Stric Evilknife, Team killing, and Violence

I don’t allow team-killing in my games, largely because of personal experience. In-Character (IC) trauma can lead to Out-of-Character (OOC) conflict, as Sarah Bowman writes about in her article on social conflict in role-playing communities I think it also comes from my desire to be part of the Fellowship of the Ring, or at least to be friends with the people I play with. 

My opinion on this was set back around 1980, when my brother was running a campaign for his friends. I joined as Orstanvar the Bold, a cider drinking good-natured ranger. Below is the sort of party he wanted to be part of.

Tavern Scene from Pit of the Oracle in Dragon magazine #37

Well, it soon became clear that Orstanvar was in the wrong party. The other guys kept killing each other “for fun.” So Orstanvar left, and I brought Stric Evilknife in instead.

Assassin orc by lestatbishopI described him as a half-orc cleric and everyone was happy to have him (clerics are always welcome in a party of fighters). Actually though, he was a half-orc assassin-cleric, neutral evil. Since the party was killing each other off, Stric showed them how to do it right. He proceeded to kill them all off, one by one, and they never suspected him a bit. He was the one guy whom everybody liked. When the last guy died, the dead character’s player was upset. He had finally rolled a great character, and he didn’t want to lose him. So I suggested, “Hey, why don’t we just pretend that didn’t happen, and all play good guys instead?” Stric left the party, Orstanvar returned, and the other got to keep their awesome new characters. And the party became a true fellowship and had some great adventures.

I was less noble when I first played my elven fighter/thief/mage, Celiwenello i Maldolen. Celiwenello stole from the party. He stole so much, in fact that he was leveling up 2-3 times as fast as everyone else. And they didn’t know it, at first. He was the party mapper and he kept track of things in a way that the rest of the party didn’t. I was pretty proud of his achievements, but really, he was being an ass and tearing the party apart. He got away with it, but as a result I’m extra leery when someone wants to do the same in my games.

Now for complete transparency, I should say that while I want the party to work together, and not steal or fight with each other, my campaigns are pretty bloody. That might be because of my desire to make them feel real (I’m a historian and martial artist) but perhaps also because deep I like that sort of thing (I hope not). But it does make me question myself as a gamer, a bit. But it is still me, and most others seem to like it. Not everyone though, and I can see their point. Maybe part of finding a group is also determining what you like and what you don’t. I’d love to know about others deal with this issue, by the way, so please comment if you have something meaningful to share.

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Middle Earth Collectible Card Game (MECCG) Index

At http://www.chrisvos.com/meuk/lackey/meccg/updatelist.txt, there is a list of the cards for MECCG, but they are not linked. Below is that same list (last updated Nov. 2, 2009), but in linkable format, so they are easier to go through. Enjoy! 

 

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NAVAH: Escape from Amidst

The party begin with a few more random summonings. The first was a Nokkes, an invisible fairy whom the party deemed too silly. The next was a rather regal white rat, whom Josette bound, and who later proved to be a Glyderung, one of the High Goblins, cruel but very skilled in warfare.

While this was going on, Alexios and Ian stood down below the tower, where they heard a muffled cry from the copse of trees where earlier they had seen the old man Aridam drinking. A sinkhole had opened up beneath him, and by the time the party arrived he had fallen to his death. Ian very nearly followed him, but caught himself at the edge. The party then looked down and saw Aridam dead in a hidden room. Brendan rappelled down and searched the room, sending Aridam’s corpse up first. Adrian and Poorbi Chaumbur took their grandfather’s body home and the village began to mourn.

Meanwhile, Brendan found a number of items below, including various spell components (the dried heart of a Boag, powdered human brain, a silver egg, a severed hand, a green glowing marble, and a luminescent strip of dried meat (the noselamp of a Dong)). He brought all these things up, and then Alexios went down and searched some more. He found a small jeweled chest and tried to smuggle it past the others, but it was too large. Brendan picked the lock but set off the poison gas trap, poisoning himself and his living helmet, Pongnan. Josette was able to heal them both.

Inside the chest were two books. There was Maenlas of Gurestt’s Taking a Chance: Random Summoning for Fun and Profit, as well as the private journal of Barun Clynt, a Gromite Priest and Mage. His journal revealed that it was he who accidentally summoned the Slicers, and who died at their hand. In the margins of Taking a Chance, someone had drawn a frowny face and written the word, “Glernapperissavincisor.” Josette assumed it was a truename, though the party suspected it was the truename of the Hooded Gleeker that Barun said he had been trying to summon. Josette summoned using the truename, which turned out to belong to a Marshwiggle named Glern. She bound him to her service.

The party did little with the spell components. They opened each, and the severed hand proved to be a Hand of Hosk, which attacked Brendan. Brendan tried to restrain it, but it was too strong, so he finally drew his sword and cut it nearly in two. Ian tasted the green marble, but the party then buried everything and tried to figure a different way out. After four months of desperate trying, they had gotten no further, and Brendan had whittled enough chess sets for the entire town.

As the winter came on, the party degenerated, until the moment that a drunk Ian went to challenge the Slicers, forgetting that he had the green globe with him again (he liked the taste). The Slicers did not attack, and Ian went deep in the tunnel, deep enough to see the treasure there. He believed the Slicers did not attack because he was drunk, or perhaps because they hibernated during the winter. He brought the others to see, and they all decided not to touch the treasure of the dead men, as it was undoubtedly the cause of the Slicers attacks. All, that is, except Alexios, who could not resist. He picked up another 93 s., 5 F., a +2 dagger of quality, a pair of mithril earrings (worth 800 p. total), and a silver torc (worth 2857 p.).

The party decided they should try to leave the town, and after some indecision, decided to take whichever villagers wanted to join them. Only Adrian and Poorbi accompanied them, the party heading through the north tunnel to Grentirden so Belau could get his leg regenerated at the healing well in King’s Rest. Again, they refused to touch the treasure in the north tunnel, except for Alexios, who grabbed a mithril brooch (1,600 p.) and a gold medallion (10,000 p.).

Little did they know that the green glowing orb had held the Slicers at bay. When they took it from the valley, the Slicers were finally able to enter and take the artifact they sought, an object that looked like a golden dagger. They were enraged when they could not find it, and slaughtered all who remained in the valley. They did not know that Adrian had taken it with him.  After six months of game time, the party also gained two experience points. Josette trained in Awareness, Brendan in Folklore/Creatures and Weapons, and Ian trained in Sense and Climb.

The party arrived at Grentirden, which turned out to be a tiny hamlet of frightened farmers. Only a wintering caravan of players welcomed them, but after the players revealed themselves as potential thieves, the party established a separate camp. From there the motley crew headed north on foot. The entourage was now quite large. Ian, Alexios, Belau, Adrian, and Poorbi, along with Brendan, his two dogs (“Dog” and “Cat”), and Pongnan the living helmet. There was also Josette and her various spirit servants: Scorch the fire elemental, George the earth elemental, Lirrenderi the Selkie (in seal form), the ant pouka 556 with Ahari Welderex the white rat (and Glyderung) riding it, and Glern the Marshwiggle.

Arriving in King’s Rest, Josette and her servants had to stay outside, but the rest went in and met the Lord and then visiting the inn, The Winking Helmet. It turned out the Pongnan knew the owner, a living barrel helm named Lorlop, and the party spent a pleasant evening swapping stories and drinking heavily. 

The next day, heads aching, they went to the temple of Arcurius, where Belau partook of the healing waters, and his leg began to regenerate. The party rejoined Josette and headed north to attend the annual tournament at Blem after purchasing a caravan wagon and four combat-trained draft horses.

They next arrived at Goat Hill, a small town whose knight was a huge, ugly, but bright and sweet woman named Isabella. She and Ian hit it off, and she agreed to follow him north if he was going to compete at Blem. She was in love, and she and her charger swung on behind the party’s caravan.

The Slicers followed in the party’s path, more circumspect now that they were headed towards civilization. They passed Grentirden without incident, and then snuck over the walls of King’s Rest while the party drank the night away in Goat Hill. The Slicers found Adrian and Poorbi, and slaughtered them with particular relish, before fleeing the town with their prize. The last of the residents of Amidst were now dead. The Slicers were spotted by the guards as they left, but no one dared pursue. The bodies were found the next day in the tavern known as the Winking Helmet and a belated posse sent south, but they stopped before entering the tunnel to the Pass.

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MERP: Exploring the Ways

Before the party began to explore the caverns, Drogo first flew up to the top of the island and picked out a teleportation spot on the 80 m. tall tower. Then he returned. Delcarnan casted shade on the area, making it darker. Then Drogo casted Shadow and sneaked down the tunnel to the left. He saw a pirate and paused. He spotted a trip wire, stepped over, and spotted three knives rigged to slice into anyone activating it. He teleported the pirate 5 miles out to sea (only half effective, because the corsairs are -20 for spell resistance). Two more pirates appeared so Drogo stepped back and activated the trip wire. One pirate jumped out of the way, the other was hit, but Drogo couldn’t see how well, because he was already retreating to their dark hideaway.

Once back, two of the pirates ran over to the injured one, while three stayed in the room. Delcaran enflamed one of them, the one in the center. Drogo sent another ten miles out to sea. Grafarlig ran to the attack and hacked at another, wounding him. The next round, Drogo sent another to sea. Delcaran sent a fireball against another, wounding him. Grafarlig was caught fighting two of them, with one of them flanking her. She took six damage, even through her field plate.

Delcaran was then attacked by his foe and took 3 points to the leg.

Drogo teleported another out to sea (the uninjured one facing Grafarlig) but was now down to -25 spell fatigue, -20 for the corsair’s spell resistance, and -20 for spell difficulty. The spells were getting difficult to cast! Grafarlig retreated and chopped off the ear of Delcaran’s attacker. The other injured pirate ran, but shouts were coming from both tunnels.  Delcaran ran forward and immolated the injured pirate. At the same time, Grafarlig entered the hidden tunnel, a “way.” Delcaran set a wall of fire on two of the tunnels. Then he noticed the party was not there any more, so he headed for the tunnel as well.

A dozen pirates ran in. A tall ugly guy had them close their eyes. Three others came in non-descript in black clothing, thin and humorless. One of them, a young woman, was shouting angrily at the tall pirate.

Grafarlig noticed another hidden tunnel to the left and directed the party into it. Delcaran set a wall of flame to their rear. The party advanced (following Grafarlig) through the next room and the tunnel.

They came into a library hobbit hole with a terrified hobbit.

“My name is Jacklesprat Fludergork Wisperwammer,” says the hobbit. “The ways lead into this room. I have lived here for decades.  36 years. There’s a ghost. He’s not here right now. He talks sometimes. He’s a very pretty tall dour elf. I call him Mr. Silence. I think he likes the books. “

It turns out that Jacklesprat has been here for over 50 years. “We were planning our assault and went to Torlumen,” he says. “The ways are all over the Nabal Mayzri. If you dull all your senses you can see them. You need to know the way to get into Torlumen.”

Jacklesprat’s library was largely full of romances, pirate stories, and a well-thumbed copy of Tulric Hammrammr on the table.

Delcaran’s gentle side (rarely seen) came out as he talked about fantasy books with Jacklesprat.

“Do you know how to find the ways?” Grafarlig asked Jacklesprat. “I don’t go to the lower levels,” he replied. “There are terrible things down there. I think that’s where they hid the things.”

The party searched the room. Grafarlig found a note in the tale of Tulric Hammrammr. The note was to Tia, and read, “I’m sorry more than you’ll ever know. Everything fell apart. They’re all gone now and I don’t know how much longer I can keep away. I have hidden some money for you in this map near Brilthen. Hopefully you can use it. Don’t let Liaf do anything bad with it. He’s too much like his father. Barlens never have a lot of sense. Not like you.” It was signed T.H.

The ghost entered and stared at another copy of TH’s book. Drogo turned the pages for the ghost.

Jacklesprat explained he was from Glaeven on Nabal. “How’s Bovo doing?” he asks. “He’s doing well,” replied Drogo. “Tally and other left me here,” said Jacklesprat. “Don’t touch the statues. I wonder if they are still awake. The water down below looks like ink and is very cold. I think Tally came back and maybe hid something here.”

Drogo flipped to the end of the book. It ends with Tully on the Elgaer River. He’s holding a beautiful elven maiden Liniel and telling her to look to the west and believe in heroic acts. There’s an inscription at the bottom. It says “for Tully, it’s everything you deserved. LL.”

The ghost pointed at a particular section. At one point, the silliness of the book stops and Tulric starts talking about the underneath. “Where the treasure is hidden, no one will find,” he wrote, “and if they do they will wish they didn’t. There are places to fall. If one knows where to step, one can avoid them.”

At this, the ghost demonstrated a set of directions of movement.

The ghost stepped through the wall to the south. Grafarlig was able to spot the way, and the party followed.

There was a pirate in the room beyond. Drogo popped him out to sea.

The party followed the ghost into another storeroom with chests.

Drogo disarmed the trap on the chest and opened it. There was 100 s., 4 gp. Delcaran took it to carry out.

The next room had a trap but Drogo couldn’t see where it is. Grafarlig was sure she knew where it was, but she was wrong. She avoided the giant axe that swung down, as did Drogo, but Delcaran took a hit and lost 5 points.

In the next room were a number of rotting paintings of stentorian elves whose eyes tried to follow them. Delcaran wanted to set them alight but the party convinced him it would be a bad idea.

In the next room were more books. Mr. Silence walked through the wall. Grafarlig spotted the way, though the others didn’t. There were voices behind them. Delcaran set the painting room on fire while the other two disappeared into the wall. He then followed them. Delcaran is hearing voices that direct him to use fire and cast spells.

There were stairs going down. At the bottom, there was water, dark and inky and deeply cold.

The Ghost hopped across the room, showing the party where to jump. Then he returned to the party and looked in the book to a page where TH and Jori Balen encountered the same room.

Drogo flew across the room, taking a rope and the book. Grafarlig followed, hopping across successfully. Delcaran hopped poorly, and started to fall, but Drogo gestured and flies Delcaran to safety. Delcaran flails all the way across.

Two pirates entered the room, looked down and were transfixed by lightning in the water. The ugly tall man entered and shouted, “Stop you fools!” Drogo sent the tall man out to sea.

In the next room were stands with books. The water was getting deeper. And the elves in the paintings were smiling preternaturally wide.  One started talking to Delcaran. “I’m going to eat you up. I going to eat you the hell up,” it told him. Grafarlig shoved the mage out of the way.  

The ghost pointed to another page in the book. In the story, Tulric was saying, “You can’t do anything about what’s underneath. It needs to be distracted somehow. Going into the deep to be the distraction won’t be good.”

Two figures in black appeared behind the party. Drogo sent one out into the pool as a distraction. The woman in black tried to cast a spell against Drogo and captured his spell but Drogo’s hobbit spell resistance saved him and the woman went out in the pool where a variety of lights appeared. Then she was dragged down by a tentacular creature with a very wide smile.

Delcaran used his 9 eyes hand axe on the other woman and scared her back.  Grafarlig attacked and chopped off his left arm. He was stunned for two rounds.

Four more pirates ran in. Delcaran threw a fireball and set their clothes on fire and wounded them.

Delcaran saw the paintings attacking again, but Mr. Silence appeared, gripped the heart of the painting and killed it.

Grafarlig attacked her same foe, and cut his right leg. She chopped again to the top of his head, stunning him.

There was an unearthly scream from under the water, as if someone’s mind was being ripped to pieces.

Delcaran cast another fireball into the three flaming foes, and they were stunned by the flash of light.

Grafarlig attacked her same foe, again, chopped off the top of his head. He fell.

Grafarlig hit the last foe in the leg.

Drogo cast another foe into the pool. The creature pulled him down as well. Drogo then cast Otterlungs and went underwater. Below he saw the tortured pirate. He went deeper and found hundreds of black globes, all of which looked like palantirs. He realized they were eggs and frantically swam out as fast as he could. Delcaran suggested that he could shock the creature to death, but Drogo ignored him. If the palantir was there, he thought, it was safe from anyone. Drogo sent another foe into the water for the creature. Grafarlig chopped off the arm of the final foe and he died.

The three books on stands were a pristine copy of The Tale of Tulric Hammrammr. Another was a pristine copy of The Lies of Tulric Hammrammr. Another was a pristine copy of something different. Delcaran saw it as The Lies of Delcaran. Grafarlig saw The Fall of Grafarlig, and Drogo saw The Cowardice of Drogo. The party left them alone.

Drogo flew the party over the hopping pool, taking 20 spell fatigue.

They headed back to Jacklesprat’s room. Jacklesprat explained that the creature under the water was said to be a dead demon, a Balrog, who was so powerful that his spirit remained.

The party searched the remaining passages. Drogo and Delcaran found nothing. Grafarlig did not find the ways, but saw a pit trap.

Delcaran spotted some statues he wanted to touch, but Drogo teleported him to the top of the island, 50 m. above the entrance.

Drogo spotted another Way entrance and the two entered the room. There was a dark robed figure and two pirates in the room.

The black-robed man told them that they needed to reach a deal. He said they will eventually win. This convinced Drogo that he must kill them. “Kill,” he told Grafarlig in an undertone. Grafarlig attacked the black robed figure and hit his right hand.

Drogo sent one of the pirates out to sea. Grafarlig renewed her attack. Drogo sent the other pirate out to sea. Grafarlig was still fighting. The Black robed mage tried a spell but failed.

Drogo attacked with his staff to help but the black robed mage vanished (teleporting away). Drogo and Grafarlig went to the pirate ship. Drogo flew up to the top of the cliff to get Delcaran, who promptly boiled the rain off of the hobbit, causing first degree burns. Drogo teleported to the main ship and brought it into the tunnel. He picked up Grafarlig and dropped off some sailors. Drogo then sailed away, and prepared to teleport Delcarnan down to the pirate cave. Above, Delcaran tried to fireball the retreating ship but failed.

And there the game ended for the night.

Score for the night:

Drogo killed 9 (3 fed to a demon, 1 by trap, and 5 swimming in the sea)

Delcaran killed 3 by fire

Grafarlig killed 3 by axe

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NAVAH: Arriving in Amidst

The party’s visit to Amidst took a dark turn when the party encountered misbehaving villagers.

As the party reached the end of the tunnel, Alexios spotted silver coins, bones, and armor scattered near the entrance. He scooped up a bag of coins, unseen by the other characters. As he did so, Josette spotted a wave of broken glass rushing towards him, creating the grinding sound they had heard earlier, now a roaring sound. They all took off running, with Brendan left to scoop up Ian’s one-legged ward and carry him to safety.

Upon running into the open valley of Amidst, they were greeted by villagers who welcomed them and began to prepare a Festival for them. Luce, the leader, showed the party around town. Ian insisted on talking to Amiden, even though the old man kept screaming for him to go away. Amiden eventually ran away and hid from Ian, and was only found again after Brendan bribed one of the local children to find him in exchange for a copper cow. Cornered, Amiden made it clear that he knew nothing about how to get out of the valley, and eventually he escaped to begin his drinking again.

The Festival was enjoyed, as were a number of dalliances with the bored and desperate ladies of the town. Regrettably, several of the villagers had taken up robbery as a means of dealing with boredom, and first Ian and then Alexios became bloodthirsty and desired punishment of the miscreants. Both Majira Sherwood and Ekundayo Teiller were caught stealing. Majira was protected by Ekriig the Guard, who promised to punish her severely and then let her go safely. Majira’s husband Gryffen tried to stop the party from searching their home, but Alexios slammed him in the nuts with the flat of his blade (to be fair, Alexios was aiming for his head). Majira escaped, after stealing Ian’s sword, and the party followed Gryffen as he tried to crawl away. Ian kicked him in the nuts again to emphasize their displeasure.

REFEREE’S ASIDE: I should perhaps remind adventurers here that they can do four things to save the lives of pitiful peasants such as these. 1) You can use your hand rather than your sword. 2) You can remember to aim. 3) You can say your character is not using his damage bonus. 4) You can downgrade the damage result one level (e.g. from Major Wound to Minor Wound, or from Grim Wound to Major Wound).

Luce took control of the situation, saved Gryffen, and got Ian’s sword back, but the party’s reputation turned from Honorable to Dishonorable and the villagers would have nothing to do with the party after that.

The party first tried Shaping their way out through alternate caverns, but the Slicers (the broken glass monsters) drove them back. Nothing the party had could damage the Slicers, and they proved not to be spirits, so Josette could not Bind or Dispel them.

Josette then tried random summonings to get a spirit that might be able to help. She summoned a parrot pouka who scouted the rim of the valley for them, and then left. She then summoned a meter tall ant pouka named 556, and bound him because of his great strength and climbing ability. Finally, she summoned one more creature, who proved to be so ugly that both 556 and Ian died of shock (Brendan and the Selkie were maintaining a safe distance). Josette survived and Banished the creature, and then successfully brought Ian and 556 back with Sorcery.

That evening, Adrian Chaumbir (a scout) visited Josette and offered his help in leaving, as long as his wife Poorbi (a farmer) could come as well. The party assented, but Adrian was not at all sure that they wouldn’t kill them in some way. Still, it was his only chance to escape Amidst.

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Savage Worlds Greyhawks: Traps, Traps, Traps

Pirouline’s player is sick tonight and can’t make it, so the elf is deemed to be receiving a magic lesson from the Kobold Queen. “I’m learning magic,” he says.

The two goblins in the next room are startled by the entrance of the party. One bolts, one shoots at Jimbo, who blocks the arrow with his shield. “Ho Ho!” says Jimbo. Jimbo smashes the goblin and then runs after the other goblin. Jimbo cleverly spots the caltrops on the ground and delicately dances around them. In the next room, he is puzzled by a blank door but Ted spots a secret door. Beyond is a four way intersection.  Jimbo again spots a small cloud of dust to the left. “The goblin!” He chases after him. He maneuvers around a pit trap that is nailed open, then almost falls in a second trap, but avoids it agilely. The door from the room smells of rotten meat.

The others throw a rope to Jimbo, who holds it so they can use the rope to cross the pit.  Ted calls upon Pelor to aid him who helps him to climb. Jimbo suggests they stop and check for other exits. Gertie stops Jimbo from triggering a trap in the pool with a diving dragon. There is a message in Draconic on the pool. Jimbo is the only member of the party that speaks Draconic, but unfortunately he can’t read it.

Jimbo opens the door and on the other side an oppressive smell of humanoid bodies and rats, all gnawed upon, make a large and vile nest. Jimbo enters and spots three dire rats chewing on a recent goblin kill. “Idiot,” says Jimbo to the goblin corpse, and then prepares to smite the vermin. Then an even larger, monstrously swollen rat appears. Jimbo and Ted are surprised but Jimbo gets a big grin on his face and launches himself on it while Ted tackles the anklebiters. Gertie taunts them viciously but the rats do not retreat.  Jimbo smites the mama rat and she hisses. Jimbo hisses back. She bites but the armor deflects her bite. One of the ankle biters attacks Jimbo but can’t penetrate other. A second tries as well, but misses. The last one attacks Ted but misses. Ted kills it with his magic mace.

On the second round, Ted bravely attacks one of the other anklebiters. He hits it and squashes it flat. Jimbo misses the mama rat, but the remaining anklebiter and the mama miss him. Gertie hits the mama rat and wounds her again.

Gertie attacks mama rat and wounds her again. Ted attacks the smaller rat, and squashes it as well. Locked in mortal combat, the mama rat, bleeding from several wounds, attacks Jimbo but she cannot penetrate his shield and armor. With a grunt, Jimbo stabs the leprous mama rat through her eye, putting her down for good.

Beware of R.O.U.S. tshirt

Poking through the refuse, Ted recovers 300 in silver, 68 in gold (worth 680 silver), and 3 gems. The humanoid bodies are two goblins, a kobold, and a human. Rolling over the human corpse, they note that it is probably Karakas, the missing ranger. The slimy corpse has on ranger’s leather (+2 stealth), 5 daggers (one of  which is +1 to hit), a longbow, a quiver with six arrows, a potion of healing, a pouch with 17 gold, and a gold ring with his name engraved on it (Karakas), and a backpack with a waterskin, a few iron rations that smell of the corpse. There is three torches, a bedroll, and a tinderbox. The tinderbox is magic and will refill itself once per day. The armor is stained from the liquefying body. Jimbo takes the +1 dagger and tinderbox. The armor goes to Pirolin. Gertie takes the bow and armor.  “Ooh,” says Ted, “one of them has a copper necklace. I’ll take that.”

Ted says a prayer over the dead Ranger. Jimbo is beginning to be interested in the worship of Pelor, whom Father Ted describes as a God of Blessed Light, so he joins in the prayer.

In the next room is another dragon pool and a locked and trapped door on the western wall. It is cold to the touch. The southern door is not locked, not trapped, and isn’t freezy. The party chooses it.

Beyond is another empty room. And a door.

In that door is a corridor leading west with a door at the end that leads them back to the start. The party retraces their steps and goes to another unexplored door.

There are only abandoned rats’ nests in six more rooms. The party find 11 silver, 4 gold, and 6 gems.

Ted prays to Pelor for guidance regarding the wintry door, and thinks it is arcane magic. PIrolin shows up, tries to detrap it, and just barely avoids a scything blade. He pees himself in terror and then goes to wash up.

Ted mentions that he has had dreams about peeing himself. Jimbo is not surprised.

Ted opens the door and sees five dusty sarcophagi, 3 to the north and 2 to the south. There is an unnatural chill in the air as if something undead slept within. “By Pelor!” exclaims Jimbo. “They are elf sarcophagi.” A single candle burns on the altar next to a small whistle and crystal flask. “They look old,” says Jimbo. “Indeed,” says Ted, “they look to be the same age as the complex we are in. If I had to guess, that candle is magical.” “That would explain why it is burning in a locked tomb,” replies Jimbo. “Were these elves good guys or bad guys?” asks Jimbo. “It was a dragon cult,” replies Gertie, “and cults are generally bad. There are five types of dragons and five sarcophagi. Perhaps there’s a connection.” Jimbo is impressed with her reasoning. “The cultists worshipped a dragon. We don’t know if they were good or not,” says Ted.

A skeletal figure with one eye and one hand introduces himself as Vecna. “Just kidding,” says the DM. “Who’s Vecna?” asks Gertie. “It’s Ancev, backwards,” says Jimbo. “Or Vance, if you mix it up,” says the DM. “Or Caven,” adds Ted.

“Let’s check the other door,” says Gertie. The party agrees, but first talks to the Kobold Queen about the sarcophagi.

The Kobold Queen reveals that the giant mama rat was called Goothash. She says that Meepo can read Draconic. The Queen insults Jimbo for being unable to read, and Jimbo considers how heroic it would be to slaughter the entire kobold tribe by himself. He’s tempted. Jimbo instead adopts the additional title of “Slayer of Goothash.”

After hearing what’s for lunch (goblin and rat stew), Jimbo tells everyone that it sounds utterly disgusting (disadvantage = “Big Mouth”) and then says, “Let’s go.” “Come on Meepo, you come too.” Meepo tries to evade but Jimbo deftly grabs the kobold and drags him along (using several bennies to do so). The DM then decides that Meepo can’t read Draconic after all. 

They go to the rearing dragon door, which has a slight magical aura matching the key the party got from the Goblin Queen.

“A gigantic dragon as big as the dungeon appears and chews off Ted’s leg delicately. Just kidding!” says the DM. The party remains unamused.

Ted opens the door. A hissing noise and a puff of dust accompany the opening of the door. “There’s a lot of dust,” says Jimbo.

There are three alcoves with stone pedestal with fist sized globes that are cracked and darkened crystal. The one in the south alcove glows blue and tinkles. “The noise kind of tinkling,” says the DM, anticipating Jimbo’s next words. There is a door on the west wall.

Ted and Jimbo both critically fail at an occult knowledge roll. “Oops,” says Jimbo. “I bennie it,” says Ted. The DM sadly shakes his head. “You both fall in love with the music and then run back to the entrance.” Jimbo runs faster than Ted. “I’m winning!” He drags Meepo with him. “Help me!” screams Meepo.

Gertie tries to smash the glowing orb and breaks it in half. Jimbo breaks free of the charm. Ted doesn’t, and keeps running. Jimbo throws Meepo into Ted’s retreating back to wake him up and Ted wakes. “Nice job Meepo,” says Jimbo, offering Meepo a high five. Meepo runs away.

“Good job,” says Jimbo to Gertie.

The party goes through the next door. Beyond is a corridor with a door at the end. Jimbo investigates successfully and spots an arrow trap. He goes around it safely and tries to disarms the trap. He fails. The weapon bounces off the stone work, but he drops his sword and has to pick it up again. The arrow hits Ted for 13 damage, who is shaken. “Sorry!” says Jimbo.

To help Ted recover from  the experience, Jimbo tells the story of his sister Gloriana, slaughtered as a young child by the mountain goblins. “She fought the goblins with all her strength,” he says, “though she was but a young girl.” He turns to Father Ted, “so pull yourself together and start acting like a man!” he says to Ted, who pulls himself together.

In the next room is a very realistic statue of a red dragon. “Hail and welcome,” says Jimbo in Draconic, showing proper respect for a powerful foe. It speaks in Common. “We come at night without being fetched; we disappear by day without being stolen. What are we?” “Shadows!” says Jimbo. Nothing  happens. “Stars!” says Gertie, and a secret door in the west wall opens.

The next room has 5 humanoid figures of elves in plate mail. Five are in the 6 alcoves. One alcove is empty. There’s a green light through an archway to the west, with a pit in front of it.

Gertie finds in the southwest corner that the dust is disturbed in the empty alcove. She sees that the tracks are made by small humanoid clawed feet that went into the pit, which is 10 feet deep with spikes at the bottom. The wall of the pit is rough and easy to climb. The feet look magical or faerie (you can tell from the curlicues on the bottom), and were here long ago.

Father Ted investigates one of the statues. Jimbo climbs into the pit and sees the footprints going out the other side of the pit.

Father Ted climbs down with Jimbo’s help but is scared by the effort and shaken again. After climbing down 10 feet! Jimbo tells him to man up again. Gertie climbs down. She tries to climb up but fails and is shaken as well. “Pelor!” exclaims Jimbo, “you people suck! It is just a ten foot climb.” Father Jim climbs up the western side. “Why don’t you go first,” says Gertie to Jimbo. “Ok,” says Jimbo, leaping gracefully up the western side.

Ted hears in his ear, “you broke the binding, my watch on the dragon priest is over.” An imp hits him but doesn’t do any damage. Jimbo prepares to whack an imp. It’ll be a bit more difficult since it is on Ted’s shoulder, but Jimbo is pretty certain he won’t hit Ted.

We’ll take that up next time.

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MERP: Isles of Rhunaer (Sea of Rhun)

The most detailed map for the Sea of Rhun in publication is pretty sketchy, at least for Nabal Mayzri, where our adventures are roaming (below).

A map of Rhunaer (aka. the Sea of Rhun)

Since we’re playing in the region, I thought we needed a better map. We are based on Nabal Mayzri, which our DM has identified as a single island rather than the name of the entire archipelago. I made a new map, concentrating on the area from Dilgul to Tol Sulereb. I figured that those little hats in the old map were meant to be small rocky outcroppings or islands. Since my character is a native to the region, and a sailor of some skill, I figured he would know the names of the islands, so I gave them all names. Most are based on Easterling stems. I’d love to have feedback on the names, especially if I made any huge errors, so please let me know. I can always change them, and repost the corrected version here.

The isles of Rhunaer, Middle Earth, north of Dilgul & South of Tol Sulereb

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