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The Goodman Gang in The Mysterious Tower

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
It lacks depth and it's far too disjointed. While there will be an overarching campaign arc it's not something that figures greatly in actual play, therefore I have to superimpose it later, same with character development. The Lost Boys is easy and fun to write, they're that silly- really. The Lost Boys are also more memorable, for me at least, The Goodman Gang (the players) know the rules and how to make the most of their spells, abilities etc. although they're a little head-on at times. The players want to play D&D, the dice rolling game, not hang around in bars and develop their characters, it's a ludology vs narratology debate, the Goodman Gang play because like what they can do, and love the gameplay. The Lost Boys have really very little idea of what the rules are, or their characters full potential, so they overcome the various encounters by shouting as much as stabbing, they've no fear- try convincing a gurning twelve year old that Grand Alf will probably not last long against the assorted Goblins if he tries to "punch them out", or that the Paladin is a fearless warrior and shouldn't, probably, shout "run away", or, "leggit" every other encounter. And the Lost Boys argue, with each other mostly, and while it's frustrating as a DM it's narrative gold because they're making it all up as they go along, and their characters- and their views and opinions, their foibles and and traits are getting bigger and bigger as the game goes on.

I realise that the reason why the Goodman Gang's story sucks, to me, is because we don't have time to do anything else- we meet, we play; by which I mean dive into the scenario, apres a little shopping, the players don't want to do anything else. In game the players talk to each other, it's the only time we see each other, but don't talk in character, or at least very little.

So... I didn't do any updates last week because of time, and because I was thinking of abandoning it for a bad job, I'm not Lazybones, I wish I was though, but prose is not my speciality... which gives me an idea, after this scenario's done (I've already written it to the end), then the next I'm going to try to stand back a little more- we'll see if I can do it. If not I've had another idea for a style change in the scenario after that...

Hey-ho, we'll see.

Thanks for the feedback as always.
 

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Loup Du Noir

First Post
Goonalan said:
It lacks depth and it's far too disjointed.

You've hinted at these feelings quite a lot Goonalan. I'm going to say I think you are flat out wrong. Often times, writers are their own harshest critics, and I think you are suffering from the same thing.

There's plenty of depth in your story. Cas's coming to terms with what it means to be a leader, the relationship between him and Ala, Ala and Newt, Bec's low-key psychosis, Jim's nervousness coupled with his obvious valour, Newt's love/hate feelings towards the rest of the group. All of these characters, I feel, could come to blows over a red cow, and we, the reader, would be both deeply concerned how things had reached this end, and hopeful for a positive conclusion.

As for the disjointedness? These are young people, in dangerous situations. I mentioned before about your use of pacing. I like the quick shifts of focus, moving from character to character. It models both the panicked pace of the situations they are in, and also is a nonintusive representation of the way in which encounters are worked in dungeons and dragons. Yet when the action returns to a more sedate situation, you slow it down, working in more detail as the characters themselves have more time to work in the detail.

You're also commenting on having to make stuff up, fleshing out the skeleton that is made in game. To draw from my own experiences both gming and writing the events, I can tell you that I at least also bulk things up. The thing I try to keep in mind is that I am trying to capture the spirit of what went on at the table, even if I didn't get a 100% accurate retelling - which would be hard, given I usually leave about half a week between beginning the write up, and take up to a week to complete each entry.

It's all good stuff here, Goonalan, and you are doing a smashing job. It's ok that you perhaps aren't fond of the style you are using, and by all means change it if that's the case, but don't put down the style you are using, which is engaging, and effective. It's snappy, it's quick, it's conducive to the web-forum format but it doesn't miss details where needed.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Bloody hell... I mean, Bloody Hell (try it with astonishment).

That's the nicest thing anyone's said in a while, and on the money with the characterisation. Bugger, I'm going to have to write some more.

Honestly, thanks, for taking the time to renew my faith, in lots of things.

Very much appreciated. No really, I mean... Bloody Hell.

Onwards, ever onwards... hope this one's not too bad.

Dungeon Crawl Classics #11
The Dragonfiend Pact
For 2nd Level Characters​

Turn 31: The Diddymen.

“Where now?” Newt squeaks and grins.
Anya stares at the map; she points the way- “there”, she squeaks back.

The adventures head off down the tunnel.

Bec is the largest of the Diddymen, or rather people, just a little over one-and-a-half feet tall; the Barbarian, Jim, and Cas are however bulging with muscles, at least for their size- Anya has managed to successfully cast all three of the ‘Bull’s Strength’ spells they found in the locked scroll case.

Newt, on the other hand, is tiny, a little less than nine inches tall, and weighing well… almost nothing at all.

Anya shimmers, her Mage Armour scroll takes effect.

“Remember silver or magical weapons.” Cas squeaks, then heads on.

Barely has he finished the words when ahead comes the sound of squeaking, and not from any members of the Goodman Gang this time.

“Rats.” Newt warns.

Bec charges into the fray, there are over a half-a-dozen of the rodents, each as big as an adventurer; he swipes wildly, and misses.

Fwung.
Fwung.

Newt fires, catches one of the creatures in the throat, it gargles, collapses, and dies. Anya’s crossbow sings, the tiny bolt lodges in the Rat’s maw; it swallows, chokes, hiccups and turns belly-up. Two down.

“Charge” Cas shouts/squeaks.

The second wave hits- Ala slashes and connects, leaving a bloody trail, another Rat flops down dead. Cas stabs forward, another one bites the dust. Jim charges into another, an over-arm blow with his axe- dead.

Five killed in the brief exchange the other Rats flee.

Fwung.

Newt pegs another; it sinks to the tunnel floor, kicks a while, and then expires.

“It’s not bad… being short.” Newt finishes.

They move on- towards a larger chamber ahead, they can feel the change in the air movement, the muddy tunnels seem to breathe, at least echo with the winds passing.

Anya pushes to the front, her wand ready, eager to get an attack in.

The chamber ahead is only ten feet in diameter, but appears huge to the shrunken adventurers, as do the two Badgers that squat at the far side of it, bristling with anger- snarling, and standing, rather towering, over them the Werebadger, Tarn, back in half-Badger half-Man form. Still wounded and yet much healthier looking than before.

Tarn spots them, notches an arrow and lets it fly, and then another.

FWUNG
FWUNG

The first missile shatters into the stone wall by Ala’s head, the second strikes Cas, but only a glancing blow.

Newt is first to react, he tumbles into the chamber, comes up hidden behind a large rock, dodges into sight and fires; another poisoned crossbow bolt shoots towards the Werebadger.

Fwung

And hits, but it’s only a pin-prick in the creatures matted fur.

Then the poison strikes, Tarn stiffens and then just as suddenly relaxes, much diluted the poison has no effect.

“Kill them my furry fiends.”

Tarn sneers; the Badgers rush to obey.

The furious creatures smash into the front rank- Cas and Anya.

Anya is caught by a flailing claw, blood bubbles to the surface, she dodges hard right and out of the melee- Bec fills the gap, swings hard and leaves a bloody gash on the Badgers snout, the creature instinctively backs away. The second Badger claws at Cas, with the same result- a line of blood appears along his forearm

Anya fumbles for a scroll, gets it right, and intones in a whisper- a haze of floating lights appear, circling the giant Werebadger’s head, Tarn shakes and twitches once or twice, tries to clears the fog the Daze spell has conjured in his mind, he fails and is left standing statue silently shaking.

Jim leaps into the fray, swings hard at a Badger, and connects, and yet the creature just snarls some more and launches its counter attack, Jim dodges back, just in time, the giant Badger snaps its jaws shut on empty air.

Ala steps into the fray, slices with all her might, but misses by some distance, the Badger rears up ahead of her, ready to lunge down upon her, pummel her, smash her into the cold stone floor, Cas steps into the gap, swings hard, and splits the beast open- guts and innards tumble out, he dodges back as it deflates and collapses.

He’s not done however; the Paladin dodges past the fresh corpse, and hurtles towards Tarn.

“To the death.”

He cries.

Thwung

A silver crossbow bolt protrudes from the giant Werebadger’s thigh, still dazed; it doesn’t make a sound, nor register the hit.

The second Badger snaps and claws at Bec, full of Rage at its partner’s demise, the Barbarian however is too quick for it, he dodges right and round to the side of the creature, slashes and slices- the Badger finally ceases its struggle and collapses.

Anya fumbles another scroll out, another Daze spell aimed at Tarn, this time however the magic founders, Tarn shakes his head more violently, he’s coming out from under her spell.

“Charge.”

This time it’s Jim who sounds the call, catching up with Cas, Ala swiftly follows in.

The Paladin rushes forward and round-house cuts, his sword strikes a stone on the floor and leaps from his grasp, his momentum sends him tumbling forward, flat on his face, prone before the terrible creature. He struggles to rise, looks up, and up, and up at the towering figure that blinks and comes alive, grins down at the sprawling Paladin, as it looms over him.

Tarn drops his bow and plunges forward onto all fours, sinks claws and teeth into Cas’ back and shoulders, rakes and rips- shreds the Paladin.

The creature stays low to the ground, over the now unmoving Paladin, pressing him down, crushing Cas into the cold stone floor.

Newt scurries forward, crouches behind another fallen rock.

Thwung

He misses.

Bec and Anya lumber forward to meet the seemingly invincible foe, the latter intoning another spell en route, a cold white Ray of Frost lances out and burns a freezing patch into the Werebadger’s side, it hardly seems to notice.

Jim arrives, still charging, rolls under the Werebadger’s swipe and slices, leaving a shallow cut in his axe’s wake. Ala follows Jim in, trying to get to Cas, but is sent scurrying back as the creature lashes out again, she dodges the blow and brings her longsword down on the its clawed hand, another hit, another line of blood- and yet it only serves to further enrage the creature.

A massive clawed hand smashes down and around, thumps into Ala, knocking the wind out of her- leaving her breathless, barely clinging onto her sword, then in the same motion lifts and flings her into the air, sends her flying, spinning backwards, she crashes into the cold stone floor a dozen feet away- unmoving.

Newt presses himself into the stone; his hands shake as he applies another dose of poison to a silver crossbow bolt, he gulps and stares hard at Ala’s crumpled form.

Bec sees his opening, dodges into range and beneath the Werebadger’s thickly furred neck, stabs up and buries half his sword’s length into the creature’s throat; blood spurts out, showering him as he withdraws the blade.

And yet the thing fights on, even as it bleeds, it reverses a little, then snaps its jaws shut on the spot where Bec had just been standing, the Barbarian dances backwards grinning insanely.

Anya points and mumbles; a bolt of force, a Magic Missile, thumps into the Tarn’s side, the Werebadger winces.

Jim leaps in and slashes wildly, nearly over-balances, he catches himself as he stumbles closer, his axe swipe well wide of the mark, and at the last instance dodges back, out of reach, avoiding the creature’s reaction swipe. Buoyed by his non-fatal mistake the Ranger steps into the fray again, axe before him he challenges the fell creature.

“Is that all you’ve…”

And is crunched, a huge clawed hand mashes him into the cavern floor, Tarn reaches down, lightning quick, and bites and gnaws on one Jim’s flailing legs, the Ranger kicks, scrambles and screams and somehow manages to struggle free of the creatures grip- his lacerated leg produces a slick of blood that soaks through his breeches in an instant.

Newt pops up for a second, takes in the situation, “feck”, and then aims and fires.

THWUNG

The bolt hits home, buries itself in the side of the Werebadger’s skull, the creature instantly stops what its doing- looks around, suffers some sort of ‘where am I?” moment, followed by a “who am I?” moment. Then the poison swirls into Tarn’s brain, it shakes its head, letting lose a shower of blood and slather, roars like it’s the end of the world.

“To the death.” It finally whispers, and then grins.

The poison has no effect.

Newt slumps down hard, hidden behind his rock eerie, “well I’m out of ideas”, he intones, but there’s no one there to hear him.

Bec, fortunately, is a lot more single-minded, or stupid, I forget which- he slashes again at the huge beast before him, misses as Tarn shuffles back, a cascade of blood and bile leaking from his wounds.

“Kill it for Pelor’s sake, kill it.”

Anya screams, invoking a god she certainly doesn’t believe in, her voice is steady and yet her hands shake and fumble as she tries again to load her crossbow.

Jim struggles to his feet, drags his axe behind him, the stumbles into a half charge and slashes again, either it’s his vision, or, well… it’s just that Jim’s not that hot when it comes to the toe-to-toe stuff, his blow sails well wide, thung’s into the stone floor almost sending the weapon shuddering from his hands. He stumbles backwards, overbalancing, at the same instant a clawed hand slashes forward; he’s just out of reach.

“Damn.” The Ranger whispers, then, “please… this time.”

Then he spots something, or rather someone, moving, “CAS”, he screams.

The Paladin levers himself up a little, shakes his head- woozy still, and attempts to get his bearings.

The Werebadger follows Jim’s scream, snakes its head down, and spots the Paladin rising, it steps forwards, not back, and brings one clawed foot hard down, slamming into Cas’ chest, crushing him down onto the floor again. Tarn transfers his weight to the back leg pinning the Paladin, ribs crack, crunch and break. Cas wretches and coughs up a river of blood, he flails wildly, no air, no breathe, no last words, almost lost to the dark.

Thwung

Another silver crossbow bolt bites into the Tarn’s flesh, The Werebadger spins back round, the pressure on the Paladin’s chest recedes, blood bubbles from Cas’ mouth as he takes another breathe. Newt slumps against the rock, closes his eyes, remembers to breath, then fumbles to load another bolt, he’s crying.

Thwung

Anya’s shot flies high and wide.

“Damn, damn, damn…” She mutters while trying to slot another bolt into the weapons mechanism, the bolt dances in her hands, she can’t seem to get a grip on it.

Bec rushes into range again, lances his sword forward, then staggers back with the effort, the blade doesn’t even cut the creature’s flesh, the Barbarian dodges but it looks to the untrained observer to be nothing more than a slurred stagger, much too slow, he’s caught by a clawed hand, sent tumbling back, head-over-heals, comes to rest nearly ten feet away.

The Barbarian lies on his back, his blinking eyes trying to focus on something, anything, “I deserve this”, he thinks and then levers himself back onto his feet, stands tall and sucks in a huge lungful of air, he swiftly bends then crouches, stars fill his vision, the blackness between the myriad points of light looks inviting- calm, at peace, “perhaps I can forget now”, he sinks to one knee, sways a little, remembers the cool feel of the stone floor, puts a hand down to renew the memory- he’s sinking.

Jim stumbles forward again, slashes, the momentum of his axe spins him around, on the second circuit the axe connects, bites into Tarn’s leg, and brings the Ranger staggering to a halt, rocked by his own blow.

Tarn looks round and down, to the tiny axe man, the Werebadger meets Jim’s gaze, and grins.

Then pushes off from Cas, crushing the Paladin again, set to launch itself forward to smash into Jim, to finish the job once and for all.

The Werebadger goes nowhere, instead slips and flounders, Tarn looks down and under, to the place where Cas has just sunk his pin-sized dagger, into the tendons at the back of its right leg, it’s a small wound, but it seems to have hit the sweet spot, Achilles would be proud.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH.”

It’s a human voice, and in absolute agony, the giant Werebadger screams.

“feckingSANDWICH.”

Tarn turns forward, just in time to see Bec stab his two-handed sword clean though its right eye, a splurge of gunk erupts from the deflated orb, soaking the Barbarian who still grips tight to his sword.

Then everything stops.

Goes quiet.

The Werebadger blinks its one good eye.

Gulps.

Then again.

But can’t keep it down.

It opens its mouth to a torrent, a waterfall, of blood, bile and worse.

“Nooooooooooo…” Delivered in a soft whisper.

The creature slowly folds, comes to rest on the stone cavern floor- dead.

Silence.

Then.

“ALA.”

A croaked cry, it’s Cas’ voice, and it’s an order.

The Paladin collapses back onto the floor, and closes his eyes.

Next Turn: The Road is Long.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dungeon Crawl Classics #11
The Dragonfiend Pact
For 2nd Level Characters​

Turn 32: The Road is Long.

Newt scrambles over to Ala, in a rush, eager to obey the fallen Paladin, checks her pulse “She’s alright, just out-for-the-count.”

Cas stands up, an almighty effort, he’s a mess, covered in his own blood, he wavers for a second and then quickly falls back down again, “Ow”, the Paladin laughs, searches for a healing vial.

Bec sinks to his knees, again, out of breath- exhausted, Jim staggers over and leans on him, there’s not much keeping him up either.

“We rest.” Cas giggles, a chorus of pops as healing potions are simultaneously uncorked signals agreement.

DM’s interlude- the players at this point were wandering back and forth to the fridge, sometimes, actually most times, returning empty handed- the general consensus went a little like this, “bloody hell that was close.”

“Well, it can’t get any worse.” Nobody looks at Newt, Cas continues to guffaw.
“What’s so funny?” The Gnome enquires.
“Honestly?” The Paladin levers himself up a little, his muscles protest, vehemently, he rubs his still battered leg- trying to get some life into it, then continues, “Honestly, I’ve no idea. Except… Woo Hoo, we did it.” The Paladin chuckles contentedly.
Newt shrugs and heads off to Anya who’s sitting on the floor in silence.

“What’s he so happy about?” He whispers.
Anya squints at the Gnome, “being alive?”

Newt it seems still doesn’t get the joke.

Half-an-hour later and they’re all back on their feet, there wounds have gone, as has almost all of their healing.

“We really need to go to the Church now, or rather later.” Ala confirms.
“She’s right- everyone that’s been bitten or clawed by that monster”, Cas points at the Werebadger’s corpse, which has now transformed into a naked, and immensely ugly, looking man- with innumerable rents and gashes “could be infected.”
“With what?” Newt asks.
“Lycanthropy, it’s a curse as much as a disease turns the victim into one of those.”

They all turn to stare.

Newt checks himself for scratches or bites- there’s not a mark on him.

“Damn.”

He whispers, and then a little louder.

“I hate being small.”

Cas sums up the situation.

“So, we finish this, then go back to the Church of Pelor.”

The others nod, except for Newt, where’s Newt?

“Hey, secret stash.”

Newt stops, what’s he saying, he’s found and opened a hidden compartment in the chamber, and there inside has discovered a pair of beautifully cut emeralds, and now, now he’s telling everyone about it.

Newt’s going soft.

Five minutes later they’ve stripped Tarn’s body and recovered anything that’s worth taking, and is small enough for them to carry- which includes a ring that detects as magical.

Anya unfurls the map, has a look around, and then gingerly points to another tunnel.

“That way.”

They trudge on.

Fifteen minutes later, with only a couple of brief stoppages- squeaks and far off sounds that further warrant caution, but prove not to be dangerous.

The adventurers emerge into yet another large cavern, this one lit by sprays of phosphorescent fungi clinging to the walls and ceiling, which bathe the chamber in an eerie blue light. A slow moving stream bisects the cavern, the water crystal clear and not very deep.

Unless you’re really small.

Oh hang on.

Three moss covered, and therefore slippery, stepping-stones signal the way across.

“Wait.”

Newt perches on the bank- watches.

FWUNG

A large Cave Trout flashes and shimmers out of sight.

“He won’t be back in a hurry. And if he is then it’ll be fish for supper, and breakfast, and lunch, and probably supper again… did you see the size of that thing?”

Cas nods and claps the Gnome on the shoulder.

“Now who’s first?”

Newt shakes off Cas’ hand, grins up at the Paladin, turns and measures out twelve paces backwards, grins again and then launches himself helter-skelter at the river.

“NEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWT.”

A collective response.

SPROING

Newt clears the water by five feet or more. Quickly turns, polishing his magical ring, he unfurls a rope.

“Here catch this.”

Newt throws it over; Cas catches the end as the others grin.

Five minutes later a makeshift crossing place has been created, a harness, and a simple pulley system will hopefully ensure safe passage.

It works well.

Until it comes to Ala.

“I’m not very good at this, I always…”

SPLOOSH

“ALLLAAAAAAA.”

Cas screams.

Bec hauls and Ala appears back at the surface of the stream, she clambers up a slick moss stepping stone.

Behind a silver flash in the water, the Cave Trout launches itself out of the stream, and directly at Ala- it’s obviously very hungry.

SPLOOOOSH

It falls well short.

Bec heaves and drags a bruised and battered Ala across the stream.

The Elf briefly lies on the bank, coughs and splutters a bit, and then through her grin mutters.

“I think I’m getting the hang of this.”

She laughs.

“This way.”

Anya points again to another tunnel, she’s all business.

They head on.

And ten minutes later.

There’s a larger chamber ahead, and…

“There’s something coming.”

Newt dodges back as the tunnel ahead is engulfed in shadow.

CLICK-CLICK.

Anya steps forward.

“FLAME ON.”

A fan of fire engulfs the Giant Worker Ant ahead, all that’s left when the flames subside are the charred stumps of the creatures legs still sticking up, that and a slick crumbling charcoal.

“I hate picnics.”

Jim mutters.

“Quickly.”

Cas waves them on and they dart into another chamber.

There are three exits to the west, and another, on the far side, the cavern floor is littered with piles of rubble, the gaster (back bit) of another Giant Worker Ant disappears into a tunnel to the west.

“Which way?” Cas whispers.

Anya fumbles her map.

“Err… Straight over.”

“Run.”

And they do, or at least the best they can on the loose stones and rubble.

“To the rear.”

Cas whispers at Jim and Bec.

They’re in the vanguard, and three-quarters of the way across when another Giant Worker Ant emerges from one of the other tunnels, tastes the air.

CLICK-CLACK

And then heads on over.

But by this time they’re in the far tunnel.

“Safe.”

Ala breaths again.

Just as the second Giant Worker Ant enters the tunnel behind them and scurries forward to attack.

“Now.”

Cas, Jim and Bec charge into the creature.

Cas dances forward with his longsword, lances out, only to be knocked away by a flailing leg, the Giant Worker Ant is easily as tall as him, and three times as long. Bec however sees his opening and slices and severs the flailing leg, the Ant staggers, attempts to circle away from the three attackers but instead ends up facing Jim, he crashes his battle axe into the creatures head, it collapses.

They head off at a rush, eager to put some distance between themselves and the Giant Ant’s nest.

And yet, another fifteen minutes later, they’ve still not reached the next chamber indicated on Anya’s map, although… strange, there are a number of bobbing lights approaching.

“Another party?” Jim asks.
“What of miniature adventurers like us?”

Newt taps his head in disgust.

“I hadn’t thought of that.”

Ala is watching the lights intently, they’re closer still.

“I think they’re Fire Beetles- no problem, oh hang on. Damn.”

The Goodman Gang get ready for another fracas.

Next Turn: Choker in the pack.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dungeon Crawl Classics #11
The Dragonfiend Pact
For 2nd Level Characters​

Turn 33: Choker in the pack.

FWUNG x lots.

“Let them have it.”

Cas announces.

A wave of arrows and bolts smashes into the lead Beetle, and then another.

It has a slightly scratched carapace, and that’s your lot, they’ve not got their eye-in or so it seems.

“FLAME ON.”

The first Fire Beetle is in range of Anya’s wand- it’s engulfed in flames, momentarily.

It smoulders as it charges through the fire, and towards the wand wielder and her crunchy friends.

“FLAME ON.”

Ah that hits the spot, the result is two inert smoking shells, a third creature, bringing up the rear, quickly turns and scurries off back the way it came, figuring it’ll come back to the bar-b-q later.

WHOOOF

A thick pall of smoke washes over the adventurers and engulfs them in choking black noxious fumes.

“ANNNYA.”

Ala screams in frustration, it’s a good job no one can see the look on her face.

“FORWARD.”

Cas charges through the burning Beetle wreckage.

And where Cas goes the others follow.

Thirty seconds later the sextet are through, coughing and hacking, covered in a stinking awful soot, but they’re safe, and the air currents are blowing the smoke away from them.

“That was close.”

The Paladin comments, the others examine their fresh wounds, every one of them is burnt and blistered, everyone except Cas.

“Come on, let’s keep the pace up.”

Cas rushes forward again.

They others suck in air and trudge after him.

The Paladin’s has not gone far; he’s on the very edge of the sunrods light, when-

BUMP

“What’s that, the tunnel’s blocked, it’s… the other Fire Beetle.”

Cas swings wildly, doesn’t even leave a scratch. The Fire Beetle half turns, then Cas gets it right and slips the length of his longsword into the creatures tiny brain, it shivers momentarily then collapses.

They have to climb over the thing, there’s no other way round.

And two minutes later they approach yet another cavern.

“Wait.”

Ala calls them back, they gather.

“Let’s make sure.”

Ala tends to the wounded, another minor rest break, she gets out her healing kits and does her best to tend to every little scratch, bruise and burn.

Ten minutes later and they’re as good as new.

“Thanks Ala.” Cas smiles.
“It’s what I’m here for.” She grins back at Cas, who it seems has been forgiven.

She stows away what’s left of the healing kits, less than half-a-dozen uses left.

They head into a huge chamber, this one with a fifteen foot wide chasm bisecting it.

Newt, with Anya’s help, fires a crossbow bolt with a Light spell cast on it over to the far side, there’s an exit over there, just like it says on Anya’s map.

Then they investigate the chasm.

There’s a rope running all the way across, an iron spike hammered into both sides, between which the rope sags.

BOING

Jim jumps, startled.

Newt’s over.

Thirty second later Newt has a second rope across, and like at the stepping stones a harness and pulley system has been improvised.

“Ala you first.” Cas smiles, not too much.
“Thanks.” The Elf grabs on to, and then hangs from the rope, hands and legs clutching on.

She caterpillars her way over.

She’s a quarter of the way across.

“You’re doing great.” Cas offers.
“Shut up.” Ala offers back.

She’s half way across.

“That’s it.” Cas tries again.
“I said…”

She falls off.

And Bec, and Newt (ooops) hang on to the rope, prevent her fall.

“Err… People.”

The rope begins to slip through Newt’s hands as he skids towards the edge of the chasm.

“Just keep me still.”

Ala reaches up for the other rope.

The line she’s on suddenly springs and bounces.

“Hey…”

Her beautiful Masterwork Cold Iron Longsword slips out of its scabbard and plummets into the dark below.

“You ba… I said keep the line still.”

Bec’s not moving.

Newt has now got a firm grip of the rope and has anchored himself at the lip of the chasm- he’s going nowhere. Bec and Newt hold the line rock steady.

They’re not wobbling the rope.

They’re about to inform Ala of this when-

“Aaaaaaargh.”

A long rubbery tentacle wraps itself around the line, towards the adventurer’s side.

“There’s something down there.”

Ala goes to point, then realises where that manoeuvre might end.

She nods furiously at the offending tentacle.

“There.”

Jim scurries over, looks down the side of the chasm.

“What the…”

FWOOM-SQUELCH-SCREEEEEEE

His arrow strikes something, something now less happy than before.

The rope suddenly catapults up; Ala wraps her hands and arms around the original line and hauls herself up, grips tight.

“Haul her back.”

Anya shouts.

“Quickly.”

Cas concurs.

Jim leaps to his feet, and with Bec begins to drag Ala back over.

A tentacle, an awfully long tentacle at that, lashes out, wraps itself around Ala’s leg.

SQUELSH-SUCKKKKK

And hangs on.

Then nothing happens for a second.

“Cas, I…”

Then, almost in slow motion, a ripple starts somewhere way down the tentacle and rushes towards Ala.

WHIPPP

She falls.

But only for a second, Newt and Bec take the strain again, as the tentacle adds it’s weight to Ala’s.

“QWickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.”

Newt screeches.

Blood flows from Ala’s leg.

“Cas, Cas please…”

Ala whimpers.

“Jim.” Cas pleads, and then grabs hold of the rope with Bec.

“Newt keep hold. Jim don’t miss. Ready?”

The last to Bec, who nods.

FWOOM

Jim’s arrow flies.

SQUEEELCH

And unseen by the adventurers above the arrow rips a huge chunk of rubbery flesh out of the Choker below them, down in the chasm.

The tentacle snakes off, and away, in an instant. At the same moment Bec, Cas and even Anya haul at the rope, and in less than ten seconds she’s across.

Ala breaths hard, the wind knocked out of her sails somewhat, then casts a spell to heal her wounds.

“We’re not doing that again.” Ala calls across.
“What do you suggest?” Cas calls back.

Anya marches towards the cavern wall.

“Simple really, we set up our own rope, use the wall as a guide, tie on, and haul ass across.”

Two minutes later it’s done.

Newt and Jim are set to watch for the Choker’s return, the next action comes when Cas is half way across, the strange rubbery creature, seeing its prey getting away from it comes gangling out of its lair, and is spotted by Newt, who lines it up in his sights, and, hands shaking, come on you bas… drops his beautiful crossbow into the chasm.

He has plenty to say on the matter.

“EXPLETIVE DELETED” x lots.

The creature rushes on, and then is momentarily lost from sight in a red haze, did I mention a fiery red haze.

“FLAME ON.”

The rubbery creature, almost vulcanized, squeaks and screeches furiously and heads back to its lair- lesson learnt.

Anya hands her crossbow over to Newt.

“I think this is yours.”

Newt cradles his new baby, googly eyes on Anya- he’s in love.

Next Turn: Like a Dragon.
 

Mahtave

First Post
Goonalan,

I will also add my two-cents worth here. I am enjoying this story, please don't stop writing it! It is not as humorous as your other story, but there is still a decent amount of humor in the interactions (I suspect there is a bit around the table based on the write-ups you had mentioned previously).

How close was it to a TPK when the gang met up with Tarn for the last time; sounds like it was REAL close.
 

Loup Du Noir said:
It's all good stuff here, Goonalan, and you are doing a smashing job. It's ok that you perhaps aren't fond of the style you are using, and by all means change it if that's the case, but don't put down the style you are using, which is engaging, and effective. It's snappy, it's quick, it's conducive to the web-forum format but it doesn't miss details where needed.

Just wanted to chime in to second everything Loup said. And to stress that those of us who read this storyhour (or any of the storyhours on these boards) aren't looking for a literary masterpiece (or even the next Robert Jordan). We're looking for an entertaining account of a D&D campaign - and you're providing that in spades.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Thanks for the feedback, I'll keep writing.

Mahtave, as to the TPK they had a way to go, mainly because Newt and Anya generally don't "do" melee. I think the pair had a few wounds from the Rat Swarms but nothing that would prevent them from legging it should the fight go really badly. As for the others, Cas was on 0, Ala stabilised at something like -5, Bec on 2 or 3, and Jim on about 5. It was getting real close, hence the trips to the fridge, my players can consume twice their body-weight when they're in dire straits, someone ought to do a study on it one day.

Thanks again.

And so on we go...

Dungeon Crawl Classics #11
The Dragonfiend Pact
For 2nd Level Characters​

Turn 34: Like a Dragon.

And ten minutes later, via another dark tunnel, the Goodman Gang emerge into yet another cavern, which appears to be… empty.

The floor is dusty, covered with fine rock debris, the west wall glints, more mineral deposits, slick with water and moisture, crystal formations wink and shine in the half-light.

“There’s nothing here, nice walls.” Newt comments.

They head across to the only other exit.

WHOOF

And are suddenly engulfed in flame.

They scatter, Cas and Anya run for the exit, Ala dodges back, Jim and Bec swish and slice… at what? Newt pats the flames on him out. And then a voice, as clear as a bell stops them in there tracks.

“Little dwarves cower before me or again feel my flamey breath, damn that doesn’t work... I mean, feel my flamey breath… again, whatever, you get the gist of it.”

They adventurers look about- who’s talking.

Then they figure it, except for Bec who continues looking, the voice is in their heads.

They’re all burnt a little.

“Where are you?” Cas enquires, aloud.
“What are you?” Ala worries.
“What do you want?” Anya cuts to the chase.

The voice comes again; Bec continues to look confused, searching high and low for the speaker.

“Leave tribute and I will allow you to pass on, one item from each of you. That’s better, that sounded good… fierce… Ohh, forgot to stop talking there, ignore that last bit- hand over the goodies, or else.”

The adventurers grow spikes.

“Missile weapons everyone.” Cas says.

Nothing happens for a while.

Then a while more.

“Leave tribute…”, the voice begins again.

“Run.” Cas suggests, it catches on, the adventurers scarper for the far tunnel.

WHOOOOSH

Another gout of flame, but too late, the Goodman Gang are on there way, and to the far tunnel.

“Now turn and fire.” Cas orders.

Ala spins, bow in hand, arrow notched, ready to fly. Scans the area, her incredible Elven vision spots something, a small something.

“There.” And to make her point she fires, alas her arrow sails wide of the mark, not that any of the others can see the mark.

“What was it?” Jim shouts.
“Like a tiny Dragon.” Ala calls back.

Newt creeps forward, back into the chamber.

WHOOOOSH

He and Ala are once again caught in the flame, although only a little charred this time, the pair dodge back in time to avoid the spells affect.

A tiny Dragon-like creature hovers before them for a second, it has rainbow patterned wings, it’s beautiful, and then it blinks back out of existence.

“Run.” Cas is even more definite, they scarper.

“What do you mean LIKE a Dragon?” Jim wonders as he pelts forward.

There’s a fluttering noise coming from behind them, and it’s moving much faster than they are, the noise of fluttering wings is getting louder, catching them.

WHOOSH

The tunnel is yet again engulfed in flame.

“RIGHT…”

Jim spins and fires, instinctively sighting the now clearly visible Pseudo-Dragon, Blackspine; his arrow sails just wide.

Newt crouches and hurriedly coats a bolt in poison.

Anya points her wand.

“FLAME ON.”

The tiny Dragon is surrounded by flame, and yet there seems to be a void-space, a flame-free pocket, encompassing the creature, the flame dies down and it emerges completely unscathed.

“Magic Resistant, damn.” Anya offers.

“HE-HE.”

The creature’s laughter fills their heads.

“CHAAAARGE.”

Cas hurtles off towards the creature, back the way they came, swishing wildly as he runs, it’s like being menaced by a blender, his blade whirls and slashes all before him.

Bec shrugs, “Sandwich”, grins and follows suit, the others replicate the action.

“Oooo Bugger.”

The voice in their head comes again.

The fluttering wings retreat at speed.

The adventurers emerge back in the like-a-Dragon’s chamber.

“Leave tribute or else more fire.”

The voice is definite.

“What do you want? Who are you?” Cas calls back.

“I am Blackspine, sire of er… Bagpuss the er… Flamey, no, Fiery. I am a mighty Red Dragon sent, no not sent… er… I have decided, of my own accord, to guard this place, to rain down fiery… er… rain, on those that wish to pass. I can be dissuaded only by grand offerings, as befitting my mighty station.”

And then a little later.

“That last bit was quite good wasn’t it?”

The voice inside their heads fades.

“We will leave nothing.”

Jim draws himself up to his full height, strides forward.

“You’re not even a real dragon, pah… Red Dragon, my arse, you’re only like-a-Dragon, Anya says so.”

Jim finishes.

“WHY YOU…”

The voice in their heads is on volume 11.

“Jim, actually I think it is a Dragon.” Anya whispers.
“What?”
“I said I think it is a Dragon.”
“But you said…”

“YOU ABSOLUTE BUGGERS.”

Volume 11 again.

There’s a mad flutter of tiny wings, whatever it is that’s like-a-Dragon is making a bee-line straight for Jim.

SWOOOP

Blackspine swoops.

SAIL

Blackspine sails.

GLIDE

Blackspine glides.

Claws out ready to mess up the impertinent Human’s features, only no one can see it, it’s invisible.

But Newt can hear it.

“DUCK.” The Gnome screams at Jim.
“Where?” The Ranger turns to look back at Newt, slightly confused.

The movement is enough to make Blackspine miss his target, Jim’s face remember, the little dragon flaps heartily trying to arrest it’s dive- climbs a little.

SPLAT

And thumps into the cavern wall above Jim’s head.

“ME HEAD.” The voice is in their minds again.

A ten inch long Pseudo Dragon become visible, on the floor, stunned, only inches away from Jim’s right boot.

Cas slices, rips through a wing, Bec stabs and skewers the creature.

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.”

The feedback squeal finds 12 on the volume dial.

“Please don’t hurt me. Please. I’m a prisoner, that’s it a prisoner, keep going- make it believable, I’ll tell you all I know. That’s got them- suck…”

Cas strides forward, hands up- peaceful, gets to the “O”, of, “OK”, when Bec nudges him aside and swings again.

BLINK

Followed by.

FLUTTER

The Pseudo Dragon disappears and makes a flap for dear life.

FWANG

Newt’s poisoned bolt plunges off into the darkness.

“I said…” Cas starts but Bec just pushes the Paladin out the way and strides past him.

“Tresh-ure.” The mini-hulk points up at a previously unseen ledge, it seems to have a crude nest atop it.

“Bec we can’t hang around, I know you’re pissed off, we’re all battered and bruised…” Ala plays peace maker.

“TRESH-URRRR.”

Bec growls, flecks of spittle spraying from his mouth.

“OK big guy.”

Newt wanders over, as Bec continues to seethe, gets to just below the nest and flings a grappling hook up, it catches first time.

“Tresh-Urrrrrrrrrr.”

Bec calms down a little.

The others give him a wide berth.

“Keep a look out, missile weapons people.” Cas gets back to business, although he glances back at Bec every now and then.

Back on the ground Ala expends more of her healing, the Healing Kits are spent, as are most of her spells.

The cavern is lit up like a Christmas tree, there are over half-a-dozen sunrods flaring, the shadows are all but gone.

A couple of minutes later Newt is back, loaded with goodies. They head back into the tunnel, post a guard while Anya casts Detect Magic, there are plenty of coins, some gems and jewellery, and a pair of magical bracers, and a potion, swiftly identified as Healing, Ala takes it, the rest is for distribution later.

Newt has pocketed a ring, for his troubles, for once though his eye is out, it’s the least valuable piece in the hoard.

They head off again.

“You OK?” Jim asks.
“San-wich.” Bec, half-heartedly, states.

The trek continues in silence, but not for long.

A little more than five minutes later the Gang emerge into another chamber, a little more cautious this time.

It’s huge, and there are no visible exits, at the northern end is a great black altar, a large black tome rests upon it, either side twisting pewter candelabras holding the lit stubs of fat black candles.

Hanging on the wall behind the altar are five human skeletons, arms manacled over their heads, each wears a rusty chain shirt and carries a longsword at its side.

“Whatchamacallit… Saaaaandwiiiiiiich.”

Bec charges.

Although none of the skeletons are animate.

SMASH

He shatters the first.

“BEKKKKKKKKKKKK.” Cas orders.

As the other Skeletons jump to their feet, wriggle from their bonds, and begin to unsheathe their swords.

“Oh Correllon hear my words, banish these foul…”

Ala intones, the four Skeletons are surrounded in a green haze, and in the blink of an eye-

CRACK

Are pulverised in an instant, reduced to piles of shattered bone.

Leaving Bec huffing and blowing, searching desperately for something else to destroy.

Newt is quickly at the altar, Anya in tow; she grabs the book, opens it, begins to read, shrugs once, then closes it again.

“That’s that then.”
“What’s that?” Cas asks.
“It’s Malchor’s diary, your landlord.”
“How do you know?” Cas struts over.
“It’s got his name on the inside of the cover, and… hang on.”

She flops the tome open, skips a few pages and reads.

“I Malchor, supplicant of Crypticus, do hereby swear to rid myself of the sainted, and unbelievably stupid, Lady Arabella, who has usurped my rightful place. I have made my pact and with my Dark Lord in order to rid myself, once-and-for-all, of this pesky child that taunts me daily with her inane blathering, I… Oh nearly forget, get eggs, pay the milkman- does he do yogurt?”

Anya closes the book.

“Satisfied?”

“I’ve found something.” Newt breaks the ice.

And indeed he has, the secret compartment in the altar swings open inside there are some coins- platinum, Newt whistles, two potions, quickly identified as Healing, and a beautifully crafted, and jewelled, Dagger- a silver-blue colour.

“Can I have this?” Newt asks, “please…”, politely.
“Yes.” Cas is on auto-pilot, it was the politely bit that threw him.
The others shrug, or nod, their agreement.

The potions are taken by Cas and Ala.

“I can’t believe that’s it…” Jim states.

As the secret door opens and into the room steps a well armed, and armoured Goblin, he looks all business and has a bow in his hands and an arrow notched.

Behind him an Elf, no what do you call them dark coloured Elves… Drow- that’s it. The Drow, male, looks to be a Wizard.

And in the same instant a Wolf suddenly appears, in the midst of the Goodman Gang.

Actually, ‘a Wolf’, doesn’t quite cover it.

The creature is five feet tall at the shoulder; its fur is as black as night, its eyes gleam, a similar light to the fires of hell.

Oh, and it has horns, nasty looking ones- are there any other kind?

FWONG

Jim grows an arrow, from the middle of his chest; he staggers backwards, flailing madly and finally… falls.

Next Turn: This is the End, My Friend.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dungeon Crawl Classics #11
The Dragonfiend Pact
For 2nd Level Characters​

Turn 35: This is the End, My Friend.

FWONG

A second arrow hurtles past Bec’s left ear.

The Fiendish Wolf snarls and leaps at the Barbarian, he leaps aside, reacts quickly, swings and slices, cuts a ugly gash in the creature, it seems not to mind at all.

Newt tumbles backwards, into a shadow or two, grabs a bolt, adds poison.

“PelORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.”

While Cas charges towards the door, into the thick of it.

At the same time a Celestial Badger pops into existence in the doorway, bloody badgers get everywhere, Anya motions and the thing snarls and menaces the Goblin who spills his bow and quick-draws his rapier.

“For Correllon.”

Ala follows Cas into the fray.

Jim gets up quickly, winded- that’s all, stumbles over to help Bec, stabs at the Wolf and draws a drop or two of blood. The Wolf turns with amazing speed, snaps its jaws shut on the space Jim just inhabited, he’s too quick.

The Goblin, Goren, slashes wildly at the Celestial Badger but the creatures hide is too thick, the creature snaps at the Goblin’s heels.

In the same instance the Drow Wizard intones a single word-

“DOOOOOOMMMMMM.”

Points at Cas who struggles for a moment, he seems to be running through treacle, and then rushes on, although the weight of the world, and all his doubts and insecurities are now buzzing furiously in his mind.

Newt creeps in a little closer, crossbow at the ready, looking for the right time to strike.

“FIZZZZZZZZ.”

A sudden Flare of light before the Fiendish Wolf, the creature staggers back, momentarily blinded- Jim and Bec take full advantage, both score hits, the creature looks to be on its last legs.

The Celestial Badger is proving to be worth its weight in gold, Goren, the Goblin, falls back into the chamber beyond, constantly harried by the creature.

Which leaves the doorway clear for Cas, he bursts into the chamber beyond, the Drow Wizard stumbles back, quick draws a dagger, but too late, Cas slashes cuts the Dark Elf’s hand, although its nothing more than a scratch. The Drow slashes back, Cas dodges back and avoids the blow. Ala enters the fray, she swings forces the Drow back further into the chamber, her longsword passes only inches away from its face.

The Goblin gets his second wind, its rapier lances down and skewers the Celestial Badger, the creature fades into vapour and dust.

Newt creeps into the second chamber, he has a clear shot at Goren , the Goblin.

FWUNG

The bolt hits.

The Goblin screeches in pain and then something else.

The poison hits, Goren staggers and stumbles, now borne on bendy legs, the Goblin tries to flee, almost collapses but makes headway.

DM’s interlude Goren’s Strength at this point dropped to ‘4.’

Back in the first chamber, the one with the altar, Bec aims his blow, and neatly splints the Fiendish Wolf’s skull, it fades to smoke and vapour, leaving the Barbarian momentarily confused..

Cas swipes at the Drow Wizard who dodges back again- he’s nimble, light on his feet. Ala repeats the move, with the same effect. Anya charges into the doorway, takes in the scene.

A dry and slightly warm chamber, comfortable, natural light spills in from a passage to the east. A crude bed and a wooden writing table, littered with parchments, on the north wall, on the south wall crates and bales of straw, and a crude straw pallet.

Jim and Bec rush to the doorway, behind Anya, as the Goblin recalculates the odds, and flees east, caroming into the walls as his legs give way.

The Drow Wizard slashes hard at Cas who dodges back.

“You’re all on your own, time to die.” Cas mocks, then remembering his Paladinhood adds, “or surrender?”

THUNG

Newt’s crossbow sings again, and the fleeing Goblin takes a bolt in the back, it staggers out of sight, only just amongst the living.

The Wizard attacks, stabs out with his dagger, the Paladin clangs his shield into the Drow’s arm, knocking the blade away and swings back with his longsword, the Wizard feints and gets away. Ala swipes again likewise to no effect. Jim however sees his chance, flanks the Drow and smashes his battle axe into its leg leaving a nasty rent in the creatures flesh.

The Drow hisses, seems more determined if anything, and stabs his dagger, deep, into Cas’ gut.

The Paladin staggers back, holding the spot, blood flows freely, he turns white, and yet it’s not the wound.

Cas’ head already full of dark biting creatures- his doubts and worries amplified by the Doom spell, is rocked, no… make that Cursed.

He sags, stoops, fights the weight on his shoulders, the angry pain, the buzz-saw in his brain, desperate he flounders, flails, and screams.

“PEL-ORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.”

Light floods into him, his ragged wound instantly closes.

He smiles at the Drow Wizard.

“Is that all you’ve got?”

Bec completes the circle, they’ve surrounded the creature.

“Surrender?” Cas asks.

“To go back to what?” The Drow spits.

And launches himself at Cas, it seems all the Wizard is doing is trying to touch Cas, but the Paladin is much too quick. Ala, Jim, Cas and Bec take it in turn to poke, slash, stab and flail, the circle surrounding the enraged Drow expands and contracts as the creature leaps, jumps and dodges. And yet for all their efforts not one hit is scored.

The action ceases, the Drow puts his hand up.

“Wait.”

He seems to be catching his breath, either that or thinking about surrender.

“Bec wait.” Cas warns, the Barbarian stares hard at the Paladin but holds his position.

“Who the hell are you?” Cas asks.

The Drow stands tall, smiles at the Paladin.

“You don’t know that?”

He roars with laughter, causing several of the gang to instinctively back away.

Seeing his opportunity the Drow quick-draws a Healing Potion and swigs the contents down, his wounds are almost all healed.

FWUNG

A crossbow bolt, courtesy of Newt enters the mix, snicks against the stone floor and careens on causing Bec to take evasive action.

The Barbarian glares at the Gnome, then lurches towards the Drow, swings and misses by a mile. Ala and Jim have better aims; both score hits, although, again, they’re no more than scratches. Cas doesn’t get the opportunity as the Drow again lunges for him causing him to take all out defence.

“Surrender?” Cas tries again, after all he is the good guy.
“No.” The Drow Wizard grins back; after all he is the bad guy.

The whirlwind starts up again.

FWUNG

It begins with Newt burying six inches of steel in the Drow’s back, and ends with Bec’s longsword slicing a chunk out of the Drow’s side- the Wizard suddenly looks very unwell.

The Drow stoops low, blood drips onto the cavern floor- he breathes hard, the circle waits again.

“Surrender?” Cas just wants it on record.

The Drow looks up, straightens a little, then shakes his head.

Bec steps in and slices, the Drow tries to dodge, but much too slow, staggers, nearly folds, more blood flows.

“Surrender?” Cas is almost pleading.

The Drow looks up at him holds his gaze as long as he can, before folding, sinking to his knees, head only inches from the cold cavern floor the Dark Elf nods.

The Wizard slumps forward, nothing more than a ragged bleeding compact pile on the cavern floor.

The Goodman Gang breathe hard and go to sheath their weapons.

Next Turn: Just Rewards.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dungeon Crawl Classics #11
The Dragonfiend Pact
For 2nd Level Characters​

Turn 36: Just Rewards.

The Drow Wizard shimmers for a second and is gone.

And in his place is Malchor, the owner of the Wellow Inn, his magical Disguise Self spell is over.

“Malchor… You…” Cas begins.

But the Innkeeper doesn’t stir.

“He’s dead, let’s fleece him, grab what we can and get back to the Church.” Newt heads off to check out the papers on the desk, Anya follows him over.

Cas wanders over to the Innkeeper’s body, bends to start his search.

Malchor’s head shoots up, the Healing Potion- now empty, falls from his grasp.

“HA HA HA. You’ll have to try harder than that.”

He touches Cas, barely brushes his leg.

Cas screams, like a little girl.

“My eyes.”

It feels like acid burning his eyeballs, he staggers back flailing wildly, and then suddenly stops. The other members of the Goodman Gang turn and instinctively draw weapons- ready again for the fight.

Cas blinks once or twice, arms out before him, staggers forward testing the air with his hands, his feet inching forward, scuffing the ground, making sure of the surface.

He stops.

Grins.

“No, you’ll have to do better than that.”
“You bastard.”

Malchor leaps to his feet, dagger back in hand.

The Goodman Gang dive back into the fray again, Jim slashes with his axe gouges a deep furrow in the Innkeeper’s chest, Malchor grits his teeth, the pain, and slashes back- cutting Jim badly across his face. Blood gushes from the wound; Jim staggers backwards his face pure horror show.


Ala is quickly to him, spills her sword, and pumps Healing into the screaming Ranger.

THwung

Newt’s bolt hits an invisible barrier, Malchor’s Shield of Faith, he begins to coat another bolt with poison

“Come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.”

The Innkeeper screams, the adventurers take another step back, widening the circle around him.

Except for Bec.

Who rushes forward.

Swings his two handed sword with all his might.

And cuts Malchor clean in two.

“Shut up, I mean, Sandwich.”

The Barbarian looks around at the other adventurers; they seem not to have noticed his speech.

“Thank feck he’s dead.”

Newt sums up their feelings succinctly.

The Gnome sets to, spots a metal strongbox under the bed, drags it out and gets on with opening it.

The other adventurers spread out to thoroughly search the chamber, and yet return having found nothing of interest, even the papers on the table are blank sheets of parchment.

“Arrrgghh.”

Newt withdraws his hand quickly, the poison pulses from the needle protruding from the end of his finger, he feels… weak.

“You OK?” Ala is quickly there to help.
“Poisoned.” Newt shows the spot.
“We need to get you to the Church.” Cas cuts in.
“Money first.” Newt nods at the chest.

And thirty seconds later, and still being supervised by Ala and Cas, he springs the chest open. There’s a pile of coins, gems and jewellery within.

Soon after the gang trudge out, down the passage, and emerge from a river bank running through a farmer’s field, a little way south of Gleethorpe. It’s a straight road, actually no more than a farmer’s track, back into the village, and passed the Wellow Inn, which they avoid for now.

Thirty minutes later the sextet are back in the centre of Grimbo, at St. Jimbo’s, the Church of Pelor, and before Father Whiskin.

Cas’ curse has been lifted, a small matter, a simple ceremony by Father Whiskin and Cas is free from taint, but now the Priest is shaking his head.

“Lycanthropy…” He sucks his teeth.
Ala and Cas plead with their eyes.
“There’s three of us need the cure… Do you have anything?” Cas asks.
Ala hopes, she’s one of the three that maybe infected.

Behind them Newt waves faintly and then collapses- very poisoned, although it’s quickly established his life is not in danger, he’s found a temporary bed.

“Well there’s Wolfsbane…” Father Whiskin offers.
“Will that work?” Ala worries.
“It should, probably… Pelor willing.” The Priest trails off.
Cas nods.

Ala, Jim and Bec are ushered further into the Church, made comfortable in a side room; a pair of acolytes appear and the Wolfsbane is administered, and a minor sedative- it doesn’t take much to put the three to sleep.

“Pelor will watch over them here, they’re safe.” Father Whiskin clutches Cas’ arm, Ala sweats and twitches as an acolyte mops her brow. “Wolfsbane is a poison, they’ll have a fever for a while, we’ll see to them, go… You need to tell the authorities what you’ve found.”

And so Cas and Anya depart- straight to Lady Arabella’s residence, Cas knows the way.

An hour later the pair find themselves in a once serious looking dark oak panelled office, now complete with a collection of dolls from every nation, a very large make-up bag, and an unfeasibly tall pair of patent leather stiletto shoes atop the desk. Behind which sits Lady Arabella, lost in her fathers massive chair.

“NO.” She plunges through a dozen or more expressions- shock, horror, terror, fear, confusion, wanton, trepidation, et al.

Cas and Anya continue with their story.

“NO.” And again with the exaggerated facial expressions.

Till finally she flings herself around the desk and at Cas’ feet, she claws her way up, pawing at him as she goes.

“Owwwww my brave Cassy. Owww how absolutely awful, you must have been so frightened, oh but no. No. You know no fear, don’t you Cassy-wassy… You’re so fearless… So… without erm fear.”

She’s rubbing his arm, thigh, chest, arm again- his bicep, her eyes glisten, she licks her lips. She moves onto his thigh, perches there.

“So very hard, I mean… brave.”

Cas gets up very quickly, Lady Arabella thumps onto the floor, it seems her hand may have strayed somewhere off limits. Cas is beetroot red.

“Ahem, I think we should get off now, we should report this to the appropriate authorities.” Cas clicks his heels, turns around, and then swiftly back, bows and helps a smiling Lady Arabella back to her feet.

“Arabella.” Cas nods and then strides off, with a pronounced limp.

Anya watches on, less than amused.

Lady Arabella readjusts her dress, leans back on her father’s desk and grins at the retreating Paladin’s back; actually it’s his bottom she’s staring at.

“Lady Arabella?” Anya approaches, “our reward.”

Arabella’s reverie is broken; she shuffles around the desk, opens a draw, hefts a large purse of money onto it, mutters “thanks”, and rushes over to the window to watch Cas’ awkward retreat. She never looks once at Anya.

“I’ll leave this with you.” Anya reveals the huge tome found on the altar, Malchor’s diary, but Arabella doesn’t even signal she has heard.

“He killed your father.”

That gets her attention, Lady Arabella turns, her hand shoots out, she grabs at the back of a chair to steady herself.

“I’m sorry, really. I know what it’s like to lose a parent…”

Anya flees the scene, the sound of Lady Arabella’s tears echo through the huge empty house.

A little while later at Grimbo Police Station, on Vicky Street, Cas sits at a desk in an interview room and tells his tale again.

“Right, and who gave you permission to investigate this matter?” Captain Khan enquires.

Cas looks non-plussed for a second, then states clearly, “Lady Arabella Ross, who I believe, is the Council Member for Gleethorpe.”

“Hmmm.” The good Captain smiles.
“Leave it with us… we’ll investigate.”

And stands and makes to leave.

“That’s it?” Cas is less than impressed.

“Hmmm. Oh… Thanks.” Khan smirks and limply proffers his hand.

Cas is up and out of the Police Station almost before his chair hits the ground.

Khan watches the paladin leave from a window, the door behind him opens, he doesn’t turn round, only stiffens slightly- alert.

“So that’s him?”
“Yes, sir.” Khan replies.
“How did he seem?”
“Angry, sir?” Khan hopes he has the right answer.
“Good… Good, that’ll do for now.”
“Yes, sir.”
“And Khan…”
“Sir?”
“Keep an eye on them, all of them.”
“Yes sir, I’ll…” Khan turns to discover he’s alone in the room, suddenly confused, he can’t remember the sound of the door shutting, strange, he thinks.

Next Turn: Review
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dungeon Crawl Classics #11
The Dragonfiend Pact
For 2nd Level Characters​

Turn 36a

Overall score out of 10: 8.4
Play time: Approx 4 happy hours.

Review:

They bloody loved it, the session flew by and in the end they just wanted more of the same. There’s not a lot to say in this section of the review, it needs to be noted however that every bad guy, and trap, and encounter encouraged the players to try something, anything, everything- the scenario may be short but it’s expertly structured.

The overall scenario is easy to DM and excellent to play, partially perhaps because it is so short, and intense, the use of the Improved Reduce Person potions was just fantastic. Not since a scenario in one of the early issues of Imagine Magazine- “Down the Plughole”, or some such, someone put me right. They, and I, loved it- the final fight was just a winner.

Notes and Quotes:

Bec and the Water Snake- an excellent start reducing the Tank-fighter to a frightened wreck trying to escape the water, good use of the environment to get the players out of their comfort zone.

Newt versus the Advanced Medium Monstrous Trapdoor Spider, straightforward, and yet for almost no reward, and with surprise- the glint of gold luring the Rogue in. Excellent again.

The traps were all good, particularly as Newt found every one of them and then spectacularly failed to disarm two of them, and yet emerged unscathed.

A pack of Dwarven Zombies allowed Ala to shine, the jigsaw puzzle that when completed revealed the Dwarves Contract helped the players to discover a little of what lay ahead. Also typical when Miss P. stated- “Didn’t you say your landlord was called Malchor, well that’s an anagram of Chloram.” It took her less than five seconds to see the truth of it- which was a little disappointing at the time but proved less of a problem by the end.

The Dire Badger proved to be a good fight, it’s the fact that the creature was not dispatched in seconds, and managed to land some blows of its own, that, as opposed to the flailing tin can Kobolds in the last scenario.

And then into Tarn’s chamber, with a Rat Swarm to get through, which was excellent, from a story telling perspective, clearly the point-of-no-return. The fact that the Werebadger inflicted so much damage on them, and then got away only spurred them on.

The moment they worked out that they were going to get shrunk to fit the tunnels they were overjoyed, something new. It took us forty five minutes to get all the stats right on the character sheets but it was well worth it, the wait only made the players more excited at the prospect.

A bunch of rats were easily despatched- a false dawn as it proves.

And they’re into the Badger’s Lair, with Tarn the Werebadger in full affect, and once again the confrontation is momentous, players are spending a good ten seconds cupping and pre-rolling their dice, muttering encouraging words into the cave of their hands.

It’s important.

Then on to the River Crossing and the Cave Trout, as always it’s Ala that falls in, she’s not even got the worst Climb skill- and yet it’s always her, no problems here though- lulling the players into a false sense of security for the later crossing.

The Giant Worker Ants were quickly dealt with, as were the Fire Beetles, these encounters just helped to chip away at the player’s resources- keeping them on their toes.

The final chasm crossing with the Choker really put the wind up them, especially as it was Ala again- the fact that she lost her favourite sword, and Newt his crossbow also seemed to rile the party members. Whatever was at the end of the scenario was definitely for it.

Another cracker with Blackspine, the nasty Advanced Fiendish Pseudo-dragon Sorcerer 1, with limited resources the creature managed to trip them up, actually frazzle them a bit, and still escape in the end to fight again another day. The telepathy also made the encounter much more fun.

And then just a bunch of Skeletons and Malchor’s diary, but what’s this, a Drow and a Goblin, not at all what the players expected, and the fight was hard, particularly as Malchor (the Drow) got off a few spells, and a Curse, via his dagger onto Cas. At the end the players were giving the Drow, then Malchor, perhaps a little more respect than his AC and Hit Points perhaps justified; but that was down to the build up.

A lovely moment when Malchor caught Mr. R. (Cas) with another spell, Blindness and for a moment cas thought he’d failed his save, especially after Doom and Curse.

And then Newt’s Strength is reduced to “1” after he messes up opening the strongbox. They knew they’d been in a fight.

Overall it was easily the best Goodman Games Module we’ve played so far, although it’s only the third we’ve played- they really did enjoy the constant battle to get though the dungeon, a nice array of traps and tricks, a good selection of monsters, and the twist of being turned into Diddymen part the way through.

Bloody marvellous, more please.

Next Turn: Freddy and the…
 

Dr Simon

First Post
May I just chip in and add my voice to those who enjoy these Story Hours, Goonalon. I'm quite a fan of the DCC adventures and I own a few of the ones that you've run (Dragonfiend Pact, Legend of the Ripper, Mysterious Tower) so I'm interested in how your experiences turn out.

I'm liking the style, which makes a nice change from some of the more portentous and prose dense story hours out there (although the lightness of touch, especially in the Lost Boys, is disturbingly at odds with Brad Durif's baleful glare in your avatar).

Anyway, Dragonfiend Pact is a nice little adventure, especially for the price (One of our English Pounds). Like you I found that re-adjusting the stats upon shrinkage took a while (but that was before I started writing the Lazy GM books, I can probably quote size change effects off by heart now).

Looks to me like Blackspine has the potential for a recurring character - any plans?
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Quote:

May I just chip in and add my voice to those who enjoy these Story Hours, Goonalon. I'm quite a fan of the DCC adventures and I own a few of the ones that you've run (Dragonfiend Pact, Legend of the Ripper, Mysterious Tower) so I'm interested in how your experiences turn out.

I'm liking the style, which makes a nice change from some of the more portentous and prose dense story hours out there (although the lightness of touch, especially in the Lost Boys, is disturbingly at odds with Brad Durif's baleful glare in your avatar).

Reply:

Brad Durif for me is the Doc of Deadwood, a kindly soul that dispenses homilies and medication in equal amounts, also I believe Wyrmtongue, or whatever his name was, is a misunderstood character that just needed a little more TLC than Saruman had to offer.

Quote:

Anyway, Dragonfiend Pact is a nice little adventure, especially for the price (One of our English Pounds). Like you I found that re-adjusting the stats upon shrinkage took a while (but that was before I started writing the Lazy GM books, I can probably quote size change effects off by heart now).

Looks to me like Blackspine has the potential for a recurring character - any plans?

Reply:

Maybe, I can't really say, that's how it is when the players sometimes come here (the SH) in search of clues, and also to ensure their characters got the odd half-decent line.

Thanks for the comments, always a pleasure.

And so...

Oh and I can't do those quote things, if some kind person would kindly tell me the secret, well... I'll write you in to the story.

Turn 37: Freddy and the…

Anya sits on Bec’s knee, he dandles her a while, she smiles and grins- the sound of her laughter is sweet soothing music.

Bec switches tack, a rougher ride on his lap, plays horsey- over the high hurdles- Anya jumps up and down on his lap- giggling furiously, gulping for air.

Bec shuts his eyes.

Then opens them again, and sitting on his lap is not Anya but the largest half-Man half-Rat type creature he has ever seen, actually he’s never seen one before and so the title is undisputed.

The creature stares hard at him.

Unblinking.

Bec ceases the horsey ride, a little embarrassed.

Then with lightning speed the creature lurches down and bites him in the face, and tugs- Bec screams. The creature comes away with a gobbet of flesh dangling from its blood-soaked mouth. Bec’s eye mid-section of the flopping piece of flesh- the creature gobbles the snack down.

Bec stares, in mono-vision.

But does nothing to prevent the second bite.

It goes dark.

And he’s awake.

And still in the Church of Pelor, over the way Jim tosses and turns, mumbles in his sleep.

Ala’s bed is empty.

Back in the Wheatsheaf Inn Cas and Ala enjoy their first night together. Ala’s fever broke three days ago but it was only today that she was allowed to leave the Church, declared fit for action.

Their silhouettes move together, caught in shadow on the thin curtains, outside a driver clicks his tongue and a coach and horses moves off from its position directly outside of the window.

Inside the dark coach Lady Arabella drums her fingers on an ornate lacquered rosewood armrest.

“Keep an eye on them.”

She whispers, to a previously unseen, and still, shadowy figure.

Back in the Church Bec wanders out of his prison for the last two weeks, goes in search of… well, a sandwich.

He finds the kitchen quickly and sets to- bread is introduced to butter, quite a lot of it actually, then to Jam- thick Apricot, then gets acquainted with Cheese, a smelly Dwarven Ched-Dar, which then makes friends with a layer of Gnomish Pickle, which in turn… and on it goes.

The construct is at least six inches high when complete.

Bec’s heavy hands scoop the creation up, expertly, he swivels the sandwich in his hands- looking for the best point of attack.

CHOMP

He chews.

And chews.

And chews.

And…

Chews.

And then straining hard swallows.

Then wipes his mouth leaving, momentarily, a sticky trail down the back of his hand and arm, he licks the residue off.

“Bloody lovely. I wonder what’s in the paper.”

He takes another huge bite, and then wanders off to see if he can hunt the Grimbo Graph, the local newspaper, down.

Whereas…

Jim is running through the woods, pell-mell, helter-skelter, trees and branches come and go- to be avoided, he whizzes past them, ducking, diving- clawing his way onwards- racing.

Not daring to look behind him.

He can hear his pursuer.

Gaining.

He wakes, stares around him for a moment, alone, he claws the air, goes to speak- but no sound comes out, his eyes blink rapidly and…

He runs on.

A wolf howls, far away, in the distance, not behind him though, not chasing him.

A fallen log, he spots it too late, leaps, catches his right foot, flies forward, out of control, lands hard and sprawls upon the cold damp earth.

And his pursuer is on him, knelt on his back, pushing him down, hands on the back of his head, pressing his face into the dirt, he can’t breath, can’t breath, can’t breath.

He throws all his strength into his turn, wrenches himself around, spins over to face his pursuer.

Mischa grins down at him.

Night turns into day in an instance, then to night again, and to day again, and on and on- time strobes by.

And leaves no trace on Mischa’s features, she’s as beautiful as ever.

Jim tries to rise, but is staggered by Mischa’s weight, he clamps his hands on the ground either side of him, levers to lift himself up, he heaves.

Then mid-lift he stops to look at the backs of his hands- gnarled and crooked, liver spots and scar tissue, he’s ancient- he collapses, gulps for breath.

And wakes again.

The door to his chamber opens.

A large lumbering shadowy figure lurches in, an Ogre by the look of the thing, licking its lips with glee.

Jim flings himself back, still breathing hard- ragged gasps, he tries to get away from the creature, pressed hard against the wall.

The thing bobs down to his level and moves closer, hands out towards Jim, petrified he cannot scream.

The remnants of a less than savoury looking sandwich hoves into view, then the rest of a grinning mustard, jam and pickle plastered Bec.

“Sandwich?”

Bec offers.

Gingerly Jim takes a nibble.

“Jam and cheese?” The Ranger pulls a face.

Bec nods, wise in the ways of sandwich making.

Two weeks later and everything is as normal, all of the Goodman Gang are staying in the Wheatsheaf Inn, things have been Identified, sold and bought, including mounts for all of them, even Newt, who is the proud owner of a somewhat cantankerous Mule called “Dobbin.”

Arabella sends several invitations to Cas, on the pretence of attending various Balls and Galas but the Paladin is not playing, most nights are early nights, it seems he and Ala are really good friends at last.

Newt is making friends; he’s now a regular on the Nunny, a minor personality, not dangerous, but not to be messed with, the latter mainly because of his sometime companion Bec.

The fool Barbarian goes as far as to foil a bag-snatcher on one occasion, much to the Gnome’s chagrin, fortunately it turns out the felon was unregistered and so no action is taken by The Nunny- he even receives a small reward. Newt leaves Bec at home when he can, sneaks out of the Inn if he has to.

Anya throws herself into her studies, there’s no such thing as spare time with Anya- she’s making a name for herself in the Department of Magics, at Grimbo College, Professor Nudge Toomes can clearly see her potential.

For the others- and particularly Bec and Jim, having spent the best part of three weeks lying on the backsides, time passes very slowly indeed- they’re bored.

And so it’s a blessed relief when Father Whiskin appears one morning at the Wheatsheaf, out of breath and with quite a story to tell.

Next Turn: Catch Up.
 

Loup Du Noir

First Post
Goonalan said:
Oh and I can't do those quote things, if some kind person would kindly tell me the secret

Type [ quote ] text you want to quote [ / quote ] but without the spaces. If you want to show a name, then in the first [ quote ] box, put an "=" after "quote" and type the name.

Alternatively, press the Quote button at the bottom of the post you would like to quote.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Loup Du Noir said:
Type [ quote ] text you want to quote [ / quote ] but without the spaces. If you want to show a name, then in the first [ quote ] box, put an "=" after "quote" and type the name.

Alternatively, press the Quote button at the bottom of the post you would like to quote.

He he- ridiculously simple, thanks for that, me and computers- tsk.
 

Goonalan said:
The overall scenario is easy to DM and excellent to play, partially perhaps because it is so short, and intense, the use of the Improved Reduce Person potions was just fantastic. Not since a scenario in one of the early issues of Imagine Magazine- “Down the Plughole”, or some such, someone put me right.

Well, since you asked ...

It was actually called "Round the Bend" - the Gamesfair '84 AD&D Team Competition Module - and was reproduced in Imagine No 15 (June 1984). Five half-orc thieves (if you use the pre-gens) caught by a wizard, are shrunk and sent down the drains to recover an eye of minute seeing.
 


Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
HalfOrc HalfBiscuit said:
Well, since you asked ...

It was actually called "Round the Bend" - the Gamesfair '84 AD&D Team Competition Module - and was reproduced in Imagine No 15 (June 1984). Five half-orc thieves (if you use the pre-gens) caught by a wizard, are shrunk and sent down the drains to recover an eye of minute seeing.

I remember DMing it all those years ago, right for the bonus point what was the name of the scenario that appeared in Dungeon magazine that I think involved shrunken PCs and a giant house/cottage- something like that anyway?

Thanks as always.

And so...

Dungeon Crawl Classic #14
Dungeon Interludes
Chapter 1: The Eye of the Night
Level 1-3 (Scaled to level 4)​

Turn 38: Catch Up.

“Jim” Bowen​

Human Male Ranger Level 2
NG HP 23 AC 18 Init +2
Str 14 Dex 15 Con 14 Int 12 Wis 12 Ch 10
Saves Fort +6 Ref +4 Will +2
+1 Battleaxe (family heirloom) +5 d8+3
Longbow (Masterwork Mighty (+2)) +5 d8+2 or Rapid Fire +3/+3
Dagger, Silver +4 or +4 d4+2
Armour: Griffin insignia Masterwork Breastplate and Large Masterwork Wooden Shield.

Feats: Skill Focus (Trapmaking), Point Blank Shot, Track, Favoured Enemy- Dire Animals, Ranger Two-Weapon Fighting & Ambidexterity, Rapid Shot.

Skills of note: Animal Empathy +4 Climb +4 Craft (Trapmaking) +6 Handle Animal +4 Hide +6 Jump +5 Knowldege (Nature) +3 Listen +4 Move Silently +6 Spot +3 Wilderness Lore +6

Items of note: Potion Cure Lt x4; Potion Darkvision; Cloak of Resistance +1.

Light Warhorse “Sarge” & associated kit and caboodle.

Bec​

Human Male Barbarian Level 2
CG HP 31 AC 15 Init +1
Str 18 Dex 12 Con 18 Int 11 Wis 8 Ch 9
Saves Fort +7 Ref +1 Will -1
Long Spear +6 d8+6
Dagger +6 or +3 d4+4
Greatclub +6 d10+6
Longsword Masterwork +7 d8+4 (usually with Large Wooden Shield)
Greatsword Masterwork Cold Iron +7 2d6+6
Armour: Studded Leather Masterwork, sometimes Large Wooden Shield.

Feats: Toughness, Power Attack, Rage, Cleave & Uncanny Dodge.

Skills of note: Climb +9 Concentration +4 Jump +8 Ride +3 Spot +3 Swim +8 Use Rope +4

Items of note: Climbers Kit, Potion Cure Lt x4, Potion Blur, Bracers of Armour +1.

Heavy Warhorse “Kaul” & associated kit and caboodle, including Studded Leather Barding.

Lord Casimir​

Human Male Paladin of Pelor Level 2
LG HP 23 AC 19 Init +1
Str 15 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 14 Wis 11 Ch 14
Saves Fort +7 Ref +3 Will +4
+1 Longsword Cold Iron +5 d8+3
Longbow +3 d8
Light Mace +4 d6+2
Armour: Shiny Breastplate +1 & Sparkling Large Masterwork Steel Shield

Feats: Negotiator, Dodge, Mobility, Detect Evil, Lay on Hands, Divine Health, Smite Evil, Aura of Courage.

Skills of note: Concentration +3 Diplomacy +9 Handle Animal +6 Knowledge (History) +5 Knowledge (Local) +7 Knowledge (Religion) +6 Ride +5 Sense Motive +6 Spot +4

Items of note: 3 Flasks of Holy Water, 5 Silver Arrows, Potion of Cure Light Wounds x4, Potion of Vision, Healing Kit.

Light Warhorse “Reggie” & associated kit and caboodle.

Anya’Drea​

Human Female Wizard Level 2
CG HP 14 AC 15 Init +5
Str 10 Dex 13 Con 12 Int 16 Wis 11 Ch 17
Saves Fort +1 Ref +1 Will +3
Quarterstaff Masterwork +2 d6
Light Crossbow Masterwork +3 d8
Dagger Silver +1 or +2 d4
Armour: Leather Armour, Ring of Protection +1, Bracers of Armour +1

Feats: Skill Focus (Use Magic Device), Armour Proficiency (Light), Improved Initiative, Scribe Scroll, Toughness.

Skills of note: Alchemy +5 Appraise +3 Bluff +3 Concentrate +6 Craft (Model) +3 Decipher Script +7 Diplomacy +3 Disguise +3 Forgery +3 Gather Info +3 Hide +5 Intimidate +3 Knowledge (Arcane) +8 Knowledge (Architecture & Engineering) +4 Knowledge (Geography) +4 Knowledge (Nature) +4 Listen +4 Move Silently +3 Perform (Vogue) +3 Scry +5 Search +3 Spellcraft +8 Use Magic Device +10

Familiar, actually Follower (of sorts) Swish, Animated Broom.

Spells: Lvl 0 (4) All;
Lvl 1 (4) Shield, Mage Armour, Mount, Summon Monster I, Unseen Servant, Detect Secret Doors, Detect Undead, Identify, Magic Missile, Colour Spray, Cause Fear, Expeditious Retreat, Shocking Grasp, Spider Climb.

Items of note: Scrolls- not so many of them as before, Wand of Burning Hands (Level 3- 23 Charges); Potion Cure Lt. x4, Potion of Intelligence, Pearl of Power (lvl 1), Necklace of Fireballs Type I, 2 Bags of Caltrops; 6 Tindertwigs, 10 Sunrods.

Pipes of the Sewer’s identified but don’t know the tune.

“Swish” Animated Broom companion AC15 Mv30 Init+2 +1 Slam d4 Hardness 5 Fort +0 Ref +2 Will -5

Light Warhorse “Mr. Fizz” & associated kit and caboodle, including Studded Leather Barding.

Newt​

Gnome Male Rogue Level 2
NG HP 15 AC 19 Init +3
Str 11 Dex 16 Con 14 Int 16 Wis 11 Ch 10
Saves Fort +2 Ref +6 Will +2
Heavy Mace Masterwork +3 d6
Light Crossbow Masterwork +6 d6
+1 Dagger (wielded as Shortsword) of Spell Storing (Shocking Grasp D8+2) +3 D4+1
Adamantine Ceremonial Dagger (wielded as Shortsword) +2 D4
Dagger Masterwork Silver +3 or +6 d3
Armour: +1 Chain Shirt

Feats: Nimble Fingers, Low Light Vision, +1 To Hit vs. Goblinoids and Kobolds, +4 Dodge vs. Giants, Point Blank Shot, Evasion.

Skills of note: Alchemy +10 Appraise +5 Balance +7 Climb +4 Craft (Locksmith) +5 Decipher Script +5 Disable Device +10 Escape Artist +4 Forgery +3 Hide +10 Intimidate +3 Jump +5 (+35 with Ring of Jumping) Listen +7 Move Silently +8 Open Lock +10 Pick Pocket +4 Read Lips +5 Ride (Pony) +3 Scry +3 Search +8 Spot +5 Tumble +4 Use Rope +3

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

Items of note: Silk Climbing Rope, 10 Tindertwigs, 3 Thunderstones, 2 Tanglefoot bags, 10 Sunrods, 2 Smoke Sticks, 5 Alchemist’s Fire, Thieves Tools Masterwork, 5 Silver tipped Bolts, 12 Masterwork Bolts, 3 Flasks of Acid, Potion Cure Lt x5, Potion Spider Climb x2, Ring of Jumping.

War Pony “Dobbin” & associated kit and caboodle, including Studded Leather Barding.

Ala​

Elf Female Cleric Level 2
NG HP 17 AC 21 Init +3
Str 14 Dex 17 Con 12 Int 10 Wis 17 Ch 13
Saves Fort +4 Ref +3 Will +6
Longsword Masterwork +5 d8+2
Composite Longbow Masterwork Mighty (+2) +5 d8+2
Dagger Silver +3 or +4 d4+2
Light Flail +3 d6+2
Armour: Chain Shirt Masterwork, Large Masterwork Steel Shield & Ring of Protection +2

Feats: Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (Longsword), Turn Undead (4/day).

Skills of note: Balance +3 Concentration +3 Diplomacy +3 Escape Artist +3 Heal +7 Hide +3 Listen +5 Move Silently +3 Ride (Horse) +3 Sense Motive +3 Spot +5 Use Rope +3 Wilderness Lore +3

Spells: Lvl 0 (4) Lvl 1 (4)
Domains: War & Good.

Items of note: 2 Healer’s Kits, Scroll Protection from Elements, Potion Cure Light Wounds x4, Potion Cure Moderate Wounds, Scroll Hold Person & Deeper Darkness.

Light Riding Horse “Slim” & associated kit and caboodle.

Note to present more of a challenge, I thought they’d been finding things a little too easy so far, I followed the instructions within the module booklet to scale the adventure for “stronger parties.” Let’s see how they like that…

Next Turn: Molton Clay.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
And so here we go again...

Dungeon Crawl Classic #14
Dungeon Interludes
Chapter 1: The Eye of the Night
Level 1-3 (Scaled to level 4)​

Turn 39: Molton Clay.

Father Whiskin scurries into the Inn and towards the assembled group, they knew he was coming; the Innkeeper had been good enough to share the news at breakfast.

“Just got a note- Urgent, be ready to travel, and to fight, will be there as soon as I can. That’s all it said, figured you’d understand.”

And now here he is, bundling Cas up and urging the others into a private curtained alcove within the Inn.

“Is there somewhere we can talk?” The good Father’s in a rush.

The group head for the secluded booth.

“I need your help, its Molton Clay, a village about eight miles south west of the city, they make pots there, there are a few farms, and a commune. Anyway all’s not well, they need your help. There’s no money in it, at least very little- will you do it?”
Cas looks a little put out at the mention of money, “of course we will.”
“Do what?” Ala asks, Anya nods behind her.
“The place has been attacked, destroyed, from what I’ve heard, I need you to go and find out what’s going on there, what’s left- if anything.”
The adventurers are in, they’ll do it, they’ve all benefited, at one time or another, from the Church of Pelor’s help.

Cas dives to his feet, ready to roll, Father Whiskin grabs his arm.

“Look for Thistle, you’ll know him when you see him, he’s a Druid, a good… man. Find him and you’ll find the truth. Pelor bless you, all of you, now go- ride like the wind.”

Thirty minutes later, along a narrow track, the six speed, their horses flat out, as fast as they can go, which isn’t very fast for Dobbin, Newt’s mount. They ride into a scene of destruction.

It’s still early morning, the suns rays beat down upon what was once the village of Molton Clay, the crops have been razed, the barns toppled, the buildings now nothing more than burnt out shells, blood and bodies litter the roads and fields.

The riders come to a halt, swiftly survey the area, then walk on.

The stench of the dead is the first thing that hits them. Masks are improvised, the horses however remain nervous, they skitter and paw at the ground, there are tracks everywhere.

Jim gets down to take a look, leads his mount forward, nobody feels like talking. The adventurers stick together as they wander through what was the centre of the settlement. Blackened husks of men and women litter the street, it seems they’re all dead, a village gone- flies buzz, rats gnaw and skitter from corpse to corpse, there are signs of larger wild animals having passed this way.

Jim breaks the silence.

“There were lots of them, humans, armed and armoured- it was a raiding party of some sort, many of them were mounted, wild horses by the look of it- could have been Ullies.”

Ullies, or Ully Gullies, are the inhabitants of Ull, in Umberside, a more autonomous than most state within the United Kingdoms, north of the Umber Estuary. Actually the ‘United’ bit is an awful misnomer, the Kingdoms in general pay no more than lip service to the sentiment. Umberside’s chief export is violence, raiding parties however are uncommon, rare this far into Lincornshire, that said there are still enough wildlands to hide a small army in these parts.

And yet, after a further twenty minutes of wandering, Jim has something more to say.

“There’s something odd here, some of these tracks are older, something must have sparked the violence, I think the attack came later, a smaller force- no more than a dozen came here two or more days ago.”

Jim moves to a section of hard mud still holding the impression of horses and men, by a burnt tethering post, in front of the largest burnt out building within Molton Clay- probably the Inn.

Ala climbs down from her horse, begins to snoop around, in search of bodies, she doesn’t have far to go- she examines the corpse of a young woman, then an older man.

“They were killed with all manner of weapons- clubs, swords, bows, crossbows, the attackers were a rag tag bunch- the people tried to flee, they were cut down in the streets.”

“See there.” Jim points to a pile of furniture in the street, charred and broken; he points to another, and another.

“They were looking for something; they must have made the villagers clear out their homes, whatever it was they were looking for I guess they didn’t find it, or else...”

Jim stops to stare at the devastation.

“It must have been terrible.” He shivers; a breeze blows down the street, dust swirls and spirals, a rent and bloody shirt gusts and billows by.

“Hel…”

“What was that?”

Newt sits up on Dobbin, leans an ear into the wind.

“Help”

The sound comes again, but only loud enough for Gnomish ears to hear.

“Giddy-up.”

Newt spurs Dobbin into a fast-ish walk. The others follow quickly behind, Ala back on her horse, wiping the tears from her eyes. They’re soon out the other side of the settlement, heading down a still muddy track towards the remains of the nearest farm.

“Help.”

Newt digs his heels into Dobbin, the mule protests and then breaks into a mincing trot. The others, although blessed with faster mounts, tag on behind- not wanting to disrupt Newt’s concentration; he’s on the right route.

“Help please…”

Newt and Dobbin swiftly veer off from the dirt path, head towards the only building still standing, a Barn.

“There.”

Newt stands in his stirrups and points, towards a body propped against one of the outer walls of the structure. Although its Newts discovery Ala and Cas are first on the scene.

“Take it easy.” Cas grasps the dying farmers hand.
Ala is making a thorough examination, the warm glow from her healing hands spreads through the villager, he coughs loudly, then opens his eyes.

“Help me please…”

Cas nods while Bec bundles the rag-doll farmer up into his arms. They find shelter, the Barn doesn’t look safe, so they settle for the one room remaining in the farmhouse.

“Give him water, make a fire- make soup, he needs warmth, blankets.”

An hour later, in the ravaged wreck of his former house, his smashed possessions surrounding him, ghosts of his dead family all about him, the broken farmer alternatively cries and tells his tale.

“They came three day ago, a dozen of them, to the Inn. Said they were adventurers but none of them had funny hats, sorry <cough> no wizards or priests, they all looked the same- vagabonds and thieves, wildmen from the north.”
“Ullies?” Jim asks.
“No, worse- they spoke funny, couldn’t understand them at first, don’t know where they were from, we knew there were more of them, they sent riders back out on the first evening, with supplies, lots of supplies, nearly all we had. Thistle was convinced at first that they’d go away once they’d gotten what they wanted.”
“Thistle?” It’s Anya’s turn.
“Thistle’s our leader, he’s a… a Druid. Anyway ten of them stayed at the Inn, drank a lot, swore a lot… and… well, took advantage. That’s when we knew that things were going to get worse, they weren’t for leaving, they had something more in mind. Next day Thistle met with their leader, Gaden, or some such- his bodies back over there, by the Barn.”

The farmer points, they turn to stare at the spot.

“He said he was looking for a jewel, and that he knew it was here, and they weren’t leaving without it- called it the “Eye of the Night”. So Thistle tells him that no such jewel exists in Molton Clay, that we’re farmers and potters mostly, a simple peaceful community. And to prove it Thistle asks everyone to submit to inspection, Gaden agrees, orders that all possessions are to be brought out into the street, everywhere is to be searched. By then there were twenty or thirty of them in the village, all the same- coarse men, violent men- they smashed things, took whatever they wanted. Some got hurt, the first death happened that night, a group of village lads attacked and killed one of the raiders, Gaden executed all those that took up arms, and then he ordered the dead boys parents to dig their graves…”

The farmer stops talking and starts crying, they let him be for a moment, he goes on, through his tears.

“The next morning we discovered the parents hadn’t come back, they’d dug their own graves too- all dead. Gaden rode in with all his men, there must have been fifty of them, into the centre of the settlement, ordered us out of our homes, told us that we had ten minutes to bring forth the jewel, or else… or else.”

The farmer gulps and stares hard for a second.

“Thistle didn’t wait to see how it was going to end, conjured a wolf into their midst, it got a few of them before it was brought down. Thistle was captured, easily, they’d moved in here by then”, the farmer indicates his house and barn, “they tortured him in the barn, I could hear his screams, they kept me here, with some others- running errands, I think Gaden knew that Thistle was hiding the gem. I knew he was, so did many of the others in the village, but no-one said. See we don’t call it the “Eye of the Night”, we don’t have a name for it, but it is a magical jewel, a symbol of natures perfection, it guaranteed our crops would grow, that the sun would shine, that the rain would fall; it kept us wealthy, healthy and safe from harm… until now. No-one was willing to give up the secret to our success.”
“Why? Your lives were at stake.” Anya wonders.
“He knows, and her.” The farmer points at Ala, then Cas. “If you believe in something, if you have faith then there’s nothing you won’t do to protect that faith from harm. The jewel is for good; in the wrong hands… it could be used for ill. It’s about maintaining the balance; we gave our lives to keep it safe.”
“Where’s the jewel now?” Newt leans in.
“Don’t know, they started burning the place up, and then Thistle got really mad, escaped, killed a good few of them before they caught him again, I kept hidden as best I could, by then I knew my family were already gone…”

The farmer breaks down again, tears flow, great hulking sobs. Cas’ face is cast in shadow, he looks away, wipes his eyes.

“What happened then?”
“They finished their search, no jewel, Gaden was furious and yet everyone else, everyone that hadn’t already fled, was dead. Most of the riders left soon after, they had somewhere they had to be in a hurry, they rode hard- to the North West. There were just a few of them left, no more than half-a-dozen, and Gaden, out here. That’s when the creature attacked, and the rats, there were hundreds of them spilling out of my Barn; sure I’d seen a few of them in there every now and then but not in these numbers, there were swarms of them. I ran, got as far away as I could, bumped into a couple of the Raiders in my haste- one got me with an arrow, the other his sword- left me for dead. I dragged myself back here, took me half-a-day, Thistle’s gone… it’s all gone… then you came along.”

He looks up at Ala, squints in the glinting sun.

“My name’s Giles, thanks.”

Then the farmer feints away.

“We’ve got to get him back to the city, somewhere safe.” Ala states.
“What’s that?” Newt shields his eyes from the sun and stares at a black dot approaching the village.
“Riders, six of them.”
“Right, mount up, we’re going to meet them- get ready, weapons out.” Cas orders, and is the first on his horse.

Next Turn: Politics.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dungeon Crawl Classic #14
Dungeon Interludes
Chapter 1: The Eye of the Night
Level 1-3 (Scaled to level 4)​

Turn 40: Politics.

“I don’t bloody care who you are, you ain’t got no jurisdiction.”
The Patrol Sergeant spits and leans forward on his horse, there are six of them, as Newt said, the Sergeant and five Mounted Troopers, all wearing the Black Lion of Grimbo- they’re City Guards, and a long way from home.
“I’m surprised you know how to ride a horse, plod.” Jim’s getting cocky.
“What did you say?” Sarge isn’t best pleased, his horse dances forward, goes to buck.
Jim reaches across and lays a calming hand on the beast.
“I’d run back to the city if I was you, back to your beat, or the desk you drive.”
“Right, that’s it.”
Jim takes his hand off the Sergeants horse, the equine skitters and dances, as nervous as his rider but not hiding it at all.
“Whoah.” Sarge does his best to keep the horse from bolting, it continues to trot and dance, not entirely under control.
“I think Sergeant you should let us handle this, we have been charged by the Church of Pelor, one of the foremost institutions of the City of Grimbo to investigate this matter.” Cas tries a different tack.
“You can shove your investigation up your ar…” The horse has had enough it rears up, flinging the good Sergeant to the dirt, then just stands there, tamed again by Jim’s touch.

The Sergeant gets up slowly, rests his hand on the hilt of his sword, the adventurers quickly follow suit. The remaining troopers think about it, and then decide against it- the Goodman Gang look like they can handle themselves in a fight.

“Come on Sarge, let’s get back, leave these here to die?” A trooper speaks up, the others nod their consent.

Sarge looks defeated, goes over and takes the reins of his horse.

“I think that’s decided then.” Cas turns away and begins to lead the gang off, back to the Barn, then remembers, “we’ve found a wounded farmer, his name’s Giles, I ask that you take him with you- keep him safe, take him to the Church of Pelor, tell them I sent him, he needs rest, his family were all killed.”
“Who are you to order me around?”
“Sarge.” The talking trooper wheedles.
The Sergeant looks momentarily crestfallen, then nods.
Cas leads them all back to the farmhouse and the bloody farmer.

Fifteen minutes later, Giles gripping tight to a trooper, the Grimbo City Guards- Special Mounted Section, heads back to the city, they get a good distance away, a safe distance, before the Sergeant turns and shouts back.

“You’ll all be going in my report, obstructing an officer in his duty, I’ll have you, all of you- when you get back to the city.”

Jim reacts in an instant, runs to his horse and is mounted in seconds, the Sergeant turns his horse, which again dances and skitters, then digs his heals in, the creature bolts, not at all in the right direction. Jim climbs down, giggles, and slaps Sarge’s (Sarge is the name of his horse remember) flanks.

“You were a little… upset.” Anya stares at Jim.
“Were? I still am, I don’t like this, this was a place of peace, my dad used to talk about Molton Clay, said we’d come here one day, to live… never did.”
Anya nods.
“Do you think we’ll get in trouble?” Ala asks.
They turn to look at her.
“I mean back in Grimbo?”
“I hope so.” Newt grins.
Cas can’t help but smile.

“Are we getting on then?” Jim brings the conversation back to the here and now.
“Giles said a beast attacked them, killed Gaden, he fled remember, well what beast- where did it come from, spread out, search the area thoroughly.”

They set to work.

Ala checks the bodies strewn about, mostly farmers and their families killed by the Raiders, there are also four other bodies- the Raiders, slain by tooth and claw, something feral, and furious. All of the corpses have been nibbled and gnawed- rats.

Eventually the search centres on the Barn, Newt leaps, a single bound, up into the hay loft, its empty, the fragile wooden beams creak and shift beneath his tread.

“Careful, the entire structure is unsafe… hey Jim, what’s that?”

Newt points below, he has the perfect position, he can see every detail from above, Jim strides over, the others not too far behind.

“Drag marks and lots of rats, big rats, huge rats, see here.” Jim points, “Whatever it was dragged several of the bodies… Why would they… oh, food. There’s a hole.”

And sure enough there is a gapping wound in the corner of the Barn, it seems the earth has simply collapsed, hollowed out below; a dirt scree leads down into darkness. Newt leaps down from his high perch, shuffles over to Jim’s side- the pair cautiously approach the slope down, they’re still ten feet from the lip when the earth beneath their feet shifts and suddenly collapses.

“RUN.”

Jim screams and rushes back to escape the collapse, Newt is neater still, tumbles backward.

“WHOOF.”

The collapse extends a way, the adventurers dance further back, dirt and dust fills the air, then slowly clears to reveal the dirty adventurers and a much larger hole with a gentle slope leading down into it. Jim stamps the earth as he moves forward, it seems safe, he turns to look at Newt, grins.

“I know. I know.”

A rope is secured around the Gnome Rogue’s waist, Bec takes a hold of the other end, Newt winks at the assembled crowd and dances off down the slope, his flaring sunrod banishing the darkness as he goes.

“Rats, ooooooh.”

Newt shouts, and then almost falls.

“Big fecking rats.”

FWUNG

His crossbow fires but merely digs a divot out of the dirt floor of the cavern below, which is continuing to fill with Dire Rats, there’s nearly a dozen of them already. Jim and Cas come sliding on their backsides down the slope, slightly undignified but infinitely safer, except not for Cas who only makes it halfway down before striking a hidden rock and tumbling forward, he surfs face in the dirt the rest of the way down- arrives at the foot of the slope in a tangled mess. Newt is surrounded, and bitten, at least once, now flailing wildly with his mace.

“Not going.”
“What?” Ala stares at Bec.
“Not going… Rats. Rats bad.” Bec stands statue seemingly terrified at the prospect of the rats.

Jim and Newt are swishing and swatting, just keeping the rats at bay, Cas is less fortunate, and able, still on the floor a Dire Rat catches him on his ankle, a bloody bite that almost scratches the bone. He kicks the creature away and struggles to his feet.

“Get bloody down here, all of you.” He screams.

Anya begins to gingerly lower herself down the slope, using Newts rope as support, its trickier than it looks, she gets stuck less than halfway down and is left on her knees desperately hanging onto the rope. Ala follows Jim and Cas’ lead, slides down all the way on her backside- leaving Bec alone.

“Fecking rats, why’s it always bloody rats, I hate them, I bloody hate them dirty, filthy, creepy, sneaky, and bloody bitey, oh why’s it always bloody rats?”

Bec hefts his sword and hurtles down the slope, there better be something down there to stop him.

“SAAAAA-ND-WIIIIIIIII-CH.”

The Barbarian arrives, and at pace, crashes through the front row of Dire rats, his impetus smashing them out of his path, eventually comes to a halt swinging and swatting, cutting down two of the creatures en route, fifteen feet into the earthen chamber in the midst of easily over a dozen snarling, vicious Dire Rats.

Jim slices the nearest rat, cuts the thing in two with his axe, edges forward trying to make his way to the surrounded Barbarian.

The creatures screech and squeak it’s an all out attack, trying to defend their lair. Cas is bitten, not once but twice, both minor wounds on his legs but enough to get his dander up, he swings and misses, makes no headway against the horde. Newt strikes a glancing blow against one of the creatures, enough to keep him out of harms way. Anya looses Swish, sends the broom skittering down the slope, “Akkat”, the Magic Broom heads to war (to no effect). Anya sinks to the floor, braces herself so she cannot slip down further and begins to chant Arcane words, a moment later she’s up and striding purposefully down the slope, her Spider Climb spell having the desired effect. Jim fights on desperate to get to Bec, cuts another two of the foul creatures down, he’s getting closer. The Barbarian however is attacked on all sides, bitten again and again, he loses it.

“RAAAAAAAAA-TS. BLUDDDDDEEEEEEEE RAAAAAAAATS.”

He Rages, swings and swats, clears a circle around him but does no harm to the retreating vermin. However the Dire Rats are soon wise to this trick, they take it in turns to attempt to leap in at the Barbarian, who crashes about swinging wildly, to absolutely no effect, he’s bitten again in the process.

“RAAAAAAAAAAATS.”

Anya scrambles up and along a wall then up onto the ceiling, completely out of the Dire Rats reach, she grabs her Burning Hands Wand from the folds of her robes.

“BEC. BEC.”

Jim cuts another of the creatures down, the Barbarian however is not listening still a bundle of fury swinging without aim- the Dire Rats stay out of his reach. Ala and Cas are now fighting side by side, the Paladin stabs down, wounding one of the huge beasts, Ala misses the rat that leaps at her, it bites her on the arm, and is gone, back into the pack. Newt is still surrounded, backed up against the slope, he can’t keep them all at bay, he’s bitten again, on the hand, necessitating a brief tug of war with the creature, he eventually rips his limb from the Dire Rats maw and fights on wounding another in the process, blood arcs and splatters from his hand as he swings. Swish, the Magical Broom, is being bitten and slashed by a pair of the Dire Rats, to no great affect- the wooden shaft still intact, the brooms attacks are however completely ineffective.

“FLAME ON.”

A swathe of fire lances down from the ceiling, cuts through the Dire Rats in an instant leaving two smouldering corpses and three others now very badly burnt. The creatures panic, snarl and snap; still threatening they begin to move away from the vicious interlopers.

“FLAME ON.”

The fire comes again, catching only one of the creatures but leaving it a blackened flaming mess, the rats finally flee. Swish manages to catch one square on its jaw, a roundhouse move- the Dire Rat slumps to the floor. Cas slashes at a straggler, sends it to hell, Jim cuts down another two. Bec follows the fleeing creatures in a fury, and now connecting, nearly half-a-dozen of the creatures meet their end on his sword.

Alas the raging Barbarian doesn’t stop there, runs towards the last of the Dire Rats, disappearing into a tunnel on the eastern wall of the chamber.

THUMP

He comes to a sudden halt. Bec doesn’t fit, or rather his two handed weapons doesn’t fit down the tunnel, simple enough, he abandons them, draws his longsword and scampers off after the foul creatures.

“BEC. Nooooooo.”

Anya’s after him, the others gather themselves together for a second, exchange glances, and race off after the pair.

Bec meanwhile has found new foes to slay, the tight tunnel splits two ways, Bec heads left and directly into a Rats nest, the fleeing Dire Rats turn and snarl- leap back at the Barbarian, the pair are swiftly cut down, although its close quarters the Barbarian’s swordplay wins the day.

Cautiously stepping into the Barbarian’s light are an even larger pair of Dire Rats, these creatures matt black in colour, except for their twisted red horns that jut from their skulls- Fiends. More Dire Rats emerge into the nest from the myriad tunnels, Bec glances backwards yet more of them are coming at him from behind, there’s obviously another nest near by.

Anya flings her sunrod forward, it illuminates the rats ahead, and at the edge of the light the Barbarian’s armoured form, more Dire Rats turn as they spot her, rush towards her, she can hear the others following on behind her, there’s no space to turn she cannot get out…

“FLAME ON.”

Next Turn: Dire Straits.
 

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