Friday, March 30, 2012

This old man always loses...

Sid explains why I can't win a trick.
My son always beats me at games- whether Munchkin, or Wiz War, or Carcassone, or Settler's of Catan, or Heroica. Perhaps he is a changeling and came with fairy luck...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Game Two: Thursday Night Castle Greyhawk

The heroes:
Hugenin: A cleric of St.Cuthbert, stern, humourless, and plate-clad- played by Pete.
Kenta: A wily thief and confidence-trickster, in black leather (of course)- played by Graham.
Lynx: A green-robed, animal-training Magic-User from the Gnarley Forest- played by Anastasia.
Vlam son of Drom: A dwarf, orphaned at birth, Free-City local- played by Mick.

After some debate, the party of adventurers began to move quietly across the broad expanse of Zagyg's Bridge. As they went, the dusk deepened around them. Neither Luna or Celene had come aloft in the heavens, and soon only the glimmer on the clouds would  light their way. There was just enough light to make out the quality of the work which had gone into the rope-bridge spanning the broken gap of the stone bridge. Whoever had made this spared no effort- holes were drilled into the stonework, and new, strong rope and timbers seemed to have been used. The party felt somewhat relieved. Still, as they crossed the gap single file, the raucous, drunken cries of goblins could still be heard ahead.

They gathered at the far side of the bridge, where a dim flickering light from a goblin fire somewhere allowed them to see into the arched passage between the two gatehouses. There they saw goblins moving to and fro, swaggering drunkenly and shoving and grabbing at one another- oblivious to the party watching them. Vlam was able to overhear some goblinish words- "Stone lady, get us more rats!" A scraping, sound was heard from out of sight to one side.

After some whispered discussion, the dwarf decided he would attempt to parlay with the seemingly merry goblins- apparently a lifetime spent amongst humans had repressed some of his racial urges. He stepped forward and announced himself, somewhat sternly but with no real threat. Two goblins stopped in their tracks, stared drunkenly at him. Then one of them pointed and said in goblinish-"Look! A stupid fat dwarf!" The other snickered and giggled. The dwarf blushed with humiliation.

An angry demand that they surrender only made them laugh harder. As more inebriated goblins stuck their heads out to look bleary-eyed at the dwarf, Vlam cursed and hefted his axes. "Attack!" he shouted. The first goblin went down, his snickering silenced.

Hugenin came in to bring his stout cudgel to bear on the goblins, while Kenta fired his bow at another in the doorway. Vlam swung again and missed. Lynx bravely rushed in and tried to clobber a goblin with her staff, but failed. The goblins struggled to deal with the sudden outburst of violence- those near at hand had no weapons. One swung the brandy bottle he held without effect. Another leapt on the magic-user, biting her viciously on the arm. Another stepped out and shouted in goblinish- Vlam understood: "Stone lady, help! Defend goblins!"

As the melee continued, more goblins began to emerge from both guardhouses- some had rusty shortswords, others short spears, and another carried, once more, an empty brandy bottle. The fight went back and forth. Vlam came to Lynx's aid, and slew the goblin which had bitten her, and she wisely retreated to safety, lighting her lantern to aid the party in the gathering gloom. Kenta slung his bow  and drew his sword, while Hugenin staved in the brains of one of the snickering, drunken goblins with his bronzewood cudgel. Some of the goblin's blows began to tell on the party- Vlam being slashed with a rusted sword and Hugenin jabbed with a spear. Suddenly a scraping sound, as of stone moving against stone, was heard, and the dwarf, peering a long moment into the darkness beyond the archway of the northern gatehouse, called out a warning- "Fall back! A statue walks!"

The party attempted a cautious withdrawal- this effort, as it happened, was not hampered by the goblins, who snickered and guffawed and withdrew themselves. More goblins came from within the southern gatehouse, bearing javelins, which they distributed to their companions. The scraping noise sounded again, and the party looked on in horror as a marble figure emerged into the lantern-light. Carved with exquisite skill in the form of a comely young maiden, the marble figure stepped in halting strides into the light, then turned towards the party. In one bloody stone hand, she clutched the crushed form of a huge rat, its innards and eyeballs bulging out and falling onto the cobbles at her feet. The adventurers, seeing this, ran onto the bridge, the javelins of the goblins clattering at their heels as they went.

To their relief, the stone figure moved to the spot just below the ancient raised portcullis, then halted. The stone hands gestured, as though reaching for the retreating figures, then were still. The goblins called out in dismay and frustration.

Determined to take advantage of the fact that, apparently, the animated statue could not leave the gatehouse, the party advanced once more to a point just beyond her reach. An exchange of missiles began- the goblins hurled javelins, Lynx threw stones with her sling, Kenta fired arrows. One of the goblins advanced stamping and cursing: "Stone lady, attack them!" But having groped pointlessly towards the adventurers for some moments,  the stone woman turned, and with grating steps moved into the shadows at the north of the archway. She stepped onto a plinth, and raised her arms upwards to a fixed position on the capstone. The scraping sounds ceased, and she was still.

Vlam hurled one of his axes, which struck the closest goblin and killed him. Vlam called out in Goblinish: "Stone woman- I have slain the goblin leader, now I rightly command you. Attack the goblins!" The stone figure was still. Running out of javelins, the goblins  desperately charged the party. A brief, violent struggle ensued, but now it seemed that fortune had chosen to favour only the adventurers. Several more of the goblins fell beneath axe, cudgel, and the sword of the thief, and the others, seeing which way the wind had turned, fled cursing to the west, and were lost in the shadows of Castle Greyhawk's great, silent courtyard.

The group congratulated themselves on having secured the Gatehouse, Lynx having tended to their wounds with balms and poultices, they made a cautious exploration. The figure of the statue was still and silent. The plinth upon which she stood bore an ornate inscription in the common tongue- The Handmaiden. They looked at her dubiously. She resembled a simple, beautiful sculpture, and nothing more, although one of her hands was still soaked in gore.

Hugenin the cleric and Lynx the mage explored the southern wing of the gatehouse. There they found a large chamber, the floor lined with filthy rags and skins. A stairwell, filled almost to the brim with rubble, was to the southeast. Empty brandy bottles were scattered about. In another corner, a scattered heap of rat bones lay beside a foul mound of goblin dung. Dagger-scratched graffiti could be seen here and there. To the south an archway gave onto a kind of broad open platform beneath the castles curtain wall. A low crenelated barricade lined the platform's edge. The whole area overlooked the canyon to the east, and the bridge.

Vlam and Kenta found a similar situation in the northern gatehouse, although the stairs there seemed to have been excavated sometime recently, to judge by the pile of soil and rubble nearby. Kenta, a torch held aloft, cautiously searched the newly cleared stairs. He found that they gave upon a partly excavated cellar. Several crates, apparently uncovered during the excavation, had been opened- this was the source of the brandy the goblins had been drinking. Two crates were empty, one was nearly full- nine bottles in all. Kenta looked in awe at the labels. The brandy was several hundred years old, and of exceptional quality.

Indeed, upstairs, Vlam, having carefully wiped off a mostly full bottle on his tunic, was sampling the brandy- never had he tasted it's like. He continued drinking, making himself comfortable on the rubble pile, as the party began taking parchment rubbings from the graffiti on the walls. Most of this was in the main entry-tunnel- apparently it was something of a tradition for adventurers to make a mark here. Some of the graffiti was ribald or humorous, such the one, signed "the Fox" beside the statue: "If only she were flesh!" Others were melancholy, in memory of comrades who had fallen in the dungeons below.

Having taken what they had come for, the adventurers decided it was best to return to the city, not wanting to spend the night at Castle Greyhawk. With some difficulty they managed to take the brandy away from Vlam, who was by now quite drunk, and, carrying the other nine bottles and several dozen electrum pieces they had gathered from the corpses of the goblins, they headed back across the bridge and into the night.

The party made their way by moonlight, stumbling over roots and loose cobbles here and there, hampered by the bleary drunkenness of their companion. Several hours later they were on the last approach towards the city, moving down out of the hills. For some time they had felt that something was following them- Kenta stayed behind to watch as the others hurried on. He saw a tall, lank humanoid figure step lithely from the shadows on the trail above; the creature was eight feet tall, stark black from head to foot. It crouched to sniff at the trail, then moved again into the trees opposite. Kenta moved quickly down to the others. "Run!" he whispered harshly. Vlam declared drunkenly- "I'll go and get the bugger!", and the party pointed towards the Free City and said "He went that way!" Then they all ran for their lives.

As they approached the walls and turned down towards the Shacks, Kenta looked back, and saw the thing loping now after them on all fours, at a terrifying speed. Desperately he ran, and finally met the others in the torchlit alleys of the shanty town. Looking back, they saw the thing stop. It gave one mournful cry then disappeared into the darkness. The Wharf Gate being closed for the night, they made their way to Cargo Gate. Having offered a bottle of brandy as tax, the party were home free.

All in all, it had been a very successful foray. They found a merchant to trade with- Kenta having sung the praises of Mad Zagyg's own brandy stocks, and got 250gp per bottle. Listrimmus Wainwright was likewise thrilled with the rubbings, and having paid them the promised 50gp reward, offered to pay 5gp for any new inscription they obtained from the Castle. What a haul!




Monday, March 26, 2012

Entombed in a nylon sleeve...

No dog-ears for these fellows. Pleased to report no disasters, although the labels from labelmaker slightly discoloured due to the heat from the laminator.


I couldn't get a scan, and laminated them anyway. I hope they still scan ok now that they're under plastic...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Upper Works East- well, so far as I've done...

Well, I ran out of money for laminating, so that can wait until next week. For now, I will post my notes for the Upper Works so far:


The Outer Gatehouse:

 

The Gatehouse on the eastern side of the Ravine is entirely shattered down to its foundations, the once ornately carved stone broken into piles of weed-grown rubble. The cobbled path to the bridge is mostly clear, however. Where the path joins the bridge, a pair of broken pillars stand- the less damaged one still clearly bears a relief carving of a staring eye- in fact the emblem of Boccob.

 
The Great Bridge:
The seemingly impossible span of the Great Bridge crosses the gap of the Ravine, several hundred yards in length. It is broken east of its centre span for a length of 50 yards.

The gap has been repaired as best as possible, considering the circumstances, by the band of Dwarves who guard the Great Stair (see Tower of the Dwarves below), who fashioned a rope bridge and secured it stoutly to the bridge proper. This bridge is, in fact, very well made, and presents no danger to those crossing (though it could easily be sabotaged). The fall to the floor of the Ravine below is 200 feet.
 
The Old Gatehouse:
For obscure reasons comprehensible only to Zagyg, a Living Marble Statue (as Crystal, RC208), known as the Handmaiden, stands vigil here, doing service to those who know to ask for it. She appears as a beautiful, melancholy marble figure of a maiden with raised arms, and when idle returns to her quiet plinth in a corner.

 
A group of 12 goblins (RC180) moved in two weeks ago, and almost immediately stumbled upon the secret. One of them, as a joke, commanded the Handmaiden to catch it some rats for its dinner. To the surprise of the goblins, she did just as he was asked, descending the several stairs to the collapsed cellar and returning with some rats.

Since then, the goblins have had a fine time. They ordered the Handmaiden to clear away the rubble in the cellar, and came upon several cases of excellent brandy, stored here long ago. The goblins have been drinking fine brandy and eating rats at their leisure ever since- and for now are tolerated by the Dwarves, though some are considering clearing them out. The remaining brandy (10 bottles) is worth 250gp per bottle (it is VERY good). The goblins have 2d6ep each.

 
The Handmaiden will not leave the general vicinity of the Old Gatehouse. If damaged, she is mysteriously repaired at dawn of the next day.

There is quite a large amount of graffiti here:
*The Grey Cloaks camped here.
*Pox to the Grey Cloaks!
*Deal straight with the Dwarves.
*What a view!
*Morde died here CY480
*Matlan, Graylis and Jilleen never returned from below. Alas for lost friends.
*Mong of Djekul
*If only she were flesh!-
The Fox
*By the gods, ware the keep!
*Ha! Fools! No one crosses Tall Brihorn. Sleep well, former friends.
*Check the faces in the caves. Smart Orcs!
*The red priests hide another way in.
*The Purples are near the end...
*May Zagyg's privates wither!
*Meg Fairflanks is still in the hedges

The Courtyard:
Wandering Monsters:
(Check once every other turn 1 in 6 chance)
Daylight: Roll d30
1-3= 1d4+2 Goblins (RC180)
4-6= 1d4 flocks of Normal Ravens (CC19)
7-8= 1d3+3 Stirges (RC208)
9-10= 1d3 Normal Rock Rattlers (CC21)
11-12= 1d3 Normal Scorpions (CC54)
13-14= 2d6 Voormis (RCC38)
15-16= 1d4 Giant Centipedes (RC163)
17-19= 1d4 packs of Normal Rats (RC201)
20-21= 1d6 Giant Rats (RC201)
22= 1d8 Skeletons (RC204)
23= 1d4 Zombies (RC213)
24-25= 1d2 Dwarves (see Tower of the Dwarves)
26-27= 1d2 Huge Wood Spiders (CC56)
28= 1 Carrion Crawler (RC163)
29= 1 patrolling Gargoyle* (RC178)
30= 1 Living Marble Statue** (RC208)
Night: Roll 1d30
1-3= 1d8 Skeletons (RC204)
4-6= 1d4 Zombies (RC213)
7-8= 1d3+3 Stirges (RC208)
9-10= 1d2 Ghouls (RC178)
11-12= 1d3 Normal Scorpions (CC54)
13-14= 2d6 Voormis (RCC38)
15-16= 1d4 Giant Centipedes (RC163)
17-19= 1d4 packs of Normal Rats (RC201)
20-22= 1d6 Giant Rats (RC201)
23-24= 1d2 Dwarves (see Tower of the Dwarves)
25-26= 1 Carrion Crawler (RC163)
27= 1 Wraith* (RC 212)
28= 1 Lesser Haunt (CC86)
29= 1d4+2 Goblins (RC180)
30= 1 Living Marble Statue** (RC208)

*Will not pursue- bound to either the Manse of Zagyg (Gargoyle) or The Asylum (Wraith).
**As Crystal-(note, this will not be the same statue as the Handmaiden).

The expanse of the courtyard is vast, and a number of different locations should be apparent from most positions. At night, an eery green glow is noticeable from the Radiant Halls by the broken North Wall.

The Stable:
The doors of this ancient stable are fallen down and rotting on the ground. The very stone of the walls is decaying. Water troughs sit dry and dust filled. The stalls smell of dirt and old hay, but no hay is here now.

A: An adventurer has hung himself here, and still swings from the rafters. He looks to have been a young, raw-boned country fellow. He wears a scalemail shirt. A backpack is on the ground nearby, as is a block of wood, fallen on its side. He does not appear to have been dead for more than a few days.

The backpack contains:
Large sack
Lantern
2 Oil flasks
Tinderbox
12 iron spikes
Small hammer
Waterskin
Normal Rations (bad)
5gp in a cloth pouch

B: In a stall here, a great, jet black horse stands, eyeing any adventurers with wariness. It is several hands taller than any horse the adventurers have seen. If approached, it snorts warily, stamping, and shakes its head. Something about the horse seems wrong for any adventurer who is interested and makes a save vs spells. Any adventurer opening the stall will be met with a rearing terror, that attacks fiercely: Warhorse (RC185- 8hp per HD). The beast can be subdued (if brought below 10hp) or spoken to (by someone with the skill) to calm it. It should detect as evil, however.

If anyone is foolish enough to ride the horse, it will take them to the rope-bridge at a gallop and try to throw them into the chasm.

Statue of Zagyg:
The statue often appears as a scholarly fellow in fairly non-descript garb. It will change its appearance , however, at the whim of Zagyg. The statue has been known to animate and speak, answering a question or two, though only to worthy inquirers.

If treated with disrespect, the statue will Polymorph Other the perpetrators (save vs spells) into harmless animals. If attacked, it will animate as a maximum strength Rock Golem (CC25), and can still Polymorph Other once per round. If somehow destroyed, it will reform at dawn the next day.

 
Tower of the Dwarves:
This broad, squat, tower, along with the old NE Barracks, has been claimed by a group of tough, business-minded dwarves. Their leader, Stillgar the Captain, is 9th level and an expert with his Battle Axe, as is Dorogond, his 7th level second in command. Arthton, 6th level, is something o