Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chapter Five: Frogroth Rising!

Descending the ladder (found at the end of the last session) further underground, we found ourselves in a corridor where Davian Battlebeard (Kevin) set off a swinging club trap - but managed to avoid serious harm because of his armour.

The corridor led into an alchemist's lab, that we turned over as we are wont to do. An animated broom decided to attack Harry the halfling (Simon), but in the end we overpowered it (I managed to set it on fire, but Pete's GMPC, Kirchin landed the 'killing' blow).

Among the books and alchemical equipment, on tables around the room, I found a diary belonging to someone called Suto who was allied with an entity called "The Voice Below", was hunting for the "Codex Illium" and wanted to summon the demon Frogroth.

So, we were kind of right in that the ogre we defeated last time wasn't the "Big Bad", it's just that he was working for this evil Suto guy.

There were three passages out of this room and heading north we found a bedchamber - with more books and a diary, this time belonging to an old man called Erazmus who went on about unspecified "secrets" under Dundraville.

We then took the eastern passage out of the lab and - after carefully avoiding a giant Shrieker mushroom, clearly left as an alarm - we came upon a temple-like room where the elderly Suto himself had a silver pentagram on the floor and was just in the process of summoning Frogroth.

This was my wizard's chance to shine and he burned the last of his stamina casting a magic rainstorm over the room that extinguished all the sorcerer's fires, preventing him from completing the ritual.

Davian waded in, followed by apprentice wisewoman Veriel Whisperwind (Meredith) while Kirchin and Harry shot missiles from the doorway.

Unfortunately, Suto was able to throw up a protective shield that blocked our attacks. Then he summoned a gargoyle - out of the ceiling stonework - to aid him. Both Davian and Veriel managed to land attacks through the shield, but didn't really seem to be doing that much damage.

However, around this time Peter Entwhistle (my wizard) remembered the potion of strength he'd discovered earlier and necked it, but just as I was going all Popeye, the gargoyle grabbed Veriel and tore her in half (splattering the rest of us with her blood!).

Taking my magic staff in both hands, I roared into physical combat with Suto, as Davian and I sought revenge on the summoner - by trying to beat him into a paste on the floor.

The gargoyle had also slapped Davian around a bit, nearly killing him as well, until Harry felled the rock creature with a well-aimed stone from his sling.

In trying to batter our way through the magical shield, I'd managed to break one of Suto's arms and, in quick succession, Davian landed a pair of blows that broke our enemy's legs - but not before he'd managed to summon a poisonous spider, that took a bite out of Kirchin.

Eventually, the epic confrontation came to an end, with us wearing Suto down until Davian could finally deliver the killing blow.

Once rested, we moved Veriel's body to the bedchamber before exploring the final passage out of the lab. Down there we found a room of cages where the two villagers were being held: Dale, a serving wench from The Merry Tavern, and gnome merchant called Jonas who promised us great riches for rescuing him.

After that we left the cave complex, heading back to Dundraville to get villagers and carts to help us retrieve Veriel's body (to give her a proper elven burial back at Bendwyn) and - of course - the treasure (including another library-worth of magical and mysterious books for Entwhistle to add to his growing collection).

Chapter Four: Battle Thong Of The Ogre Republic!

Although five weeks had passed in our world, mere seconds had elapsed in Pete's campaign world when The Tuesday Knights resumed our campaign yesterday, still on the hunt for that elusive ogre that had been pestering the townsfolk of Dundraville.

We also suddenly realised that we did know the name of Simon's halfling bard - it's Harry Cobblethwaite... although I dread to think what song he will compose after this adventure.

The next room our brave heroes came to turned out to contain the ogre we were looking for - dressed in a hero harness and a thong, drunkenly collapsed across a table and snoring loudly.

We debated, in hushed tones, for ages about what to do next - ultimately coming back to the simple stratagem of hitting him until he fell over. It was - as all fights in The Fantasy Trip appear to be - a quite brutal fight, but somehow we miraculously came out of it relatively unscathed, while the ogre ended up unconscious.

Davian Battlebeard (Kevin), our feisty dwarf, was all for killing him straight away and after further debate, we agreed to look away while he caved in the beast's skull with his mighty mace.

I must confess to my wizard's eyes, he seemed rather small for a typical ogre and I'm rather worried that he might have been just a pup and the real ogre is still out there somewhere.

Anyway, I magically opened the ogre's giant treasure chest, which turned out to be full of silver coins, but still no clue as to where the villagers that the ogre had taken hostage (and we were supposed to rescue) were being kept.

And so we headed on, narrowly avoiding the ogre's pet wolf - thanks to our resident elf naturalist Veriel Whisperwind (Meredith) who calmed him down (and aims to return later with the idea of adopting it as her own pet) - and found several other abandoned rooms, and the way back out the cave mouth, but so sign of the kidnapped townsfolk.

Coming out of the cave system, we rested for a couple of hours, had some lunch and then returned to the concealed entrance through which we had first entered the caves, so we could check out a couple of passageways we hadn't explored before.

A tussle with a dire skunk and half-a-dozen poisonous centipedes later and we were still no closer to finding the kidnappees.

At my suggestion we then checked the eye sockets of the giant skull face carved into the hill (the mouth being the main cave entrance), but besides Harry getting into a scrape with a young vulture there were no clues.

Finally, and I can't remember who suggested this, we returned to the ogre's room and re-examined his storage alcove, finding foot prints we hadn't seen in our hurry before - foot prints that disappeared into the back wall.

One magical 'knock' spell later (thank you very much) and a hidden passagway was revealed, leading to a shaft, with a ladder to one side, descending down further into the earth.

To be continued...

Chapter Three: Let's Hunt Some Ogre!

Turns out that our group's celebrity reputation - after our last adventure - isn't restricted to our own town and has spread far and wide.

Not only have we attracted the attention of a travelling halfling bard (Simon's character) who wants to chronicle our exploits in song, but we received a plea for help from a neighbouring town, Dundraville, that was having a spot of bother with an ogre.

At an impromptu council meeting in The Golden Axe, we learned that the ogre had been taking tributes of ale and sheep from the town for years, and the townsfolk were happy to oblige, but it had recently upped its demands to include building materials, gold and finally people. When the villagers objected to the last demand, the ogre - whose name might be Blerg - kidnapped two peasants and returned to his lair in the nearby Skulltop Hillock.

Accompanied by the bard (whose name we either didn't catch or didn't care about), Davian Battlebeard (Kevin), Veriel Whisperwind (Meredith), Kirchin (Pete's GMPC) and I, Peter Entwhistle, wizard extraordinaire,set off to Dundraville.

Dundraville is primarily known as the home of the Berkclay Brothers' Brewery - so we immediately knew how they could repay us for handling their ogre problem - but we also heard tales of ghostly lights in the woods, the disappearance of an itinerant dwarf carpenter and the belief that the ogre was now trying to excavate an ancient warrior's tomb.

After spending the night in Dundraville, we set off at first light towards the nearby hills, aiming to discover a "secret" passageway at the rear of the caves where the ogre lived.

Our first encounter was a dozing hobgoblin shepherd, surrounding by 'his' flock. While Veriel was able to sneak reasonably close to him, the sheep started bleating and he awoke. So we had to take him out.

Although we knocked him unconscious, Davian broke the monster's neck before we could interrogate him. Davian clearly has some anger issues to deal with when it comes to hobgoblins!

Nearby was a foul-smelling narrow passageway through the rocks into the back of the hillock, so we squeezed in - doing our best to tread in as little excrement as possible. Turned out there was a bat cave at the end of the passageway, its floor deep in a guano.

Venturing further in to the cave system, we were prevented from going down one passage by the presence of a giant skunk, but in another direction we found a sealed tomb in which apparently lay the bones of a great dwarf warrior. Davian stripped the corpse of its fine suit of chainmail but then he and Veriel disturbed a slumbering skeleton and were attacked by the undead fiend.

The creature was quickly dispatched, although Davian's new suit of armour helped protect him from taking too much damage.

While we rested - I needed to get my breath back after some spectacular magic use - a couple of fire beetles scuttled in and were promptly dispatched.

Heading on, we came to a large cave, where a couple of other fire beetles were hanging out, but we managed to avoid them and make our way down a long winding corridor that appeared to come to a dead end. Once again, the mighty wizard Entwhistle saved the day and used sorcery to open a secret door into a chamber filled with crates, casks and a hand cart.

We checked these out, then debated where to head next.

And that's where our story ended for the night...

This tale of great derring-do will continue in April and hopefully by then, the townsfolk of Bendwyn will have catalogued all our treasure from our first adventure (I have my eye on the baby dragon skeleton, for my shop, and all the tomes and scrolls - as the only one in our town who can read) and Simon will have come up with a name for his bard!

Chapter Two: Zombie Sex Slaves!

Our Heroes (l to r): Davian Battlebeard, Veriel Whisperwind, Peter Entwhistle & Kirchin

Having found that the crypt under the abandoned The Temple Of The Lady Of Healing was infested with undead, Kirchin (Pete's GMPC), Davian (Kevin) and Peter Entwhistle (me) returned to the village of Bendwyn to rest up and see who we could to join us for the inevitable return trip.

Only Veriel Whisperwind (Meredith's character), the elven wise woman (wise in the ways of kicking ass, as it turned out) was brave enough, but as we found out later that was all we needed.

As soon as we descended back into the crypt, three more skeletons jumped us and Davian immediately smashed one to pieces with a single blow, breaking his run of bad luck from our last outing, and setting the trend for the rest of the evening.

I withheld using magic during this first encounter - knowing I only had a limited pool of stamina to draw upon - but foolishly still tried to engage one of the skeletons and suffered a massive hit that reduced me to below half hit points, before the team physicker (Pete) was able to stitch up my wounds.

Unfortunately this also reduced the amount of energy I had left to cast spells later in the adventure.

After the others made short work of the zombies we headed down into the mines that had been dug off the crypt, wandering into a four-way junction where four more zombies lurched from the three exits.

Even though I exhausted myself casting fireballs, the others - again - made short work of the shambling dead and while I got my breath back, Davian and Veriel cautiously checked out two of the passageways from this crossroads, discovering a pair of abandoned barracks - one significantly better quality than the other.

Leading off from the posher bedroom was a stairway down to a laboratory, complete with beakers, jars, arcane-looking books, maps, scrolls, iron maiden, glass cabinet of bubbling green liquid containing a skeleton and an operating table with a corpse on it - that reanimated as a zombie, which Davian dispatched.

I flicked through the books and stuffed some of the scrolls into my backpack before we returned to the intersection and headed down the passage we hadn't yet explored.

This spiralled down to an ornate curtain (this dungeon didn't go in for doors but had curtains across corridors instead) from where Veriel heard the sound of pacing.

Yanking back the curtain revealed an elderly man in contemplative mood, in luxurious bedroom with two shapes curled up at the foot of the bed.

However, because Kirchin was hesitant about shooting him (Kirchin is also a trained archer, but up to this point hadn't used his bow because of the close-knit nature of melee combat), the wizard - for that's what he was - animated the two curled-up zombies (I believe them to have been "sex zombies") to attack us while he made for a second exit.

Davian hurled a hammer at the retreating man, but it bounced off a sorcerous force field before he disappeared into darkness.

While Davian engaged one of the zombies and Veriel the other, I telekinetically lifted a flaming molotov cocktail over the one the dwarf was fighting and poured the flaming liquid over its head.

With the aid of my magically-assisted fire (which, again, exhausted me), we got rid of the two sex zombies but were too late as we followed the wizard, getting in to his casting chamber just in time to see him disappear in a cloud of green vapour.

Beyond that room, behind the dungeon's only wooden door, we found a final, morbid sight: a cold room filled with 20 to 30 corpses - clearly material for the manufacture of future zombies.

The dungeon was "cleared" as far as we were concerned and the Big Bad thwarted, if not defeated.

So we made plans to return to the town, round up all the able-bodied people and come back to ferry out the corpses, and dead zombies, so the town priest could bless them before we gave them all a proper burial.

Our team of labourers would also help us remove all the treasures - the books, a painting, a baby dragon skeleton etc - so the town council could decide what to do with it.

All being well, next month, Simon won't still be snowed under with work and he'll be able to throw his halfling bard into the mix, bringing our adventuring party up to full strength.

Chapter One: Dem Bones, Dem Bones...

Unfortunately two Tuesday Knight regulars were unable to make the inaugural session of Pete's new campaign last night - Meredith had injured her knee and Simon couldn't get away from work - but Kevin and I were still keen to get things rolling.

Pete began the session by walking us through the basic rules of The Fantasy Trip, particularly the combat (although none of us fully appreciated the difference that rolling 3d6 as opposed to our usual 1d20 would make to the chances of scoring the numbers we actually needed to hit anything).

The adventure began with the calling of an emergency council meeting in the town of Bendwyn (we are all members of the town council).

A physicker called Kirchin, and his young apprentice, had arrived with stories of a ghostly encounter in an abandoned healing house/temple outside the town. We all knew of 'The Temple Of The Lady Of Healing', and how it had lain empty for hundreds of years since a great plague swept through the area. There had been rumours of hauntings, but nothing we took too seriously... until now.

Davian Battlebeard (Kevin's dwarf) and Peter Entwhistle (my mage) suggested returning to the ruins, with Kirchin (who we realised was Pete's GMPC) in daylight to check it out.

The temple itself looked abandoned, as it always had, but Davian discovered a panel in the floor that led down to an ancient crypt where we were attacked by a pair of animated skeletons.

This battle seemed to go on forever and I was getting seriously fatigued by trying - but failing - to do any damage by hurling fireballs at one of these skeletons. Eventually I resorted to simply bashing him with my staff and that seemed to do the trick.

I then turned to help Davian and Kirchin and managed to land a couple of meaty blows with my staff that took out the second skeleton.

Yes, the wizard had, indeed, felled the two undead fiends while his more martial colleagues had flailed around uselessly. But I'm not one to gloat... well, a bit, maybe!

We then retired back upstairs so I could rest and regain my strength - and to give the raging fires I'd started in the crypt time to die out.

Then lurching out of the smoke came a foul-smelling zombie. I magically pushed out back down the stairs, then Davian leapt on top of it and caved its head in with a meaty blow.

We realised there was a dark, mine-like entrance in the far corner of the crypt but instead of investigating decided the best course of action was to seal up the crypt entrance and return to the town to find more able bodies to bulk out our numbers (ie. hope Simon and Meredith can make it to our February game).

The Fantasy Trip turned out to still be the fun system I remembered playing with Pete and Steve back in the '80s - even if I couldn't recall the finer points of the rules until Pete jogged my memory. It took all of us a time to adjust our mind-set to the idea that no-one (us or the bad guys) would necessarily hit all that often, but when a hit was landed it would probably do some serious damage.

Your chances to hit depend on your character's Dexterity - modified by whatever armour he is wearing - and several minutes into our first combat we realised it was a lot harder to roll under eight on 3d6 than it would have been on a 1d20 (the bell curve and all that). And also what a difference even a single point of a statistic can make - Kevin's armoured dwarf had a Dexterity of eight while my wizard had a Dexterity of nine and I was hitting way more than Kevin.

As a wizard I also grokked the idea that my fireballs wouldn't automatically hit and even if they did there was the one embarrassing piece of dice rolling where I managed to do ZERO points of damage (fireballs do 1d6-1 damage per point of Strength you invest in them, I was putting two points into each attack, and then managed to roll two ones on my damage, which, of course, meant no damage!)

But this also encouraged me to get creative, using my "drop weapon" spell on one of the skeletons and then telekinetically pushing the zombie down the stairs.

Already excited about next month's game.
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