3 Spot +3 Swim +5 Use Rope +4

    Items of note: Climbers Kit.

    Six feet six inches, a brick out-house, as they say this side of the water. Alas, also a sandwich short of a picnic, no fear of head injuries- deals with the right now, little time for reflection, learns by his mistakes, again, and again, and again. Generally point-and-click with a heart of gold, or jam, I forget which.

    Lord Casimir

    Human Male Aristocrat Level 1 (Training to be Paladin)
    LG HP 10 AC 17 Init +1
    Str 15 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 14 Wis 11 Ch 14
    Saves Fort +2 Ref +1 Will +2
    Longsword (Masterwork) +3 d8+2
    Longbow (Masterwork) +2 d8
    Light Mace +2 d6+2
    Armour: Shiny Breastplate & Sparkling Light Steel Shield
    Feats: Negotiator & Dodge

    Skills of note: Diplomacy +8 Handle Animal +6 Knowledge (History) +4 Knowledge (Local) +6 Ride +5 Sense Motive +6 Spot +4

    Items of note: Potion Cure Light Wounds, 3 Flasks of Holy Water, 5 Silver Arrows.

    Ladies love Lord Casimir, and he knows it- actually a clever lad with all it takes to be a Paladin, and with the death of his father, and three older brothers, a true Lord of the Land- only kidding. Content with his lot, and happy to pick up as many brownie points as possible by keeping this gang of misfits together for the big win. Oh Anya though… simply delicious.

    Anya’Drea

    Human Female Expert (Wizard’s Apprentice) Level 1
    CG HP 7 AC 13 Init +5
    Str 10 Dex 13 Con 12 Int 16 Wis 11 Ch 17
    Saves Fort +1 Ref +1 Will +2
    Quarterstaff (The Gandalf 4000 with Lantern crook) +0 d6
    Sling (actually an old pair of her leather panties) +1 d4
    Armour: Leather Armour by Goat-e-a (see previous)
    Feats: Skill Focus (Use Magic Device), Armour Proficiency (Light) & Improved Initiative

    Skills of note: Appraise +3 Bluff +3 Concentrate +4 Craft (Model) +3 Decipher Script +7 Diplomacy +3 Disguise +3 Forgery +3 Gather Info +3 Hide +5 Intimidate +3 Knowledge (Arcane) +6 Listen +4 Move Silently +3 Perform (Vogue) +3 Scry +3 Search +3 Spellcraft +7 Use magic Device +10

    Spells: None

    Items of note: Scroll Read Magic, Detect Secret Doors & Mage Hand (All Level 1); Wand of Magic Missile (Level 1- 10 Charges); 2 Bags of Caltrops; 6 Tindertwigs.

    Beautiful, sometimes cruel but generally just not bothered, except, why isn’t she a wizard yet? Smart as a whip and out to make a name for herself, the latest fashions are her thing, she parades permanently and yet seems not to relish the attention. She doesn’t know what she wants, except to be a wizard.

    Newt

    Gnome Male Expert Apprentice Locksmith Level 1 (Training to be a Rogue)
    NG HP 8 AC 18 Init +3
    Str 11 Dex 16 Con 14 Int 16 Wis 11 Ch 10
    Saves Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +2
    Heavy Mace +1 d6
    Light Crossbow +4 d6
    Dagger (2) +1 or +4 d3
    Armour: Scabby old Chain Shirt
    Feats: Nimble Fingers, Low Light vision, +1 To Hit vs. Goblinoids and Kobolds, +4 Dodge vs. Giants.

    Skills of note: Alchemy +9 Appraise +5 Balance +3 Craft (Locksmith) +5 Disable Device +9 Escape Artist +3 Forgery +3 Hide +9 Intimidate +3 Listen +6 Move Silently +4 Open Lock +9 Ride (Pony) +3 Scry +3 Search +7 Spot +5 Use Rope +3

    Spells: Ghost Sound, Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation & Speak with Burrowing Animals.

    Items of note: Silk Climbing Rope, 10 Tindertwigs, 2 Thunderstones, 2 Tanglefoot bags, 2 Sunrods, 2 Smoke Sticks, 4 Alchemist’s Fire, Thieves Tools.

    A one-Gnome miniature crime wave, his father wanted him to take over the family business, Gingritch Locksmiths, he saw a different opening. He’s also a dab hand with minor alchemical substances. Not evil, more mischievous, in a grand larceny kind of way.

    Mischa

    Elf Female Adept Level 1 (Training to be a Druid)
    NG HP 6 AC 15 Init +3
    Str 10 Dex 16 Con 11 Int 15 Wis 18 Ch 12
    Saves Fort +0 Ref +3 Will +6
    Cold Iron Sickle +0 d6
    Short bow +3 d6
    Armour: Dirty Leather
    Feats: Track

    Skills of note: Balance +3 Concentration +4 Escape Artist +3 Heal +10 Hide +3 Knowledge (Nature) +4 Listen +6 Move Silently +3 Ride (Horse) +3 Search +4 Sense Motive +4 Spellcraft +4 Spot +6 Use Rope +3 Wilderness Lore +8

    Spells Level 0 (3) Cure Minor Wounds, Detect Poison, Flare Level 1 (2) Entangle, Cure Light Wounds.

    Items of note: 4 Antitoxin, Healing Salve (Cures d3- 8 uses) 2 Healer’s Kits, Wooden Flute.

    The Witch of the Wood’s apprentice little is known of Mischa.

    Actually the only real change is with Mischa’s spells, she wanted to be Druid rather than some hanger-on Priest of an Eleven/Nature deity.

    The players know that they need 500 XP to get to first level, either that or they need to survive to the end of the scenario, which ever happens first- although they’re not gaining any complex class-based skills till they make time for training.

    Next Turn- What’s what?

  7. #7
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    While an occasional focus on one characters pov is often fun to read, I agree with Tal Rasha that too much jumping from one pov to the next would be confusing. I have seen authors pull it off, spending one chapter or post, or even just a few paragraphs on one person at a time... even the bad guys!
    In the end it is what you feel comfortable writing that is going to be entertaining . . .
    Also you have to like it or you'll quit and be yet another of those promising SH's that peters out and is a big let down.

    So do what you like!

  8. #8
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    Dungeon Crawl Classics #0 Legends are Made, not Born
    An Adventure for 0 Level Characters

    Turn 3: What’s what?

    We press on…

    After a short session at Kerwin’s Outfitters spending their loaned “aid” on torches, trail rations and the like the six huddle on the porch, watching the rain, to share rumours of what lies ahead.

    “I saw rat bite dog.”

    CHOMP

    “Bite good- dog runoff.”

    Bec starts the sharing.

    The others stare at the giant, dare I say it, moron.

    “How does that fit in with anything, we’re off to kill an Ogre?” Newt looks put out.

    CHOMP

    “Bite good.”

    Bec is certain.

    “Right? What else?” Cas asks.

    “There’s another way into the Ogres cave at Skulltop Hillock.” Anya offers with a look. Mischa nods. “It’s at the rear- a little way up, something lairs there though- something that smells bad.”

    “That’s interesting.” Cas rubs his chin, effects a pose. “I think the back entrance maybe the way.”

    Jim nods, fingers his Magic Arrow, tries to avoid looking at Anya legs, then Mischa’s cleavage, then Anya’s alegs and cleavage, “I could… ah… I could… get that, I mean, I could…the creature” He drifts into silence. The others look on. He starts up again.

    “There’s a… A… There’s… A… Tomb… A tomb… some knight… in there… A Tomb.”

    “I heard that too.” Anya breaks in.
    “Yep.” Newt nods. “Let’s try that way first- see if we can’t sneak up on the big feller, y’never know there might be some gelt in it- the tomb I mean.” The Gnome rubs his hands at the thought of plunder.

    “I see pretty lights.”

    Bec stares off into the semi-dark, the others follow his gaze.

    “Pretty lights in hills… Pretty.”

    The others squint, scan the horizon.

    “Where?” Cas finally asks.

    “I think the operative word is, when… When did you see ‘Pretty Lights’?” Anya cuts through the confusion.
    “Other night… Sometime… Lots.” Bec finishes.
    “I have… I have…too, lights in the hills… too.” Jim adds squirming.

    Newt stares hard at Cas, “Can we concentrate on matters in hand.”
    “Yes, perhaps we should.” The paladin replies.

    The rain is beginning to ease up, fireflies buzz and dance beneath the near trees, there are still lights on in the village.

    “Is there anything else we should know?”

    The others think about it a while, Mischa breaks the silence.

    “There’s a chimney, in the stone skull at the top of the hill- I’ve seen the smoke, we could get in that way, at least a little one could.”

    Newt shrugs. “I’m game.”

    Anya interrupts, pushy.

    “They say the creature is as strong as any ten men, his club can crush a man’s skull with a single blow. It would take a very brave man to stand up to the fiend.” Anya looks up from checking her nails, changes her stance to reveal a yard of leg. “The question is- is there a man brave enough?”

    Anya scans the party.

    Cas licks a finger and smoothes his eyebrows, trying to find a jaunty angle to rest his hand upon his sword. Jim pulls at his crotch area, crosses his legs and gurns. Newt fiddles with something, distracted, finally looks up- unsure of what has been said. Mischa dismisses Anya’s gaze, hides deeper within the folds of her hood. Bec claps the air- and a firefly, sniffs the wreck of the creature, now paste in his hands, he licks the spot then grimaces, then licks it clean.

    “Can I have sandwich?”

    They ignore him.

    “Tarrik lost his arm. To the giant… some time ago.” Cas adds still staring hard at Anya, she favours him a look. The others watch on till,

    “Right, anything else?” Cas asks.

    “They also say that the Ogre is in league with our good Mayor Merriweather.” Anya suggests, she likes to stir the pot.

    “No. No, I mean. Surely not. What would he…” Cas stumbles.
    “Money.”
    “Where?” Newt’s back in the room, and all ears.
    Anya shakes her head and tuts at the foolish Gnome.

    “My dad took on a Dwarven carpenter, Durbin, to fix the roof- he just upped and left, no payment, no nothing- he had a lovely set of ladders I had my eye on.” Newt drifts off.

    “Right.” Cas is about to finish up, his big speech, he strikes a pose- aiming for the thinking man, with a hint of the thinking woman’s draught excluder.

    “What we do know is that this can’t continue, the creature was content to take our beer, and our food- tribute it said. Alas things have changed, with the death of Ginger Barley and Pop Stokes things have come to a head. We know where the creature lives- Skulltop Hillock; we know a secret way in, maybe two, if the chimney works out. And if the Mayors right then there’s a good chance the creature will have had his fill of beer, poisoned beer- his reactions should be slow.”

    The would-be-paladin looks about him, stands on tip-toes, to give himself that extra presence.

    “This is our chance, for ourselves, for the village, for Ginger Barley and Pop Stokes- we owe it to them. We should go now. Who’s with me?”

    He eyes his audience, in unison they nod, stitch on their most determined faces, except for Jim-

    “Wooolves… WOOOOlves, inthehills.” Jim half-balances on the edge of a table one hand grasping his crutch.

    “What?” Anya stares at him, leans in close. “What are you saying? Is he alright?”

    The others form a tight half-circle so as to guarantee Jim no privacy.

    “Is your leg ok?” Anya touches it, just above Jim’s knee.

    Instantly a dark stain spreads towards her hand, the woodsman blossoms red and half-sigh grins.

    “Yesssssssssss.” He adds.

    The others leave sharpish, and so to no-one Jim restates. “I said there are wolves in the hills, we ought to be careful.” He straightens up, eases his pants away from his skin and frog-like crouch-walks off the porch.

    Approximately twenty minutes later the group have crossed farmer’s fields and ditches and are at the edge of the woods.

    They stand there, looking back at the village, a final farewell.

    “Funny?” Mischa notes.
    “What is?” Cas asks.

    Mischa points, the others follow her gaze, in the distance a building in the village seems to be outlined by a red furze.

    “What do you think it is?” Cas wonders.
    “Fire.” Newt states, “I mean… probably.”
    “Should we go back- see if they require assistance? Where do you think it is? I pray it’s not the church?” Cas wobbles.
    “It’s Kerwin’s.” Newt states, “I mean… probably.”

    They turn to stare at the Gnome.

    “You didn’t?” Cas is furious.
    “No, I didn’t. I was here with you- remember.”

    Newt turns and wanders into the woods; the white of his teeth reflects the scant light- he’s smiling.

    Next Turn- The Smelly Back Passage.

    You might think I’ve gone for the cheap gag but the above is, more or less, exactly how it played out- blame my players, who are incidentally all 30+ years old but obviously, Jim, enjoy playing the giddy-goat (fool).

    Any thoughts?

  9. #9
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    Dungeon Crawl Classics #0 Legends are Made, not Born
    An Adventure for 0 Level Characters

    Turn 4: The Smelly Back Passage.

    The rain has eased up, a waxing moon illuminates the way through the woods, shadows everywhere, the torch lit procession soon finds its way through however. The eagle eyes of Newt, and in particular, Mischa, who knows the route, have not led them astray; the pair’s low light vision, even with the flaring torches, can pick out detail at a hundred paces.

    Two miserable hours later the six sit, crouch, and stand in the lea of a copse of trees observing what Mischa says is the rear of the Ogre’s den.

    “Where is it?” Cas scans the hillock again.
    “Wait.” Mischa counsels.

    They wait, in silence, except for Anya who awkwardly scrapes mud from her Dire Rat skin boots. “These are ruined.” She states to no-one.

    “I can’t see anything.” Newt moans.
    “Wait.” Mischa simply states.

    Dusk approaches, and with its approach signals feeding time for the bats. A dark spiral of the creatures erupts from a crag forty feet up the side of the hillock, no more than two hundred feet from where the adventurers watch.

    “See.” Mischa scans her compatriot’s faces, and then quickly and quietly, sets off for the crag.

    Two minutes later they have reached the hillock, gathered in silence.

    “Wait.” Mischa tags Jim’s arm, he spasms at the touch- then relaxes a little, the two crouch down and shuffle forward.

    “I’m beginning to see who’s in charge.” Newt states staring hard at young Lord Casimir. The would-be paladin smiles back, feigning indifference; there’s nothing else for him to do.

    At the base of the hillock Mischa and Jim circle.

    “See. Here.”

    The Elf falls to her knees, strikes a pose like some four-legged beast. She gingerly places her feet and hands into hollow depressions in the dirt.

    “It’s five feet long, quadruped, big- heavy, look how deep the tracks are.”

    Jim grins, all he can see is the young Elf’s twitching rear silhouetted in the moonlight.
    “Mmmm… I… I, ah… I see.”

    “The tracks head up, their fresh, the creature has fed today perhaps. Nevertheless we should warn the others.” Mischa looks up. “It’s an easy climb. I shall lead the way.”

    Two minutes later the group are gathered forty feet up at an opening in the hillocks side, a tear in the rock.

    “I’ll take over.”

    Newt scrambles forward to the head of the queue, braces himself against the sides of the crevasse and heads on in. In a moment he’s gone from sight.

    Inside the dark cave, Newt cautiously, quietly, creeps- tight to the cavern wall, his eyes adjust to the dark, the shaft of light from the crevasse emphasises the shadows that surround him.

    A minute passes. He heads back.

    “There’s a cave, it smells- not good. There’s an opening on the far side, it smells worse - there’s something down there, I swear I could hear something moving- sounds big. Also the ground is soft- funny.” Newt reports back, confirming Mischa’s warning.

    “Onwards.” Cas whispers.

    “Can I have a sand…” Bec starts up, Anya reaches up and clamps her hand across his mouth, she shakes his head- no.

    They head in.

    A minute more and they’re assembled inside, it’s too dark for those not blessed with low light vision, a torch flares, the group take in their surroundings. They’re standing in the centre of a natural cave, a passage heads off into darkness, and lastly, and for Anya most importantly, their standing in six inches of collected bat guano.

    “OH MY GOD. Oh my god. Oh my god.”

    Anya breaks her cool looking for some way to extricate her boots from the mire. She gloops and slops forward, pulling her ruined boots from the wretched slop.

    “Shhhh.” A collective offering.

    “OH MY GOD- d’you know how much these cost me?”

    “Shhhh.” It comes again.

    Bec bends low to sniff at the bats offerings, staggers upright.

    “POO POO.”

    He half-dances into the thickest part. Slips- catches himself, then slips again and is down; hands, hair, face in the slop.

    “POO POO.”
    “Will you keep it down.” Cas hisses.

    Slowly order returns.

    They head over to the exit.

    “Oh my god. Oh my god.” A litany under her breath from Anya.

    The cavern ahead splits two ways, Mischa sniffs, Jim follows suit.

    “The creature’s lair lies to the left.” She simply states.

    Newt struggles to the front again, “I’ll check it out. If I call…”
    “We’ll come running.” Cas finishes off his remark.

    Newt shuffles-squats forward, down the left-hand passage. All is silent for a good while.

    Cas looks at Jim, then Mischa, skips Bec, then Anya- who shrugs and gets back to pushing back an offending cuticle.

    Time passes.

    Then bursting from the tunnel ahead comes the Gnome, at speed, with something large in hot pursuit.

    “AAAAAhhhh. Big skunk- angry, big skunk.”

    The Gnome bowls through the cavern as emerging, hissing into the light comes the enraged Dire Skunk, all teeth and fur, the group quickly fall back as the creature approaches- snarling and spitting as it surges forward.

    All except for Lord Casimir who stumbles and puts one hand down in the mire, he’s left stranded his back to the giant creature.

    At the other side of the cavern Newt finishes his tactical retreat by tripping and plunging head first into the bat guano. That leaves four of the adventurers in play.

    And yet the creature hesitates, content to defend its lair.

    Jim staggers forward hands up. He has no idea what he’s doing, or why, and yet…

    “There, there. Nice skunky. Shhhh.”

    Mischa nudges Bec, who shuffles forward and grabs Cas dragging him up and back to safety. Newt recovers in the background, wipes guano from his face and hands.

    Jim takes a step closer, his eyes locked on the twinkling eyes of the enormous beast, he glances back at Mischa, and then quickly forward, locked onto the beast. Time slows.

    “There, there. We come in…”

    The beast quickly turns, raises its tail, and a geyser of hot skunk piss sprays out, it shakes its flanks and then turns again to see what it has wrought.

    “POOOOOOO POOOOOO.”

    Bec screams like a frightened child, the scent fills his nostrils, his brain- he hurtles forward, away, anywhere; trips, stumbles and thumps into a cavern wall- out cold.

    For Jim the effect is less dramatic, he slowly sags, slumps and then falls flat-out into the mire, bubbles in the guano mark his mouth submerged in the miasma.

    “Kill it.” Cas screams.

    Anya is however first to react, a wand appears, as if by magic, in her hands.

    “LOOK AT MY BOOTS. SMIDGIN”

    A bolt of energy rips from the end of the wooden shaft and thumps into the enraged creature’s face- that’s torn it.

    Mischa is unsure, she grasps her sickle and stands ready lest the creature launch an attack; it was only defending its lair after all.

    Newt quick-draws a dagger and flings it at the creature it misses by a country mile, sinks into the dark, and the gloop, never to be found again- good start.

    The Dire Skunk has had enough; it launches itself at Lord Cas, over Jim- pressing him further down into the stinky gloop. Mischa steps in- swings but merely cuts the air. The beast sinks its teeth into Cas’ arm, blood spurts then cascades, his shield falls into the dirt. Off-balance he swings hard with his longsword but the creature is too close, the blow is ineffective, it bounces off the Dire Skunk’s matted fur.

    Anya backs away, this is not going well and yet…

    “YOU RUINED MY BLOODY BOOTS. SMIDGIN”

    Another bolt of energy streaks forward and scores a hit. The creature staggers and yet is now certain where its enemy lies- it charges forward. Mischa is slow to react, the creature bowls past her and rushes at the Model Wizard.

    Thwang.

    Newt’s crossbow speaks, however the bolt, like his dagger, is lost to the dark.

    The Dire Skunk arrives, at pace, smashes into Anya and snaps its jaws shut slicing through leather, skin and bone.

    “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”

    The creature rears back salivating, makes ready for another strike.

    “NOT THE DRESS AS WELL.”

    Behind the creature Lord Cas swings wildly, misses badly- still staggered from the creature’s initial attack.

    Further behind the melee, Jim lifts his face from the mire, voids his stomach and hearing the screams behind him attempts to gain his feet.

    Anya staggers backwards as the great creature sways before her, in desperation fumbles the wand, reaches into a pocket and gulps down her goodberry.

    Mischa backs away, weaves magic with her hands, a sudden burst of light before the creature as her Flare spell ignites the air. The creature rears up blinded, leaving Newt and the others with a clear shot.

    Thwong.

    Newt’s crossbow bolt buries itself deep inside the creature’s throat, it chokes on its own blood, thrashes wildly- Anya dives again for cover.

    Then Cas connects, his longsword slicing open the creatures flank, it deflates in an instant, slowly sinks further into the filth.

    “Can I have sandwich?”

    Bec awakens.

    Next Turn Beetlemania.

  10. #10
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    Dungeon Crawl Classics #0 Legends are Made, not Born
    An Adventure for 0 Level Characters

    Turn 5: Beetlemania.

    The six sit about, arguing-

    “What did you say to it?” Cas wearily asks the Gnome.
    “Nuthin’” comes the reply.

    Jim whispers to Mischa, which is proving difficult to do, he and Bec stink to high heaven, nobody wants to get too close to either of them.

    “How did… did he… did he speak to it?”
    Mischa is quick to reply. “The Gnomes have the ability to talk; no, that’s not it, communicate with many burrowing creatures.”
    Jim nods, confused- it’s a default setting.

    “You must have said something.” Cas implored.
    “Nope.”

    Newt and Cas settle into a staring competition.

    “Oh my god. Oh. My. God.” Anya provides background noise.

    Mischa continues to do her rounds, there are wounds to be healed.

    “Poncey fecker.” Newt mumbles.
    “What?” Cas stares hard at the Gnome.
    “I said nothing.”

    “Leave him.” Anya interjects, “what does it matter now what he said?”
    Cas shrugs, staggers off and leaves the Gnome alone.

    “Oh. My. God.” Anya again, although there’s something about her voice- a revelation?

    The would-be-paladin quickly-turns, “what is it?”

    “Well look at this… if we cut here, and here…” Anya makes chopping motions over the dead Dire Skunk’s carcass, “then we’ll have enough hide for a dress, maybe even a poncho… I mean it stinks now, but we can fix that.”

    Mischa has heard enough, “you would slaughter this proud creature just to make… a poncho?”
    “No sweetie. I slaughtered this beast because it got in my way, sorry OUR way, and as I remember it was that Flare of yours that finally did for it. The poncho’s just a bonus.”

    Mischa spins round, defeated, strides across the room and bumps into Jim’s chest. Without thinking he snakes his arm around her shoulders, and gingerly pats the spot between her shoulder blades, a trail of warm wee coils out from his left trouser leg- merges with the bat faeces, what the hell, he isn’t going to smell any worse, he plasters on a triumphant grin- head thinks, girlfriend.

    Five minutes later, his arm still slightly numb after the creatures attack, Cas points at the tunnel exit, makes a sign for silence. Newt skips forward and on, the others follow, Anya toting her soon-to-be poncho.

    They head left into the Dire Skunks lair, and it’s as simple as that, one stinking corner a toilet, another with bedding, all around the faint ammonia stench, both in the room, and on Jim and Bec.

    “No treasure.” Newt is disappointed.
    “What did you expect, a ruddy chest?” Cas is still angry it seems.
    Newt turns away and silently mimics the Lords words, like a child.

    They back out and head off on the right-hand spur, the cramped tunnel, for some, only six feet high and five wide, curves round to a crude stone door on the right, then plunges on, there are lights ahead, a pair of them bobbing too and fro.

    Newt goes to investigate but is held back, Cas grips tight his arm.

    “You two. Be careful.” He nods at Mischa and then Jim, they sneak ahead.

    “What about the door then?” Newt nods towards it.
    “Shhhh. Have patience, not yet.” Cas replies.

    The Gnome kicks a stone and shrugs into the shadow.

    Ahead a much larger cavern, the drip of water to the left, also Mischa spies two possible exits, one left past the water, one straight ahead. Stalactites and stalagmites dot the floor and ceiling, some immense. Between them wend three pairs of flashing lights.

    “Wha…” Jim begins.
    “Fire Beetles.” Mischa finishes whispering.

    She nods for Jim to follow, scuttles into the chamber. Jim follows, after first drawing his bow and setting in place his magic arrow.

    The first beetle catches a whiff of Jim approaching, thinks Dire Skunk, and beetles off, the second the same, the third however does not make the connection, it skitters and rattles over, it’s jaws snapping open and shut. Jim draws a bead on the approaching monster, time to be a hero, draws the string as far back as he can.

    Fwung-g-g-g

    The arrow flies three feet, ricochets on the cavern floor, and then careens off into the darkness.

    CRACK.

    Jim’s bow snaps clean in half.

    The Fire Beetle closes in on Mischa, ready for the kill.

    Clunk-scree.

    Mischa’s sickle digs a furrow in its carapace, to no effect; its jaws snap shut just missing Mischa’s leg. There’s no use for it.

    “HELP.” She screams.

    The beetle lunges again as the others come running, misses again, the other two beetles it seems have found the courage to join the fray, they clatter over. Mischa stabs again this time slices air.

    Jim drops the remains of his useless bow and steps in swinging his battleaxe.

    CRUNCH

    Smashing the creature where it stands- one down.

    Lord Cas charges in, takes in the scene, spots the nearest threatening beetle and continues his charge to intercept, the beetle redoubles its efforts, the two meet in a horrendous smash. Cas swings high and wide, and off-balance is mown down by the beetle, under it he sways and shrugs as the creatures jaws snap open and closed inches from his face.

    Thank heavens for Bec following close behind, his spear lances out and down.

    CRUNCH.

    Through the creatures carapace, and through its body, stopping only for the caverns stone floor- between the squirming would-be-paladin’s legs. Bec, in one swift motion, levers the beetle up into the air and swats his spear sideways, flinging the dead beetle off into the dark. Just in time for the final beetle to arrive. Jaws agape it sprints the last few feet aiming for Bec’s leg.

    CRUNCH

    The spear comes again impaling the thing mid-stride; it kicks air for a second and then expires.

    Anya tumbles into the chamber.

    “BEEE Kal. BEEE-KUL. BEE-KiLL”

    Bec stretches down and wrenches Cas back to his feet, the young Lord is short on words, he pats Bec’s arm.

    “A is for ‘a BEEE-KUL.’” Bec states, then for good measure, “Can I have sandwich?”

    Jim searches around in the dark, tippy-toe, trying to be quiet; he finds the jet black magical arrow after a short while, not a scratch on it, which is more than can be said for his bow.

    He heads back to the others, and to Cas, offers him the miserable arrow. Cas smirks, shuffles his own bow off his shoulder and instead proffers it to Jim.

    “I… er… I.”
    “Take it.”

    Cas passes his bow over, Jim awkwardly grins, as Cas clasps his arm.

    “We’re in this together.” The would-be-paladin confirms then winks.

    The six, no scratch that- five, gather again.

    Hang on, where’s Newt?

    “It’s open”, announces a small voice from back down the passage.

    Cas grimaces, the five head back to see what Newt has found.

    Next Turn: Tomb it may concern.

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