Red Mills

Red Mills (Session 9) – The Price of Victory


Dramatis Personae
Noah playing Igorok the wizard.
Tess playing Tinus the sorcerer.
Issac playing Issac (B’Fai) the barbarian, then Bobby the paladin.
Elliott playing Varis the druid.
Robin playing Rashi the rogue.


Yartalla, Igorok and Sendalf were unconscious, Bobo went quiet and only Tinus, B’Fai, Varis, Rashi and little Ida were left in the fight.

Varis advanced back into the church trying to heal his comrades as he went but he was soon engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with one of the undead actors. Tinus let more magic force arrows fly, this attracted the attentions of Murter on the altar who in turn fired similar arrows at Tinus, knocking him out. Igorok, who had been healed by Varis got up and ran up the aisle towards the altar, but Murter knocked him down yet again. B’Fai likewise fell due to injuries and as his attacker stood over him about to deal the killing blow Ida ran forward and distracted him with her dancing lights. Rashi ran after the girl and grabbed her with one hand, pushed her behind her and let an arrow loose, slaying the wight.
“Stay behind me!” she told the child, “It’s not safe for you!”
“Okay, but …”
“No, buts! Do as I tell you! Stay safe.”

Murter seeing that his troops were all gone but one, descended from the altar and strode up the aisle growling. Varis with the help of another arrow from Rashi finished the last wight off but then Murter was on him, slashing with his sword. The druid was in trouble.

Ida squirmed from behind Rashi and ran into the church. She tried to distract Murter with her lights but he was unaffected so she stooped and picked a dropped dagger from the floor. Rashi fired again and missed. Varis could tell that Tinus was dying so instead of fighting back against Murter, he cured the sorcerer from afar. Murter sliced into Varis but Ida ran behind him and stuck her dagger in his leg. Varis taking advantage from the distraction Ida had caused hit the wight but he responded with a savage blow and Varis sank to the floor. Ida stabbed him again and then tried to run to get to Igorok who was nearly dead but the wight backhanded her as she went and the child fell to the floor. Tinus was up and blasted Murter with flaming magic arrows and then Rashi took careful aim and loosed an arrow at the wight, piercing his head. He fell to the floor.

B’Fai shook himself awake and together he, Tinus and Rashi examined the others. Varis and Ida were unconscious but it looked like they would live. Somehow Igorok opened his eyes and struggled to his feet.

They had won. Quickly they ran to the altar. Coop was unconscious but breathing on altar. They took her down and noticed a strange an amulet around her neck with evil runes. They debated what to do for a little while and then took it off and Coop, the strange looking woman with copper skin transformed into a sleeping copper dragon. That explained her unusual behaviour. But she was obviously wounded and not fit for action.

B’Fai looked around and noticed two doors, one on the left and one on the right. He opened the one on the left and strode confidently into a chamber which acted as a reception room for the back door to the outside. However there was a sixth actor turned wight here who was obviously guarding that back door and who now sprang upon the wounded half-orc. He struck B’Fai, knocking him down and stepping over the body he blocked the doorway. Tinus, Igorok and Rashi fought this undead thespian as hard and as quickly as they could but they were weak from the earlier fight and it took longer than they expected and by the time they reached B’Fai he had bled out. Their friend was dead.

Igorok noticed another internal door in the room, it was locked and he attempted to force it open. Weak though he was at the best of times and despite being badly wounded he must have struck it just so and it opened onto a stairwell down. There was a further door opposite the one he had broken which leds to the room on the right but Igorok couldn’t replicate his feat. Instead he went around to the entrance from the main chapel and strode heedless into the room. Inside he found a half-orc paladin tied up. His name was Bobby and in return for his rescue he agreed to aid the group.

They took B’Fai’s body and laid it out on the altar saying their farewells as they bound their wounds, drank some water and ate some tasteless food. The world seemed greyer without their friend.

Bobby, true to his word went around sharing his healing between everyone. Varis and Ida were restored to consciousness and they decided to head down the stairs.
“Ida, stay here” said Rashi.
She looked between them with sad eyes.
“No” said Igorok, “stay here, it’s not safe.”
“Oh, okay” said the child sadly. Afraid to be without her new friends and protectors.

Leaving her hiding in the pews they went to the stairs and descended into the dark. They found a large crypt with four rows of eighteen stone coffins.  At the far end of the room stalked the dreadful figure of a skeleton with a small dragon skeleton pulsating with a red glow in his chest. Talbor! Near the fiend at the top of the room was the actors’ dressing table and mirror.

Tinus ran in carrying the wooden crown, followed by Varis, who had turned into a rat and who hid between the stone coffins. Igorok charged up the right and Bobby joined Tinus in the centre. Rashi stayed at the bottom of the stairs, within range of Talbor. As they advanced against him, Talbor waved his hand toward some coffins and the lids slide open and skeletons emerged. Igorok charged into them and was cut down. Tinus advanced as far as he could then rolled the wooden crown between two coffins. With another wave of Talbors hand more skeletons emerged and then a bright red moonbeam illuminated the room and Tinus and Bobby were both burned by it. They were outnumbered and blocked. Varis was in rat form and scurried between the coffins to the crown. He struggled to carry it in his mouth and hid between the coffins all the time avoiding the gaze of Talbor.

The skeletons didn’t appear to notice Varis who paused to look at Igorok who was bleeding badly and whose breath was failing. He would have had to turn back into human form to help him and then he too would have died and the crown would have been discovered. Bobby got hit by skeletons and by the moonbeam and went down quickly followed by Tinus. Rashi was cut off from the others and was totally outnumbered, so she retreated up the stairs. She went to check if Ida was okay and if there were more undead coming into the church by the door. She went through the right hand room where Bobby had been imprisoned. But Ida had heard the screams of her friends dying and she went the other way, through the room where B’Fai died. She reached the top of the stairs just as the skeletons chasing Rashi clambered up. They stabbed her viciously and she fell in a heap. Rashi dashed in and grabbed her and ran out to the main chapel where she hid in the pews. The skeletons thought she had left by the main door and returned down the stairs. Rashi held Ida as her breathing got fainter and fainter and finally stopped.  She rocked back and forth holding the dead child and slowly her disbelief and grief turned to anger and with renewed courage she ran back down the stairs heedless of her own safety.

Varis is stuck. If he moves Talbor will see him. Around him the skeletons are returning to their coffins. The situation seems hopeless. Bobby had woken up, but is playing dead while surrounded by so many enemies. Then Rashi emerges from the stairwell screaming in the agony of vengeance. Talbor’s attention turns to her and he moves towards her, his moonbeam immediately finding her. She is easy prey, she won’t last long, but Rashi doesn’t care. Rashi wants revenge on this monster.

Varis seizes his chance and dashes for the mirror then turns from a rat back to a person. Talbor finally sees him and moonbeams him, but Varis survives the burning and extends the wooden crown towards the mirror. In the reflection he sees himself extending a beautiful bejeweled crown and then, as if by magic, the real thing is in his hand. Varis misty steps away from the moonbeam has activates his flame blade pointing it at the ruby on top of the crown. Talbor creates a huge fireball, it grows and grows in front of his hand.
“Put that down carefully or I will kill you!” a coarse voice emanated from the skeletal figure.
“Leave now and you will live. Make any move against that ruby and I will destroy you utterly.”

The fireball glowed in front of Talbor’s arm. Varis looked at the ruby, it was pulsing in time with the red pulsing in Talbor’s chest. De-dum, de-dum. Talbor’s heart beat in his chest and in the ruby. De-dum, de-dum. Varis looked around the room. His friends lay dead or dying and he knew that this fiend would not stop until everyone in the land followed suit. De-dum, de-dum. He looked Talbor in the eye, took what he knew would be his last breath and stabbed the ruby.

As his sword moved, Talbor’s fireball flew and exploded on Varis. He was blown lifeless across the room but Talbor’s screams of agony echoed louder even than the explosion. Varis’s sword had pieced the ruby and Talbor’s cold heart has stopped. De-dum, de-

Talbor froze where he stood and slowly his bones turned to stone. Then he aged hundreds of years in the space a heartbeat that would never come for him again and slowly he crumbled to dust.

The silence in the room was cut off by the rattle of bones as all the skeletons immediately fell lifeless to the floor. All across the land the other undead crumpled too.

Bobby got slowly and painfully to his feet and went to Varis’ charred remains. Somehow he had not been killed outright, there was a faint rasping breath. Quickly the paladin poured lifeforce into the brave druid and his eyes flickered open with a smile. Bobby found Tinus and revived him too. Rashi was sitting in tears on the stairs. Together they found Igorok under a pile of bones, but they knew that he was beyond saving.

Tinus took the wooden ruby necklace to the mirror and exchanged it for the real thing. It was clearly worth a fortune. Then they went back up to the main chapel and found Coop awake and in human form. She told them that all the undead had stopped. They had defeated Talbor and his army of the undead. They had saved the people of Red Mills.

They put Igorok in a coffin and in accordance with his clan’s customs, they cut off his head. Then they put the Crown of Azertina in with him. In the next coffin they laid out little Ida and beyond her brave B’Fai. Then they mounted the stairs and walked out as the sun set in the west across the lake.

They took the boat back across the river and climbed the hill with a heavy heart to the stone circle. Using the rune Taldar had given them, Varis activated the stones and they disappeared, leaving the moon to rise clear and yellow over the abandoned town of Pelville.


 

Red Mills

Red Mill XP Update

I haven’t had time to write the summary for session 9 yet, but wanted to do the XP before we played again.

I am totaling the XP for all the encounters across the two sessions (8&9) and then dividing it by the total of survivors for each session. Replacement characters that start mid-game don’t get a share for the amount they were there. So Bobby get a 1/2 share, since he was there for about half the session.

For Session 8, Igorok, Bobo, Tinus, B’Fai, Sendalf and Yartalla get a share (that’s 6) and for Session 9, Tinus, Varis and Rashi get shares, that’s 3. So a grand total of 9.5 shares.

Zombies in the woods x 7 = 50 x 7 = 350
Skeletons by the boats x 2 = 50 x 2 = 100
The Rebel Soldier Zombies x 4 = 100 x 4 = 400
The Undead (wight) Thespians x 6 = 700 x 6 = 4200
Talbor an undead Dragon Lord x 1 = 5900 x 1 = 5900

For a total of 10950XP, divided by 9.5 is 1153 per share (576 for a half).

Tinus 3171 + 1153  + 1153 = 5477XP Level 4
Igorok 3171 + 1153 + dead = 4324XP. But slightly dead, see (1) below.
Bobo 3171 + 1153 + 0 = 4324XP Level 4
B’Fai 2871 + 1153 + dead = 4024XP. But also dead, see (2).
Varis 2842 + 0 + 1153 = 3995XP Level 4
Bobby 3362 + 0 + 576 = 3938XP Level 4
Rashi 2531 + 0 + 1153 = 3684XP Level 4 !!! Rashi levels up!
(Noah’s new character) 3512XP Level 4
Sendalf 1536 + 1153 + 0 = 2689XP Level 3
Yartalla 1315 + 1153 + 0 = 2468XP Level 3

 

When you die in my games, you lose half of what you gained from the group’s current base level or your level, whichever is lower. Since most people are level 4, that’s the base level, which starts at 2700XP so …
1. Noah’s new character starts at ((4324 – 2700) / 2) + 2700 = 3512 (level 4)
2. Issac’s new character, Bobby, starts at ((4024 – 2700) / 2) + 2700 = 3362 (level 4)


Next Game is Saturday July 13th 2019


Red Mills

Red Mills (Session 8) – Looking for a Mirror


Dramatis Personae
Noah playing Igorok the wizard.
Karl playing Bobo the rogue.
Tess playing Tinus the sorcerer.
Issac playing Issac (B’Fai) the barbarian.
Sam playing Yartella the fighter.
Senan playing Sendalf the druid.


The group followed the refugees from Pelville back to Red Mills. They met Lady Altea who was concerned about the threat from the undead but seemed to be confident that the walls of Red Mills would hold. She sent a patrol out under Captain Alstine Dalker.

In the town they did the usual shopping but Igorok, true to character, did some unusual shopping and bought a supply of wood. He then proceeded to build a bunker, getting permission to build it on the main island, near Taldar’s Tower. Don’t confuse Taldar with Talbor! Taldar is the main mage in Red Mills, Talbor is the undead Dragon Lord currently terrorising the territory.

Later in the day the called on Taldar. He was friendly enough and examined the wooden crown they took from the actors. There was definitely magic in it or it was under some magical constraint. He held it up to a mirror and in the mirror it was a bejeweled crown fit for a king or queen, but in his hand was still the wooden crown. Putting it on had no effect, other than the wearer could see a real crown in the mirror, on the crown amongst many other jewels was a large ruby that reminded them of the glow in the skeletal figure on the hill. The same thing happened with the ruby necklace, in the hand it was wooded, in the mirror it looked real.

“Have you come across any unusual mirror during your adventures?” Taldar asked.
“No, sorry” they almost all chorused.
“Emm, there was that one in the actors’ wagon; part of a dressing table, but it was too big to take”, B’Fai remembered.
“Well, I’m guessing that the real crown can be reached through some mirror and guessing again, I think the actors’ mirror is probably the one”, mused Taldar.
“Where was it now?” he added.
“We burned it in the wagon.”
“That’s a problem, but if it is that mirror then it contains powerful magic and it probably survived. Perhaps you should go back for it.”
“It’s in Pelville.”
“That’s a problem, but I can get you there quickly.”
“How?”
“Well using the magic stone circles, or course!”

And with that he led them out of the tower, across the bridges and south out of town to a bare hill. On top of the hill was an ancient circle of large standing stones. He handed them a small stone with runes carved on it.
“This will get you back. If you survive. Good Luck!”
And stepping out of the circle he started to chant. The stones seemed to quiver then they started to rotate around them and with a sharp pain they found themselves transported to the stone circle outside Pelville.

They looked around. They were in a stone circle on a hill to the southwest of town. Below them the river ran by quietly. From where they were they couldn’t see the site of the bridge because a wood was blocking the view. As they looked at the woods a small figure stumbled out of it and shuffled slowly up the hill towards them. Its clothes were in tatters and its blonde hair was matted to its head and across its face. It was or at least used to be a little girl, someone who didn’t quite escape with the rest of Pelville.

Sadly B’Fai moved forward to kill the zombie.
“Where’s my mummy?” asked the zombie.
The battle axe stopped in mid-swing.
“Eh, what?”
“Where’s my mummy?”
“She’s alive!” B’Fai called and the others ran over.
“What’s your name?”
“Ida”
“Where did you last see your mummy?”
“There!” said the girl, pointing across the river towards Pelville.
“You’d better come with us”
“Where are you going? Is my mummy there?”
“We don’t know. Did you see a burnt wagon, over by the bridge?”
“The bridge is gone. It burned. The things took the wagon”
“What things? The undead?”
She nodded.
“Where did they take it?”
She pointed into town.

They decided to get off the hill and down to a nearby farm house. As they entered a narrow woods seven more figures shambled towards them. These didn’t answer when spoken to and the group made short work of these real zombies.

“It’s dangerous just being here, how are we going to get across the river?”
“The boats! The boats the refugees used must still be by the river!” exclaimed Igorok and B’Fai and they ran off together. The rest followed with a collective sigh.

The boats were indeed where the fleeing citizens had left them but the mage and the barbarian also ran into some unwanted company. Two skeletal warriors. The battle was short but it was lucky the others arrived when they did. Afterwards they all loaded up into the boats, including Ida and under Igorok’s instruction with his boat handling knowledge from his pirate days, they crossed safely.

The streets of the town were deserted. Igorok decided to stay with the boats and Ida and while everyone was gone he tried to teach her a cantrip. She proved an eager and excellent student and soon mastered dancing lights.

B’Fai went northeast around the outskirts of town.

Tinus, Yartalla and Sendalf just walked up the street towards the church where they could see the wagon. Bobo clambered up onto the roofs and kept pace with them. Crossing over a potion shop whose doors were wide open.

As they approached the plaza in front of the church, four armed figures emerged from the shadows. The skin on their faces was black and blue and clearly dead. Their eyes a glowing red. But for all that they recognised them as the four deserters who had been turned into powerful zombies. Tinus, Yartalla, Sendalf and Bobo fought them and although they were tough they finished them before B’Fai could arrive. He was annoyed that he had missed the action. They examined the burnt remains of the wagon and found that the mirror was gone. They waved to Igorok, who hurried up the street with Ida and together they turned to face the doors of St Deckon’s church.

They opened the doors and inside the church five familiar figures turned to face them. It was the actors, or rather their bodies reanimated.
“Let’s stop killing people” quipped Bobo, “they keep coming back!”
Murter, or what used to be Murter, was standing by the altar with another familiar figure chained to it.
“I know you!” said the woman with bronze skin and golden eyes. It was Coop and they had arrived just in time to stop her being sacrificed.

Glowing arrows flew in both directions. Murter was using magic too. Yartalla, B’Fai, Sendalf and Igorok advanced with support from Bobo, Tinus and even Ida who started casting Dancing Lights at the heads of the actors to try to distract them. But the undead actors were much tougher than any zombies and skeletons they had fought so far. Between them the heroes managed to kill two but Yartalla and Igorok went down in the church and as they started to retreat, Sendalf also fell by the door.


Things are looking extremely bad for our heroes and if they fail for all of Red Mills.

I am not awarding any XP yet since we finished mid-battle in the middle of a mission. I will calculate it all after the next session if anyone survives. Muh-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Speaking of which …


Next Session is Saturday 6th July


Red Mills

Red Mills (Session 7) – The Looting and Fall of Pelville


Dramatis Personae
Noah playing Igorok the wizard.
Karl playing Bobo the rogue.
Tess playing Tinus the sorcerer.
Issac playing Issac (B’Fai) the barbarian.
Elliott playing Varis the druid.
Sam playing Yartella the fighter.
Senan playing Sendalf the druid.


The group started to leave the gatehouse when they encountered a druid named Sendalf. He had taken shelter in the town from the undead hoard and since the more the merrier in a crisis, they asked him to join them and he accepted.

As they stepped out the door they met Lady Hurwich rushing past. She was taking advantage of a lull in the fighting to check the north wall.
“We cannot hold for long” she said, “someone needs to get the civilians, the little children out!”.
“Okay we’ll look after it.”
“Goodbye” she said as she return towards her troops at the breach in the west wall, “it was a nice town. Just get my people out, we will hold as long as we can.”

The group headed down towards the quays. The only way to get the people out was by boat. The situation was too dangerous outside the walls to try and reach the bridge over the Yarn towards Red Mills. As they approached the quays they reached the alchemist’s shop. It looked abandoned, so they decided to have a quick look inside. B’Fai took out his axe and approached the door. But, before he could strike it, a thought stuck him first. He reached down and tried the handle. The door was not locked and opened easily. Shrugging, he gently closed the door again and then smashed it open with his axe. If you are going to loot a town on the verge of collapse, you have to do it right.

WhitePotion.pngRedPotion.pngInside the shelves were pretty bare. It looked as if they had been hurriedly swept clean of all their contents. But Igorok searched carefully and uncovered three potions that had been left behind. One was a chalky white colour, the second was a pale blue and the third a bright red.BluePotion.png Unsure of their effects he stuffed them in his backpack. Meanwhile B’Fai had found another adversarial door.

Outside Coop, the strange lady with copper skin and golden eyes, waited impatiently. “It’s not in there. I know it’s not in there!”
Bobo was the last member of the group on the street and was unsure how to respond, it sounded like the others were having more fun in there than it was out here. He edged closer to the door.

“Krash!” went the inner door under B’Fai’s axe. He didn’t even check if this one was open or not. It didn’t matter either way, it was open now. Behind the smashed door was a laboratory where the alchemist made potions. There was yet another door on the opposite wall, this one was to the outside and it was wide open and it intended to stay that way because closing seemed like a death sentence right now and it was just a young GiantSkeletalSpider.jpgdoor with its whole life ahead of it. It swung open wider in the gentle breeze and tried to stay out of the way, tried to look more like an archway than a doorway. It must have been through this wide opening that the giant skeletal spider had got in. Giant skeletal spiders cannot smile, but if they could this one would have and it certainly attacked the barbarian with glee.

Axes swang, arrows flew, swords thrust forwards, fiery glowing arrows sped through the air. The gleeful undead spider lasted only moments. When it was over B’Fai found an arrow sticking out of the back of his shoulder. He pulled it out, walked over to the apologetically smiling Rashi and snapped it meaningfully under her nose.
“Sorry, accident” said Rashi.
“Grrrrrr” said B’Fai and stormed out into the street.

They found three unfinished potions in the alchemist’s workshop and although unsure of their quality they took them. Meanwhile Igorok attempted to take out the dead spider’s poisonous fangs. At the critical moment his hand slipped and he cut himself on the razor sharp teeth. Quickly he sucked on the shallow wound and spat any poison out in time.

They left and as they continued down the road the sign saying “Forester’s Alchemy Shoppe” fell off the building and quietly hid with a whimper.
“We’re open,” said the surviving door to anyone who listened, “wide open.”

As they continued on their way to the quays, the sounds of battle reached them from the western wall. The guards were shouting more now in alarm and agony than in victory. Things were clearly not going well.

There was chaos at the quays. About two thousand people and only six boats, each capable of holding about fifty people. They considered stacking halflings in one but then quickly realised that they could just use the boats as ferries to get people across the river. As long as the undead couldn’t follow them then they should be safe and there was only one bridge, they would see what they could do about it.

Once the ferrying had started they went along the quays towards the corner of the wall closest to the bridge. On the way they passed the blacksmith’s and in the theme of the alchemist’s they dropped in. B’Fai found some better armour and quickly put it on and the others grabbed some spare weapons and stocked up on arrows.

As they were leaving they spotted the actors’ covered wagon heading for the corner of the wall. When they reached the wooden parapet, magic flew from the various thespians and they blew a hole through the woods. They drove their wagon through and the wall suddenly filled in behind them.

The group hurried up and Varis sent his magic rope to the top of the wall so he could climb over. As he levered himself up he put he feet on the wall and swung right through. The repair had just been an illusion so nobody could follow them. They all ran through and saw the wagon speeding towards the bridge. They ran after them as quickly as they could.

Varis transformed into a panther and easily caught up. He climbed up on the roof. Sandalf, seeing Varis’ idea followed suit and also became a panther. Rashi and Bobo caught up with the wagon and went to either side. The others followed behind taking what shots they could. Igorok repeatedly firebolted the back steps until a small fire started. Whispered suggestions came from the wagon, but everyone ignored them. Tinus sent glowing arrow after glowing arrow into one of the two horses pulling the vehicle and finally just as they reached the bridge the horse fell and the wagon ground to a halt.CoveredWagon2.jpg

Varis leapt onto the driver and started clawing at him. Sandalf soon came over the top of the wagon and joined the fray. The door opened and two of the actors went after Rashi and Bobo, using their magic to try and paralyze them. Rashi was lucky, Bobo wasn’t. B’Fai jumped over the burning steps and smashed in the door. One of the actors attacking Varis peeled off to face the barbarian. Rashi’s luck now turned sour as Igorok called up a thunder clap of wind and knocked the unstable wagon over onto the actor she was fighting and on her. She scrambled out, alive but shaken.

Yartella threw deadly javelins at the foe and Tinus fired more magic arrows but the thespians were tough and their magic was giving them an edge. But then one by one they started to fall. Igorok came around the wagon and went to help Rashi. But the actor turned and suggested that instead he attack that person wildly throwing javelins. The wizard went after Yartella but his wild attacks missed. Then Bobo broke free of his paralysis and moved onto the bridge and hid.

The second last actor died and Igorok came out from the effects of his spell. Yartella was about to kill him but spared him when she saw him come back to normal. The wizard turned and screamed at the last actor. “I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna rip your tongue out!” But the remaining actor, Murter, was already running away onto the bridge, he was getting away.

Then Bobo rose up from behind the dead horse and loosed an arrow that struck the actor in the eye and instantly killed him. He fell and Igorok enraged that he couldn’t carry out the first half of his threat, nonetheless completed the second.

As the fight ended they looked around they could see Lady Hurwich’s forces were now making a desperate last stand and as they watched her standard fell and the army of the undead washed over her into her undefended town.

But then they noticed yet another battalion of skeletons marching towards them. Towards the bridge. If them got over then the refugees were doomed. The small fire on the wagon was growing and this gave them the idea of burning the bridge completely.

First they did a very quick search of the actor’s wagon. On an overtuned dressing table with a large mirror was the wooden crown and a necklace of wooden baubles painted to look like rubies. They grabbed these two items and then under the disheveled costumes B’Fai found a chest. He dragged it out and using a key found on Murter’s body he opened it to find about two thousand gold pieces. Enough to pay off their debt to the Kalla! In fact this was where the Kalla’s money had gone. It was the actors who had robbed the theatres.

Spreading oil across the bridge and on the supporting trusses they light the bridge and retreated south to safety and watch it burn. The skeleton battalion reached the flames and stopped, thwarted in their attempt to pursue. As they watch the bridge burn they cast detect magic and saw that the wooden crown and the wooden necklace glowed softly. Somehow they were magical, but what they were, what they did or how they worked they could not discern.

When the bridge collapsed the group headed down to the bank of the Yarn and started to organise the survivors to head towards Red Mills. They looked up at the hill to the north of Pelville and the figure standing there bathed in crimson moonlight looked back at them with displeasure. They could feel his anger and hatred and Talbor lifted his bony hand and pointed at them and the red moonbeam sped from him over half a mile to them. The beam burned them and they struggled out from under it dragging the unconscious Rashi and Tinus with them. Varis and Sendalf revive the two and they all head south with the refugees. As they look back they see that bone spiders have come to the river next to the burnt out bridge. One of them stands on its four back legs and holds out its front four. A second spider climbs over the first and grips its comrade’s outstretched legs with its back legs and holds out its front ones. A third climbs over both of them, they are making a bridge of their bodies.

The group hurried south back toward Red Mills, knowing that the undead army of Talbor were not far behind.


XP

1 Bone Spider = 1 x 200 = 200XP
Evacuating the refugees = 500XP
5 Thespians = 5 x 450 = 2250XP
Solving the Theatre Caper = 500XP
Finding the Wooden Crown = 500XP
Destroying the Bridge = 500XP

For a total of 4450, divided by 7 is 636XP each.

Igorok 2535 + 636 = 3171XP Level 4 !!!
Bobo 2535 + 636 = 3171XP Level 4 !!!
Tinus 2535 + 636 = 3171XP Level 4 !!!
Issac 2235 + 636 = 2871XP Level 4 !!!
Varis 2206 + 636 = 2842XP Level 4 !!!
Rashi 1895 + 636 = 2531XP Level 3
Sendalf 900 + 636 = 1536XP Level 3
Yartalla 679 + 636 = 1315XP Level 3 !!!

Congratulations to Noah, Karl, Tess, Issac, Elliott and Sam.
Igorok, Bobo, Tinus, Issac (B’Fai) and Varis are now level 4 and Yartalla is now level 3.


Red Mills

Red Mills (Session 6) – Attack on Pelville


Dramatis Personae
Noah playing Igorok the wizard.
Karl playing Bobo the rogue.
Tess playing Tinus the sorcerer.
Issac playing Issac (B’Fai) the barbarian.
Elliott playing Varis the druid.


Dawn found the group at the western gate of Pelville. They approached and were challenged by the guards, who all carry shields with the Pelville coat of arms, a blue and green field with a white sea-horse. The group shouted up that an army of the undead were coming this way, only minutes behind them. The captain of the guard met them at the gate and escorted them to a holding area.  She told them to wait for Lady Hurwich who would discuss the matter with them. They asked if any refugee boats had come from Arlsfort and were told that they had not.

While waiting they noticed a wanted dead or alive poster for four mutinous soldiers, Sergeant Jar Santon, Corporal Larshall Miner and Privates Ront Weaver and Elsienora Rolate. These were the four they had killed and they bemoaned the loss of the reward.

Lady Hurwich arrives and informs them that there is no army of the undead outside the walls. However she has sent a patrol out and they will pass by Arlsfort and report back.  She has other things to worry about. The takings from last night’s show at The Shell are missing and strange things are happening. A young noble lady has gone mad and is going around claiming her expensive jeweled necklace has been switched for wooden painted baubles when it’s clearly right there on her neck.  In the meantime the group are free to enter the town as long as they obey the law, cause no trouble and do not alarm the citizens. They agree.

The group enter the town and wander around. They notice that they are being followed by guards but can do nothing about it so they start by finding a place to stay. Tinus and Bobo perform at The Twelve Oaks and the proprietor offers them a room for the night if they perform that evening. They haggle a room for all of them for 1 gp.

Wandering the town they admire The Shell Theatre, a large theatre in the shape of an open oyster shell. They recognise the play that is on, it is The Tragedie of Queene Flavia. There is an evening show and an afternoon matinee. They decide to avoid it. They visit a blacksmith and an apothecary. There are potions for sale but they are expensive. Back on the streets Varis turns into a mouse to try to avoid the prying eyes of the town guard and is soon running for his life from an alley cat.

Igorok wanders the town and spots the Thespians’ wagon behind The Shell Theatre. He tries to get in the back door but it is locked. As he walks around the wagon he is confronted by Murter. Igorok runs for it as the actor suggests he come back. Igorok barely resists the instruction and he casts a fire-bolt back at the actor. A guard steps from the shadows and sticking his fingers in his mouth emits a sharp shrill whistle. He is answered by several other whistles and in moments Igorok finds himself surrounded at sword point by six guards. They take him to the north gatehouse. Take all his gear and all his clothes except for spare underclothes. They put him in a cell.

The rest hear the commotion but can do nothing about it. They are still worn out from the night before in Arlsfort. They decide to rescue him later and they all go back to The Twelve Oaks and get a good sleep. Igorok sleeps as best he can in his cold windowless cell. He awakes to the happy news that he is to be hanged at dawn and he is given some thin sloppy gruel with slivers of unidentifiable meat as his last supper. He decides it is probably best that the meat remains unidentified.

When the group awake they hear of the sentence of death and find out that he will be hanged outside the battlements in the morning. They plot and plan for his rescue.

They find Lady Hurwich and she tells them that the patrol returned safely but that Arlsfort was abandoned. Nobody, living or dead, or for that matter undead was there. She is clearly suspicious that they have done something and made up the story of the undead when there is a shout from the quay along the river. Three boats full of refugees from Arlsfort arrive. They verify the group’s story and Lady Hurwich doubles the guard on the walls and send messengers out to all the local farms telling them to come inside the walls before dark. She however refuses to release or pardon Igorok. He is a common criminal and is to die at dawn.

The town is busy with farming families coming in. Their wagons line the streets with their little children peeking out. The Arlsfort refugees are bedding down wherever they can, still in shock. Everyone is frightened. The sun goes down and the blood red moon rises.

Everything is quiet for about an hour. Then there is a shout from the watchtowers. Something is coming fast through the fields of wheat straight for the walls. The group rush to protect a section of the wall just as giant skeletal spiders clamber effortlessly up. The battle of Pelville has begun.

The group find that the spider’s bite is bad but they still retain their poison and this makes their bite almost instantly deadly. The four battle for survival on the narrow parapet.

Meanwhile two guards march into Igorok’s cell. His execution has been brought forward because of the emergency. They gag him and tie his hands tightly behind his back. He cannot speak and he cannot move his hands, so he cannot cast any spells. They try to take him up onto the battlements of the gatehouse but there are undead spiders there fighting their fellow soldiers. So they take him to the watchtower near where the group are fighting for their lives. They put a noose around his neck, tie the rope securely. One asks him, if he has any last words, the other points at the gag, shrugs and pushes him off the tower. Igorok hears a loud snap and the world goes dark. Which is just as well because a giant skeletal figure crawls over him onto the top of the tower and attacks his executors.

 

There are spiders attacking all around the walls of the town but the group notice that a large number are gathering at the section just above the west gate. They clamber up and more and more join together into a large mass hanging from the wall. Slowly, painfully the section of wall tears away from the adjoining watchtowers and crashes to the ground. The walls of Pelville have been breached!

Varis jumps off the wall, lands with a painful grunt and runs to a spot below Igorok. He firebolts the hangman’s rope and the dwarf tumbles down onto him, tipping over and smashing his nose. Varis scoops him up, sends the magic rope of climbing up to the top of the watchtower and starts climbing up. Meanwhile Issac holds the spiders on the rampart at bay as Bobo and Tinus climb up the stairs of the watchtower. The guards are gone pursued by a spider and so Bobo and Tinus are able to start to pull Varis and Igorok up.

With one hand free, now that he doesn’t have to climb Varis opens a potion of healing and pours it into Igorok’s mouth. The dwarf splutters awake just as a giant skeletal form crawls over them up into the watchtower. The battle continues. Tinus goes down and is revived. Igorok goes down again and is again revived. But eventually they kill all the spiders in their area.

Meanwhile a division of skeletal warriors advance into the breach and are met by Lady Hurwich and the Pelville guards. The battle is hard but slowly the guards start to gain the advantage and then they annihilated the undead.

A lull comes in the fighting. The group look around. From the watchtower they can see figures on the hill to the north of the town. There is one skeleton which appears to have a small skeleton of another creature in its chest. The second skeleton has its snout embedded in the base of the humanoid skull. It looks like it might be that of a tiny malformed dragon. The red light from the moon seems concentrated on this figure and it glows with an eerie unsettling light. The figure raises its arm and another division of skeletal warrior step from the fields of wheat and advance on what is left of Lady Hurwich’s troops. Then the figure turns and raises its other arm in the direction of the town’s graveyard on the same hilltop. The ground around the graves starts to shake and burst and figures can be seen clawing their way to the surface.

The group dash from the watchtower and as they pass the gatehouse they run in to retrieve Igorok’s possessions. In the guard room they encounter a strange looking woman in impressive armour. She has copper coloured skin and golden eyes.

“I don’t know you” she said to Issac.
“And I don’t know you, or you”, she continued to Bobo and Varis.
“I don’t know you either”, she added to Tinus
“And I don’t think I want to know you” she said to Igorok who was wearing very little.

“Hi I’m Issac” replied the friendly half-orc and the rest also introduced themselves.
“Who exactly are you?” they asked.

“I can’t find it, I know it’s nearby, but I can’t find it” she replied.
“Is that it over there?” asked Igorok pointing at a small pile of his possessions.
“No, there’s nothing interesting here!” she answered somewhat annoyed.
“May I?” he asked and when she didn’t reply he ran to his gear and started dressing and repacking it.

“I don’t have much time, I have to find it”
“Find what?”
“The Crown of Azertina of course!”
“Eh, okay, why do you want that?”
“It has Talbor’s soul. Well it has a ruby that has Talbor’s soul in it. If I can find that and destroy it, then I can stop him.”
“Who is Talbor?”
“Who was Talbor?” she corrected, “He was a powerful wizard who fought in the first war against the Dragonlords. Not the war we lost fifteen years ago, the one before that, the one that everyone thought the Dragonlords had lost.”
“Talbor was captured near the end of the war and was turned into a Dragonlord himself. But then when the war ended he became something even worse and now he has awoken and he is leading an army of the undead this way.”
“Is he a glowing red skeleton with another skeleton inside him? Likes to order battalions of skeletons around and can raise a graveyard full of undead at the wave of a hand?”, Bobo inquired innocently.
“Yes” she replied with a raised eyebrow.
“Well he’s not coming. He’s here. Outside on the hill.”
“This crown you’re looking for, maybe the actors have it? They have one in their play.”
“No, I saw that today. That play is all wrong, it’s not the way it happened at all. Rock was much funnier and Flavia wasn’t mad just young. Betty didn’t just hate Amet, she hated all the gods. Nesing was not a mean dragon, he was a frightened young dragon just trying to stay alive. But anyway the actors’ crown is just wood and paint. We must find the real one or this town and all this land will die!”
“Okay, we’ll help you” they said, “What is your name?”
“Oh I can’t tell you my name, your little tongues could not pronounce it. But you may call me Coop.”

Outside the noise of battle intensified.


XP

Trying to warn Lady Hurwich: 300XP
Getting a room for the night at The Twelve Oaks: 200XP
A bit of mischief at the actors’ wagon: 300XP
Destroying 8 Bone Spiders: 8 x 200 = 1600XP
Surviving an execution: 500XP
Meeting Coop: 300XP

For a total of 3200XP, divided between 5 is 640XP each.

Igorok 1895 + 640 = 2535XP Level 3
Bobo 1895 + 640 = 2535XP Level 3
Tinus 1895 + 640 = 2535XP Level 3
Issac 1595 + 640 = 2235XP Level 3
Varis 1566 + 640 = 2206XP Level 3

Rashi 1895XP Level 3
Yartalla 679XP Level 2
Lil 600XP Level 2


Next Session is Saturday 8th June


Red Mills

Red Mills (Session 5) – “Are we the bad guys?”


Dramatis Personae
Robin playing Rashi the rogue.
Noah playing Igorok the wizard.
Karl playing Bobo the rogue.
Tess playing Tinus the sorcerer.
Issac playing Issac the barbarian.
Elliott playing Varis the druid.


The blood red moon rose over the hills and the group looked down on the town of Arlsfort. There were walls extending from a gatehouse, but they stopped before they reached the river to the east and in the west they just stopped at a small watch-tower.

Map showing Arlsfort and surrounding area

From there on there were markings on the ground showing where the walls would be once they were built. The gatehouse itself looked reasonably complete, but only one half of the gate had been completed. An excellently crafted study gate, but without a companion it did not block the road into town. There were about twelve or fifteen buildings which made up the town. One large inn, The Gingerbread Cat, and a smaller one down near the dock called The Bad Penny. There was a general store, a livery and a blacksmith’s workshop. Add to this and a dozen small houses in a varying degree of completion and you got the impression that Arlsfort was more of a concept than an actual town. Beyond the town a half finished bridge jutted out over the river Shunder.

Pulling the blankets more tightly over the bodies in the cart the group headed for the main gate. The prisoners in the barrel must have heard them talking about the town and they started to make noise. Issac opened the lid and persuaded them otherwise; they might wake again in a few hours.

They steered the cart through the gate and down main street. An impressive looking man approached them.
“Ah”, he said, “the heroes from Red Mills! I’m so glad you could come”, said Baron Feldar.
“Yes, we thought we could build a theatre and attract more people to the town.”
“Oh, perfect! Take a note of that!”, he added over his shoulder to a harried looking clerk. “What sort of a theatre?
“We were thinking of making it in the shape of a duck” and Igorok slipped the wooden duck from under his cloak to demonstrate, much to the alarm of the others.
“Oh my! How wonderful!”
“And it would float. A floating amphitheatre in the shape of a duck!”
“Splendid! I’ll build it if you do some small jobs for me!” and turning to the clerk he added, “Give this priority over everything else! This is key to our future!”
The clerk rolled his eyes as he unrolled his measuring tape and noted the proportions of Igorok’s duck which then quickly disappeared to a chorus of “What duck? What are you talking about?”
There was an awkward duckless red moonlit pause.
“Err, we should get some rooms for the night”, they said.
“Yes, may I recommend The Gingerbread Cat” said the baron.

The group went into The Gingerbread Cat and whereas it seemed like it would be a nice place when it was finished the view of the moon and the stars through the roof did not sit well with any of them apart from Issac. They moved on to The Bad Penny. When they opened the door the noise of the crowd and the smells of alcohol free beer and plain cooking hit their nostrils. Tinus and Bobo jumped on stage and played some merry tunes and Jana Jeve, the landlady, offered the two of them room and board. When they asked about the rest, she narrowed her eyes as if suddenly recognising them and tapped on the counter-top.
Tum-te-tum te-tum.
The group froze, she was Kalla, they were just about to plead for their lives when she added, “Special rates for members, one gold for room and board for all of you for the night.” Sighing they accepted and went back out to look after their cart and its contents.

They debated for a while as to what to do but eventually agreed that they should at least dump the bodies which were starting to smell in the summer heat. So they took the donkey and cart north out of town towards the small woods on the hill above the river. Issac, Igorok and Varis were in the cart, Tinus and Bobo were somewhat behind and a barrel with Rashi’s legs sticking out of it came along behind.

Once in the woods they took the live prisoners, Corporal Larshall Miner and Private Elsienora Rolate, from the barrel and began to interrogate them.
“What have you done to the moon?”
“That wasn’t us.”
“Maybe not you, but it was your cult!”
“No, no, honestly no”.
“How many of you are there in Red Mills?”
“About twenty.”

They were debating what to do with them when Varis spied a campfire through the trees further up the hill. They stuffed the prisoners back in the barrel and crept forward and saw that in the ruins of the original Arlsfort there was a large campfire with three Blood Moon orcs sitting around it. There was also a smaller fire, probably for cooking further back. Tinus, Bobo and Rashi joined the others and they all crept up to the low walls of the ruined fort. They noticed that the orcs were very still and didn’t seem to be moving at all. Then they realised that they were dummies made of old cloth stuffed with straw.

There was however movement near the smaller fire and Issac stole forward behind the wall to get a closer look. He could just make out one large female orc cooking at the fire and bringing food to smaller figures behind her. Then he heard a child’s voice say in orcish. “Why do the hoomans want to kills us?”
“Because we have come into what they think are their lands” said the she-orc in a gentle voice.
“Will they kills us? I’m frightened of them.”
“No, they’d have to find us first and our warriors will find a new place for us to live.”
“Away from Them?”
“Yes away from Them and the hoomans.”

Issac stepped out from behind the wall and walking forward he dumped his weapons and held up his empty hands.
“We come in peace”, he said.
The orc children started screaming in fear. Their ancient grandparents tried to quiet them as the only adult stepped forward to protect them all from the murdering invaders.
“No, no, we come in peace”, Issac insisted, “see, no weapons!” Then turning towards the others he repeated what he had heard and added “Show yourselves. Slowly.”
The rest of the group emerged from the shadows.
“Are we the bad guys?” whispered Varis.

“I am Issac” said Issac, “my orc name is B’Fai”.
“I am Hazzog” said the she-orc.
“Here have this food” said Issac, handing over a haunch of meat.
Hazzog took it gratefully and put it on a pan to fry.
The children whimpered in the background, but were encouraged by the smell of frying meat.
“Are you Blood Moon tribe?”
“Yes!”, she said defiantly.
“What have ye done to the moon?” he asked as the others came forward slowly.
“We did not do that” said Hazzog, “that was Them.”
“Why are you attacking hoomans?”
“We need to get away from Them and to do that we need to pass through your lands.”
“What’s going on?” asked the group and Issac translated.
“Okay”, said Bobo, “who exactly are Them?”
“Zekel” replied Hazzog.
“The Dead” translated Issac.

Hazzog explained that the Blood Moon tribe was running from a horde of undead coming down from the north. Some warriors had gone on ahead to try and find a way through the human lands or find place they could defend. Others like her were trying to move the young and the older members of the tribe. While others had stayed behind with the leader Shalzal, to try to slow the undead, but they were all gone now.

Everyone was just beginning to relax when one of the children complained of the cold.
“Sshhh” said Hazzog and stared in horror at her breath as it turned to fog in the summer evening. It was suddenly cold.
They’re coming!” she hissed and from out of the shadows stepped skeletal figures, dressed in tattered clothes and armour, brandishing short swords. There were at least a dozen of them.

The group sprang into action and Hazzog unwrapped a very shiny sword from some old cloth by the fire. During the fight Varis was badly wounded but everyone gave a good account of themselves. The group gathered around the orc children to protect them and they slowly overcame the large number of skeletons. Then just as suddenly as the skeletons had started, they stopped coming.

Relieved the group caught their breath. They looked out over the crumbling wall and by the eerie red light they saw hundreds more skeletons moving in their direction.
“Run!” they said and fled into the trees.
They soon reached the cart and the prisoners. They dumped them on the ground and moved on through the trees.
“We have to get to town and warn the people!” they agreed.
“But we can’t go into a hooman place” said Hazzog “and the Zekel will catch us, we are slow with the children and the old ones.”
“Take the cart!” they said and helped the children and older orcs onto their small wagon.
“Goodbye B’Fai and thank you!” said Hazzog and drove the cart at speed to the west.

The group ran on into the town. With the walls incomplete there was no way that the town could be defended. It had to be evacuated or everyone would die. They ran into the inns and raised the alarm. But no one would believe them at first, eventually a few went out to check and quickly came running back in alarm. The group then helped everyone onto the three boats that were tied up at the wharf and asked them to warn the other towns; Pelville and Red Mills. The people of Arlsfort sailed out into Lake Berleka to safety.

Running back to the livery our heroes took a horse each and rode through the gatehouse past the incomplete gate. They noticed Baron Feldar was there on the battlements with his ten soldiers. They tried and tried to convince him to leave, but he refused saying he would defend his town to the death. In the end as the hoard of undead drew near they gave up and galloped into the red moonlight all the way to Pelville.


End of Episode 5


XP

Meeting Baron Feldar and arranging to build the Duck Theatre: 200XP
Getting a room for the night at The Bad Penny: 200XP
Interrogating the prisoners: 300XP
Spotting the campfire and investigating: 300XP
Realizing that the three orcs were guard dummies: 300XP
Befriending Hazzog: 500XP
Protecting the orc children in the fight: 500XP
Destroying 12 Skeletons: 12 x 50 = 600XP
Giving Hazzog the donkey and cart: 500XP
Evacuating the town: 300XP

For a total of 3700XP, divided between 6 is 616XP each.

Rashi 1279 + 616 = 1895XP Level 3
Igorok 1279 + 616 = 1895XP Level 3
Bobo 1279 + 616 = 1895XP Level 3
Tinus 1279 + 616 = 1895XP Level 3
Issac 979 + 616 = 1595XP Level 3
Varis 950 + 616 = 1566XP Level 3

Yartalla 679XP Level 2
Lil 600XP Level 2


Next Session is Saturday 18th May


Scraps from the table

Phaexoha Yxqemb

My entry in this year’s (2019) One Page Dungeon Contest is called “Treasure Island Map”, because I had to give it an English name for the contest. It’s really called “Phaexoha Yxqemb” which is more intriguing or off-putting depending on your brain type. It’s a bit weird but could be used to pass the time some rainy afternoon.
A series of squiggly line nonsensical words

Last year (2018) I came joint 34th with “The Pyramid Scheme”, which is a little easier to understand, but maybe not so easy for all the party to survive. One of my classic moral dilemmas really. We’ll see if I do any better this time out, somehow I doubt it, I think the judges will find this year’s one annoying at best. Since you’ve come this far, I’ll give you a hint, it’s all in how you fold the paper.

A desert tale of death and betrayal