MERP: Sirens, and the Cult of the Long Night

Feldenaith goes back and gets more crabs from the room, and then the party moves on.

Feldenaith finds a rotten flooring in the next cavern, and Drogo flies across and secures a rope to the wall so the rest of the party can get across. He doesn’t seem to have died by traps. His body has leather and broadsword (rusted), and several Sylvan scrolls on him. They read the scrolls, which talks about not killing someone because she is so beautiful. The party decides to continue down the corridor, but discover that it has become endless in both directions, and they are seized by a great fear. In reality, they have been put to sleep by four priests and each experiences their worst fears. Drogo casts Batsight and closes his eyes. He knows he is the original chamber and the tunnel is an illusion, but then he finds himself in a large cavern, with 30 Children of the Long Night on a trapdoor over a pit, held up only by a rope. Galen appears and tries to convince him to help him cut the rope and kill the Children, but Drogo resists. Ultimately Drogo realizes this is yet another illusion, and becomes infuriated. He hates dark sorcery and even more than that, he hates being controlled. He has never been this angry. Drogo finally tires of Galen and kicks him hard in the groin. Drogo immediately wakes up, realizing he is kicking a robed priest in the groin instead.

The rest of the party begin to wake up. Grafarlig gets up and slices off a priest’s leg. Feldenaith knifes another priest. Delcarnan sets a priest partially on fire. Drogo finishes him off with a blow of his staff. Grafarlig hits Delcarnan’s priest and Delcarnan finishes him by boiling his blood. Feldenaith then kills his. Drogo continues beating his priest with his staff long after he is dead, screaming, “Don’t EVER do that to me!”

When they come fully to their senses, they retrace their steps. Chel & Del have died in the corridor with the rotten floor, and their smashed bodies are being eaten far below by crabs. Drogo flies across the cavern and secures a rope on the other wall. He flies Grafarlig and Delcarnan across and Feldenaith climbs across.

In the next room a thin membrane covers the floor, with a chest as an obvious trap near the center. Drogo flies over, opens the chest, grabs a bone scroll case, 100 s. and 3 human hair robes. He then flies over to the other side. The others follow.

The party then finds a large worship chamber with 30 cultists, which looks exactly like the room in which Galen tempted Drogo. A slender ascetic man (Morlamen) is talking to Galen, Oren, and Elena. Two strong Northmen are next to him (Tarfaluth & Grimly). Lomeilinde appears next to the party as they peep in. Her face is next to them, in a barred window in the wall. “Destroy his staff!” “Where is Meli?” asks Drogo. “She is an empty shell, a backup for my current form. She took my soul a while ago,” replies Lomeilinde, disappearing again.

Drogo teleports Delcarnan next to Morlamen so the elf can cast fire on the evil one’s staff. He does so, destroying it. Galen is enraged and screams, “Why don’t you people die?!” Grafarlig runs in but is smashed upside the head with an enormous blow, stunning her for two rounds. Feldenaith runs in to defend her and wounds one of the big men. Drogo teleports Morlamen to the ceiling and drops him 30 m. The old man is tough, and is only stunned. Delcarnan picks up the old man and uses him as protection, threatening to kill him. Galen goes after Delcarnan but misses.

Drogo teleports Morlamen again and this time he splatters on impact. Lomeilinde laughs from the far side of the room and gives Drogo a thumbs up, which he returns with a smile. Galen and Elena menace Delcarnan, who is protected behind a wall of fire. Drogo tries the same on Tarfaluth, but he has been protected magically by the priest, and cannot be teleported.

Feldenaith misses one of the Northmen. Drogo boosts Galen to the ceiling, but the sailor makes his acrobatics roll and only broke a leg in the 30 m. fall. Grafarlig and Feldenaith hit Tarfaluth. The priest casts a protective spell on himself and edged towards the curtains at the back of the room. Drogo flies across the room and strikes him with his staff, blocking his flight. Lomeilinde sings a song that enrages the Children and causes them to tear Grimly to pieces.

Tarfaluth strikes Grafarlig. Oren misses Feldenaith. Delcarnan throws a fireball towards Galen and Helena. He gives Helena minor burns and stuns Galen for one round. He sets Tarfaluth aflame and kills him. Drogo buzzes around the priest and does no damage with his staff, though he keeps him from casting spells. Grafarlig strikes Oren who gives up.

Feldenaith used his acting skill to threaten Helena with further fire attacks from Delcarnan. Helena drops her weapons as well.

The priest tries to cast song of soul stealing against Drogo fails and crumples with a horrendous failure. Galen gives up, but Delcarnan fireballs him but his leg is charred down to the bone. Drogo kills the priest. Feldenaith tortures Galen into unconsciousness. Then Drogo kills Galen.

Grafarlig begins meditation to heal herself. Meanwhile, Lomeilinde approaches the rest of the party.

Lomeilinde is happy that Morlamen is dead. While Feldenaith is distracted by Lomeilinde, Drogo searches the Priest’s quarters, finding 40 gp. and an inlaid golden harp in the chest. He stashes the 40 gp. The party will divide the treasure equally later, though of course the rest of the players assume Drogo is stealing it.

Lomeilinde explains that she is one of the 13 Sirens who possessed lesser rings of Sauron, which he destroyed. The sirens were able to survive Sauron’s death and the destruction of the rings. There are only a few left. Lafalmas was one, and died on the ship. Morlamen was one, and died here in the cave. That left only four, which suits Lomeilinde fine. She would prefer to be the last siren alive. The only ones left are:

  1. Lomeilinde
  2. Demetrios
  3. Marcos
  4. Eletaria, who has taken over Shrel Kain

Delcarnen made a decision; Lomeilinde must die. He burns the rope over the pit and 30 Children, Meli, and Lomeilinde are dropped into the pit. Most fall and are eaten by crabs, but Lomeilinde holds onto the edge, and Feldenaith tries to help her as she screams, “you bastard!” at Delcarnen. Drogo knows there is no going back. He likes Lomeilinde as a worthy adversary, but she is evil and Delcarnen is probably right, though he does not agree with the method. Even more importantly, the die is cast and if Lomeilinde survives now, she will kill them all. Drogo teleports her to the center of the pit, but the spell is only partially successful and will take two rounds to complete. Feldenaith screams, “No! Just break the harp!” But Drogo flies out of reach and the spell goes off in the second round. Lomeilinde pops from Felenaith’s grip, falls, and dies. Drogo then teleports the body out of the pit, though it is badly damaged by the crabs below. He instructs Delcarnen to patch the wounds now that Lomeilinde is dead, and once that is successfully done, Drogo breaks the harp and restores the girl. Then the party tries to save the remaining Children, saving only 7 of them.

The party ends for the night, having broken the power of the Children of the Long Night and having killed two former servants of Sauron. But they are depressed by the deaths of the innocents, and decide to turn Oren and Helena over to the Rangers. The entire team is depressed at the end of the evening. Grafarlig suggests that Drogo use his share of the treasure to get professional help from a therapist. Drogo thinks this is an excellent idea. Now where can he find a white wizard?

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The Dark Tower (2017)

I just watched the movie, and really, it is not too bad. Everyone said it was disjointed and hard to follow, but it wasn’t. It was pretty clear what was going on. The main problem was how much they shoved into one movie — it could have been several movies, but of course the start was so slow that the pacing would have killed the first one. I was never able to finish the actual novels — it always seemed too contrived. A dark tower, meh. A gunslinger? Nah. But the movie was ok. Not fantastic. Not enough character development — Blade was a lot more fun in that category. And all the kid’s relatives died as meaninglessly as they did in Time Bandits. So not a great movie. But it was a solid apocalyptic fantasy, and we can always use more of those. I actually think a sequel could do a lot better, but I doubt we’ll ever see one, unless some independent company does a low budget version. They have a gating technology that allows them to travel to other dimensions, which worked for Stargate.  And more sorcerors or demons could be faced.  Maybe the true successor could be a Grimjack movie. Gunslinger, plus magic, plus multiple dimensions, plus plenty of plots. Yeah, that could work.

Grimjack introduction

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Navah: A Pair of Giants

The party built 9 houses in Restwell — 4 timber-built and 5 wattle and daub — that would seem them through the coming winter. They also built two guard posts at each of the four entrances to town, and the mages raised a 1.5 meter earthwork all the way around the town. During that time, they learned that the Great Boar was a symbol of the Barthold family, and had never been hunted as a result. They decided to follow that example.

They also met Dakshesh de Selby, seneschal of Her Grace, the Lady Rodes, who advised them to be careful and to watch for signs of corruption in the Duchy. With him they talked with Vaethairimoth Wharff, a legendary but ancient ranger. None of them had ever heard of his exploits (lots of failed skill rolls), but they questioned him at length regarding the region and its dangers. When questioned, Sir Wharff warned them of the power of the Cheesemakers’ Guild, and gained some idea that the party had run afoul of them.

While in his cups, Ian revealed that he had given “birth” to several demon children, and thereafter the townspeople kept their distance from him. His reputation is spreading quickly.

Once the houses were done, fall was coming, and Sir Barthold decided to visit his other two villages. He began with Kukgul, where Humffreye Stanton introduced himself as the Sheriff and swore undying loyalty to Sir Barthold. Humffreye had worshipped Sir Lorak Barthold, and now wants to repay the deep debt of gratitude to the new Knight.

The party messed around for a time with a painter named Guang, a truly unskilled artist. No one wanted his work, especially not the local trader who had already accepted twenty-five in exchange for food. Brendan tried to increase the value of the paintings, while Ian let it slip that he was considering murdering the painter and sprinkling his blood on the paintings to raise their value. Once again, Ian was not endearing himself to the general population! Brendan, however, actually got the sheriff to believe that GUang was an undiscovered master.

The alarm was raised in town when Aig Dyamysell, squire to Sir Roger Corderay of Jackhold, stumbled into town. Sir Roger had been killed by a giant, and his warhorse eaten. Aig had fled, but now volunteered to lead the party to the site of the ambush. Humffreye insisted on accompanying them, desperate to prove himself to his new lord. Since Humffreye was one of the few people who like them, and since Humffreye was the one who would be gathering taxes for them next month, the party spent a great deal of time protecting him for the rest of the adventure.

They found little left of the knight and his horse, which had been eaten. They tracked the giant to its lair in a cave and began exploring, leaving Aig and the Selkie outside. The party found nothing except some cave paintings and were heading outside to camp when they ran into the giant coming in. Of course, the mage was in front and the fighters in back at that point, so Josette tried a Domination/Control person on Begbones the giant, forgetting the spell was immensely slow. The giant swung first, greatly damaging the bear pouka, and then a SECOND giant (his mate Godeva) appeared and did the same. Josette retreated and got Rocky the Earth Elemental to pull the bear to safety, but before that could be accomplished, the giants had literally beat the bear into two halves.

The party retreated deeper into the cave and Shaped a section for protection. The next morning, they shaped an eyehole into the giant’s den, and spotted one of them asleep. Josette cast Sleep upon the beast, and Ian snuck out to cut Godeva’s throat. He accomplished his mission, only to discover that Begbones had come to investigate the shouting that Alexios was doing for the past five minutes. Ian jumped to safety at the last second, and Rocky moved to cover the hole. The giant landed a critical hit on Rocky, killed him, and set him flying. In a rage, the giant pursued the small antagonists, ignoring the multiple arrows they sent gleefully into his thighs, his chest, and especially his derriere. Eventually he was forced to flee the cave, limping as he went. The party used up all their fortuna in the battle, but next time they plan to pursue him and finish it.

 

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Savage Worlds Greyhawk: Holy Water & Ghouls

Having defeated the gnolls and recaptured the arms, the party headed for Tarilen in
Furyondy. They hauled the cart with a damaged horse. Kaelix tried to scout, but got lost,
so Dathgar led. On the third day, there was a gentle rain and a village loomed in the mist. The party heard a funeral dirge in the distance. A stone wall surrounded a cemetery, with a hundred people in attendance. A plain young peasant woman lay in the coffin. There were runes on the coffin, and the priest of Pelor blessed the coffin and asked for protection from the darkness. Two men then put a stake in her heart, cut off her head, and buried the body.

Ted went to speak with Father Galamar. Turim was the former priest, who was buried and then dug up (as have been many others). A stranger visited him and stayed overnight. Since then several graves have been opened and the bodies taken. The stranger traded his horse for Father Turim’s and then departed. The new horse died of lung rot. Father Galamar gave Ted some holy water, but since Pirillin suspected the priest, Ted tasted the water and confirmed it was holy indeed.

The party then went to the Gentle Rain Tavern, where they talked with the innkeeper, Nilik. Kaelix overheard the people in the tavern talking about how this all started two months ago, but then went and tucked the horse and cart away in the stable. He hid in the rafters guarding them, and was promptly forgotten about by the party for the night.

Nilik explained that the strangers was a demon sorceror in a cloak black as the night. He never revealed his face but he could make a bag of coins appear and disappear at will. He had some cider and food, which the serving girl Moiena took up to his room. Four hours later, he bought Father Turim’s horse and left town. A group of adventurers came through town and promised to help, including a big fighter human named Walgas ( he talked to the pot boy Cragus for a long time), Iami the halfling, Vortak the dwarf, and Kayim, a female human wizard. They went to the graveyard to investigate and never came out again. The girl in the coffin today was bit by a wild dog and died two days later.

Pirillin detected arcana on the room and found faint traces of some magic in the last
month, more recently than the two months since the stranger has been there. It was nearly a full moon. Serving girl Moeina said we could get wolfsbane from Garick the woodsman. She took the party to a small building on the edge of town, just south of the cemetery.  Garick is a young man in his mid twenties. There’s a few fresh nicks on his face, as if from shaving, so Ted surreptiously turned his shaving water into holy water, just in case. Garick said he had found Kayim dead after the first party went to the cemetery. She got caught in his coyote trap while running from something and broke her neck. Garick and Galamar burnt the body.

With Kaelix in the stables guarding the cart, the rest of the party went back to talk to the priest, who said that many had been dug up. From there they went to the cemetery and entered the crypt of Hagron, a famous paladin who had fought in the Greyhawk Wars. There were scratch marks on the sarcophagus and opened it, revealing a wooden ladder leading down. Ted stayed above to guard. Dathgar, Gertie, and Pirillin put wolvesbane potion on their blades and descended.

There was a set of double doors and a pile of loot from the previous party, including the axe of Hagron (+1 to hit, +1 damage, with silver and cold iron abilities), which went to Gertie. Dathgar unlocked the double doors revealing a long narrow room, where Gertie found a secret door, allowing the party to bypass a number of traps. The three entered a circular room with nine coffins. The one in the center was fancy sarcophagus, open-lidded, with an embalmed body in it wearing an amulet. The party was drawn to the amulet. The body was that of Jillameg, a hero who died in battle. Detecting Arcana, Pirillin felt that the amulet would protect with a sort of armor (Amulet of Protection). They left it for a time. Pirillin then continued his magical probling and found that five of the coffins had sources of negative energy in them. As Gertie and Pirillin discussed their options, they were attacked by five ghouls. Gertie taunted two of the ghouls into temporary paralysis. Two of the remaining attacked Pirillin and one attacked Gertie. Pirillin killed one ghoul with a fire bolt and wounded another. Dathgar’s bowstring broke and called for Ted. Gertie killed hers with an axe and Pirillin vaporized another. Dathgar drew his sword and killed one of the two remaining ghouls. Ted and Pirillin then anointed their fists with holy water and charged the final ghoul, Pirillin slaying it with a flying punch. Afterwards they found treasure including five canteens with special abilities. The amulet proved to not be magical after all, but was simply a trap to awaken the ghouls. Searching the rest of the area, they found three skeletons (dead, not undead), a secret message (“beware the vault”), and another ghoul (whom they killed). They went up again, taking the ladder with them, and went back to the priest.

Father Galamar wanted them to keep the axe. He also rewarded them with a magic mace (which Ted got), and promised to bless and rededicate the tomb to Hagron. The party then returned to the inn where there was much rejoicing. Figil was hanging out with the pot boy and having a great time. Poor Kaelix was still in the rafters.

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Navah Mapping Binge Nearly Done

When we started “The Inheritance” campaign, with Alexios inheriting the Barthold holding of The Pass, I knew I was going to need to know a lot more about the world around them to make the campaign work well. So I went on a mapping binge, mapping all three Duchies that make up Baroness Rode’s domain. This section is one quarter of one duchy, Braedt. Ruthven is to the south, Martabus to the west. There are little glitches to clean up, but the map is now fully done. I mapped out the trade routes, upgraded some of the roads because of that, including an Imperial road cutting across northern Martabus and Braedt. I’m pretty happy with it! Here’s the section the players control — The Pass. Thick red lines mark the edges of Duchies. Thin dotted lines are the fiefdoms. Black lines are roads, dotted black lines are trails.

Map of The Pass

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Warning, Warning Will Robinson! Beware of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

I just finished watching this movie and was utterly appalled. I cared not a whit for the main characters, nor for the magical Nazis who apparently pass for mages in New York City. The movie has a lot of special effects, none of which I even cared about. It made me nostalgic for the old Harryhausen effects. Yes, they look cheesy now (they were cutting edge back then), but even cheesy they had a personality, a sense of character, that made one care about them. Not these beasts. In this one, there’s a horny rhino that takes up way too much time, a size-changing snake that apparently can’t figure out that teapot has a spout, and a bunch of other critters I cared even less about. I won’t go into all the other stuff that left me cold, in case you actually want to watch this. You shouldn’t, but I know you probably will. And then you’ll understand too. Below are just some of the VERY forgettable characters in this movie. Please note the huge horde of trenchcoated magical Nazis in the background.

The forgettable leads, and their troupe of magical Nazis

The one thing is was worthwhile were Jacob and Queenie, the two support characters. If they had just gotten rid of the stereotypical bad guys, the idiot hero, the pointless heroine, and every other magician in the city (all of whom are apparently heartless bastards), these two could have had a great movie. As it was, I’m obliviating the rest of the movie from my brain as best I can, and trying to remember this movie as a love story between two very sweet characters. Thanks to Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol for playing Jacob Kowalski and Queenie, two very UNforgettable characters.

Queenie & Jacob, two loveable characters

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MERP: Against the Children of the Long Night

The party all achieved 2nd level, and enjoyed putting new points into the characters.

The party relaxed at the Smiling Crocodile after meeting up with Feldenaith again. Feldenaith had met with his employers, the Syndicate, and after a time admitted as much to the party. He did not admit that he had shared much more with the Syndicate than the party had shared with Oldare. In fact, he had told the Syndicate the item being searched for was a palantir. Oldare arrived at the inn as well, and Drogo told the ranger that Feldenaith was with the Syndicate, much to the ranger’s displeasure. Oldare told them that Lomeilinde had been seen in chains sailing northwest with cultists of the Long Night. He also mentioned that a ranger called Meli (Melaniel) had discovered a hidden entrance into the Cult of the Long Night’s headquarters, located south of Narun Kizden in the Uldona Spine. Oldare urges the party to destroy it and says about 50 of the cultists probably protect it. He would do it, but his 80 rangers were busy trying to combat the sirens.

The Cult of the Long Night, he explained, worshipped Kerkkask, an ancient god of the plains, worshipped by the Easterlings. Kerkkask demanded bloody sacrifices, so it was an easy matter for Sauron to take his place and make the cult his slaves. The Syndicate arose in opposition to the Cult, as a way to protect trade, and they were as eager as the Rangers to eliminate the cult.

The current Realm Master of the rangers is Eletaria. The old realm master (Taykus) quit his position to spend time with his family in Shrelkain, but it is well-known that he hates his family and Oldare fears he has been seduced or replaced by a Siren.

The party seeks a commission from the Syndicate to go after the cultists. They talk with Galen first, who offers 10 s. per cultist, and then offers 500 s. for them to slay all of the cultists. Galen seems highly disreputable, so the party seeks someone more reputable among the Syndicate. They talk to Wendell at the Friendly Shellfish, and he offers them 750 s. to wipe out the Children of the Long Night and their High Priest, Morlammen. The party accepts the deal. Along the way, Galen claims that 42 of the rangers moonlight for the Syndicate and that only 30 of them remain loyal to Oldare.

The party renames the Ocean Noise to the SeaDancer, and names the longboats “Tiny Dancer” and “Private Dancer.” Drogo, growing very nervous about the Mendocian brothers, hires another 10 Northron sailors and makes them answerable only to himself. They are:

  1. Krill
  2. Fertil
  3. Ronus
  4. Sprenn
  5. Vicartel
  6. Ged
  7. Kywar
  8. Pliskin
  9. Narro
  10. Jim

The SeaDancer then sails to the headquarters of the cultists.

Meli advises they sail their ship into a narrow dangerous pass, but as it is only 1/2 mile inland, the party instead takes the longboats. The landing party is Delcarnan, Drogo, Grafarlig, Feldenaith, Meli, and the five Mendocian brothers. Elias and the Northrons are left in charge of the ship.

The party kills 3 cultists in rapid succession. None are a match for Grafarlig’s axe. The party leaps a six foot chasm and find a deep pool. Drogo casts Otterlungs and Delcarnon casts light on his dagger. Drogo explores the pool and finds silver and gold coins, a suit of plate mail, and a jet black longsword. The treasure up to that point had been 21 s. and a wooden whistle. Drogo rescues another 37 s. and 4 gp. from the pool. Feldenaith gets the plate mail, and Delcarnon takes the sword, which Drogo believes is worth nothing. Drogo dives one more time to recover a punctured breastplate. The party is exclaiming on the size of the puncture (big enough to fit a fist through), when the DM finally makes the roll that awakens the giant Craben (half crab, half kraken) in the pool where Drogo has been swimming. They flee as the Craben attacks, pinning Clem (one of the Mendocians) to a wall. Delcarnon drives the crab off with an amazing roll for his lightning (298!) and rescues Clem. The party heads deeper into the tunnels.

Next they find an ancient tomb with writing in both Elvish and Black Speech. They cannot read all of it, and the room is rapidly filling up with small crabs, hundreds of them. There is an ornate statue with bowed head with hood and outstretched palm. They enter and try placing things in the palm, but without reaction. Grafarlig opens the casket, and removes a golden circlet, a ring, a bag, and a giant club. The circlet and ring go to Drogo. The circlet allows him to see in the dark, but the ring is cold and frightens him. The coins are ancient gold coins from the 2nd Age, and Drogo stashes those in his backpack. The coins are from the 2nd age, with the closed fist insignia of the Dark Lord. They are heavier and thicker than gold pieces of the 3rd age, and are worth at least 50 gp. each, perhaps double that to a collector. There are 50 of them.

They take the club but no one uses it. They flee the huge number of crabs, and Delcarnon cooks them with a huge fireball. The party returns and gathers up a lovely crab dinner, as the Craben wails in despair in the background. And there we ended for the night.

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