NAVAH: Working on the City Generator again

We’re coming up on a county-wide tournament in the game, and I wanted to step it up a notch, generating the warriors for the full county, which includes 3 castles, 1 keep, 2 monasteries, 3 temples, 52 hamlets, 55 villages, 12 towns, and 2 cities. So we decided to create a county generator based on the old city generator. The program would generate all of those settlements at one shot, using the new systems we came up with this year. That means every character detailed, with stats, skills, personality, appearance, and equipment, including all significant others and children. We had to tweak the system a bit so that the full printout was easier to read. I had to create a CSV file with all of the settlement basic characteristics.

If we were going to generate a full county, I wanted to be sure that the data would last a while, so I updated the old Access database to fit the current system and our understanding of Navah.  I also decided to add a second magic system. The old one is now the civilized system of magic, the one taught in the Magical Colleges. The new one is the barbaric or wild system of magic learned in the wastes, the north, and the deep desert.

There are five new elementalist character types (Aeromancer, Hydromancer, Pyromancer, Electromancer, and Cryomancer, from most common to most rare). These folks are entranced by particular elements and are pretty antisocial. The Aeromancers or wind wizards can be found most often at sea, and are highly desired as crew. The Hydromancers are less common, but are welcomed in the river valleys, as they can control flooding. No one wants the Pyromancers or Electromancers around — those folks are nuts! And Cryomancers are like those two but are found only in the deep north, so are very rarely met. 

The sixth new mage is the Shaman, who is the more commonly encountered northern magician. The Shaman has an affinity with the earth, with the animals and the plants. 

Mages can cross-train in the northern and southern styles of magic, but few will have the opportunity to do so, and even fewer will have the desire. There isn’t much reason to do so. The South focuses on control and domination of the world, while the North focuses on approaching closer to nature and the elements. The approaches are fairly antagonistic.

Finally, the tavern generator we use is a great creativity tool but it requires the renaming of almost all generated taverns. For example, the Sign of the Bulbous Turkey is amusing but hardly a decent name. That might become Cock’s Crow or Harvest Dinner instead. The renaming of taverns was one reason behind moving to county-level data. I wanted to have the new tavern names in our full print of each town, and that was a drag to do individually. Instead, my programmer (my loving wife!) is creating a subprogram that will read in my old name/new name CSV file and rename the taverns county-wide. This is super important because when a character is an alcoholic or a glutton, the program lists his/her favorite tavern, and now that name will be accurate. I will so be able to do a sort for the regular patrons of each tavern, so when players walk into a tavern, I know who is there. We’ve been using that a while and it has been super helpful.

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MERP: In the Village of Nurundizikin

We learned today that Ugthug is an orc, while Bertram is a human. Ugthug is of the Toegunk tribe, and the orcs in the caverns are from the Snothammer tribe, which why he doesn’t mind attacking them.

Tonight Feldenaith joined us again. We stayed on the same level initially, attacking two orcs in an adjoining corridor. Feldenaith and Ugthug attacked first. Feldenaith took slight damage, but then managed to flank one. Ugthug splintered the leg of his opponent, and then Grafarlig split the skull of the other. Ugthug then smashed the skull of his enemy, and took an ear from each for his necklace of defeated foes.

The party then descended down a secret spiral stairway, arriving at the Village of Nurundizikin, surprisingly still the home of about seventy dwarves. Virgil is their leader, with Grumblebumble and Stumble his assistants. They live in peace and harmony, and are quite different from Atauk & Throckel. There is a herbalist, Helsalin, from whom Skyrunner purchases 4 doses of Moontumb, 3 doses of Slimy Gorkin, 2 doses of Stout Heart (he is searching for one more as they traverse the caverns), and 7 doses of Carpet Moss (all of this detailed in The Hands of the Healer supplement).

There is also Salvnar’s General Store, where Ugthug and Skyrunner buy some rabbit on a stick. Delicious! Feldenaith purchases a live rabbit and cuts its head off to please his demon blade, the Red Sword.  The rest of the party eyes this questioningly, but remains oblivious of the nature of the sword, which has begun to speak to Feldenaith in his head and urge him to commit greater atrocities.

We meet one female dwarf, Inniel Grunkledunkle. Her twin sister Nell is off exploring. Skyrunner chats up Inniel, who responds, and they spend a marvelous time talking while he is there. The party leaves the next day though, and travels downwards again, coming to a room with three Dwarven statues. One is belly laughing, one is untrustworthy, and one is crying. An inscription reads, “Console, Accuse, Empathize, and Continue.” The party solves this and moves on.

The party comes next to a pathway with doors. Skyrunner encourages Ugthug to break one down, and he rams it with his head, knocking himself out and turning back to Bertram. The party explains the situation to Bertram about Ugthug, and he is not pleased.

Feldenaith hears sounds from beyond another door, and opens that one. Beyond are four goblins and a slender man in cloth robes. Skyrunner and Feldenaith practice their archery. Feldenaith wounds one, and Skyrunner kills the slender mage with an arrow to the throat. Skyrunner then hits another in the side. Bertram tries a ploy that fails and he runs away, pursued by one of the orcs. Grafarlig then runs to the attack. Skyrunner switches to spear and shield, and spears the one chasing Bertram through the head. Feldenaith puts an arrow into another goblin’s left arm. Atauk kills one with a strike to the hip, and Skyrunner and Feldenaith shoot at the last one fleeing down the corridor. Skyrunner drops him with an arrow in his ankle, then runs up and puts a spear through each limb and the abdomen, before ending him with a spear to the eye. In this way, he sends his foe wounded and ineffectual to the Spirit World. Atauk and Throckel are taken aback by this savagery.

The party then comes to a large room with ten foot tall master carved statues of the Dwarven elders. There are glowing green gems in the wall. There are also four more slender mages in the room. Bertram tries a classic ploy, shouting, “Where can I find a bathroom?” but fails to succeed (the DM gave him a -70 on his roll).

One of the mages teleports to the rear of the party and attacks Atauk with a sword that he has somehow acquired in his teleport. Feldenaith attacks that one, hitting him in the face and stunning him for a round. Throckel then hits the mage as well, also stunning him. Skyrunner shoots one in the room in the head, stunning him.

In the next round, one of the mages in the room teleports out. Another tries, but fails. Feldenaith pierces his foe through the head, and his sword is happy, whispering, “Yesssssss!” Skyrunner peppers the same mage he hit earlier, hitting him in the right arm and twice in the torso. He is stunned again. Grafarlig is meanwhile charging across the room, trying to get close enough to use her axe. She hit him in the right leg, chopping it off. Skyrunner comes over to the downed mage he was fighting, and again, ritually kills him to affect his performance in the Spirit World.

Two of the mages have +10 longswords. One goes to Skyrunner, the other to Bertram.

Moving on, the party find a medical library in Khuzdul and Westron. They learn that once there were as many as 200,000 dwarves here, but within 200 years, three quarters of the population died off. Half way through that period, the population began leaving. Thaylor did not leave, however, but probably died in a battle with the orcs down below. One of the works is very recent and mentions that the green stones are inert, but that one should not touch them.

In the next room are animated statues, moving imperceptibly. These are again elders in commissioned poses. There are a number of dead bodies in the room, as if there was once a great fight here. The party finds nothing of great worth.

None of the party members are able to open the last door, so the party decides to descend to the next level at the next session.

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MERP: A Meeting in Dilgul

After some behind the scenes emails, the conflict between Drogo and Delcaran is resolved peacefully, and both go their separate ways. The party is reformed, with Grafarlig the dwarven warrior and Feldenaith the Dorwinian rogue to remain as the core of the new group.

Drogo & Grafarlig attend a gathering in the city of Dilgul, on the southern coast of the Rhûn Sea.  They attend to talk of matters concerning the rangers, but it turns out that the meeting is much more than that. Feldenaith is elsewhere.

The meeting has been called by Pallando the Soul Keeper wearing the sea-blue Robes of Aman, the iron Ring of Soul-taking, and the deep black Earring of Souls. His staff is of black yew. Known to the elves as Rómestamo, he is one of the two blue wizards who went to the east. He and his companion supported the Wômawas Drûs against the Shadow until TA 2400, when the ringwraith Komûl’s forces broke the empire and the forces of Light fled west to the plains. Allying with the Vorgani nomads and the Avari elves, they retook the empire in TA2656. He still dwells in the central plains, where he continues to teach those who are worthy.

Pallando has brought together the various factions that oppose Ellataria.  Ellataria, it seems, has been showing much more power than she should be able to, and it is suspected that she draws her power from Tol Sulereb, the dread isle in the Sea of Rhûn, a former fortress of Sauron. Pallando believes there is also power on the island that frightens Ellataria. He believes this power has a master palantir, and uses it to see her.

Following Pallando is Tanuukkodôl (aka. Skyrunner), a Tyran plainsman of Wômaw ancestry. Skilled in archery, spear, herb lore, and languages, he comes from the wooded hills of Y-Lústurangsur, northwest of Daldunair Lake.  Drogo and Tanuukkodôl both trained in magic under Pallando, though this is the first time they have met. In friendship, Drogo gives the tall nomad his Bow of Light. “This is more useful to you than to I,” he explains.

Cavalas, son of Cordram, is the oldest living ranger and is from Dilgul. Blind, gnarled, but surprisingly quick for all that. He’s also possessed of great natural power. He ‘s leading the movement against Oldahr, though it pains him. He wishes for the rangers to allow members of all races so long as they have the interests of the people at heart. In this, he is rebelling against Oldahr, the formal leader of the rangers. He has been convinced of the need for this change by Elias, another old ranger and former shipmate of the players. Elias himself is elsewhere occupied and is not attending this meeting. 

Skyrunner is impressed by the offer of Cavalas, and voices a desire to join. Cavalas welcomes his offer, especially since Skyrunner is recommended by Pallando himself.

Oldahr, son of Baradhros, an emissary from the remnants of the Numenorean rangers, comes from the southwest, from the city of Lest. Oldahr is a big, bald, thickly-built relic of a bygone age who is out-of-touch with his men and currently dealing with the mutiny of Cavalas. He holds some respect from the peoples of the area for having fought against the Children during the War of the Ring. He is a friend of Drogo but is disappointed in his recent choices. Oldahr thinks creating an interracial group of rangers is foolish, as it means recruiting from Easterling tribes that are, as he sees it, naturally barbaric.

Drogo announces that he is joining Cavalas, but that he is putting his entire fortune into funding both groups of rangers. As an initial offering, he will buy any ranger a suit of black ranger rigid leather.  Oldahr drops his head and shakes it sadly. Drogo does this not only to support the eastern rangers, but also to fight the Sirens, who share his teleporting ability. He also plans to use his ability to speak with birds to pass information back and forth with Oldahr. Finally, he has made arrangements with Cavalas to have two Eastern rangers man the ways on the isle of Faizal, to watch for the return of their enemies. Drogo occasionally teleports in relief forces and teleports out the guard.

From the west come  Atauk & Throckel, kin of Thralin, dwarven emissaries from Scarakikot (aka. Scari), a city that contains most of the dwarven presence in the Rhûnaer. They wish to seek Thraylor’s lost ring, one of the seven, to forestall its discovery by the followers of Ellataria. The ring is believed lost in Nurundizikin, the ancient dwarven city deep in the mountains. The city has been abandoned for many years since the dwarves dug too deep and brought up fantastic green diamonds that spread plague and death.  Atauk & Throckel shows signs of corruption, as they gleefully discuss breaking the fingers of Ellataria’s minions, teleporting humans invading Nurundizikin.

From the northwest comes Ena, daughter of Demetrios. She is an elven emissary from Taur Romen, the forest in the northeast corner of the Rhûnaer. This faction is the most mysterious, as the dark elves of Taur Romen are known to follow Demetrios, one of the last remaining sirens. He’s known as “the gardener,” although no one can say what he gardens. Ena suggests that her father, while uncaring of the world outside Taur Romen, knows paths that can reach Tol Sulereb. She welcomes those who would wish to learn more.

From the eastern shore of Rhûnaer comes Jahs a’ lynn, an Ohdriag woman who is known to run Syndicate operations in that region. She’s in her mid-forties, thin, and known to have a dry sense of humor. She’s also known to have both integrity and a merciless sense of justice. She runs trade east of Dilgul, though the commerce she manages is not as great as that of her ex-husband, Jason Hiergaard, the Dorwinion head of the Syndicate operations west of Dilgul. Jahs tells the group of Tia Barlen, who has been telling everyone that she knows of a way to get to Tol Sulereb. She is in the Elgayar, and has been getting money from someone. Jahs asks for help learning more about this.

A well-spoken man named Bertram comes the Anduin Valley, seeking the aid of Pallando, whom he has heard is a local healer. Bertram seeks a cure for his headaches and bouts of amnesia. Pallando speaks with him privately.

Winton Coldfoot, the self-deprecating hobbit mayor of Nabal island in the Mayzri archipelago, comes uninvited, assuming that his lack of invitation was an oversight. “Bah, I am no mayor,” he explains, “Everyone in Nabal Mayzri is an equal person who goes his or her own way, indeed!” He comes to offer aid, and to save them the bother of travelling through the dangerous Mayzri straits to find him. He has no doubt that everyone will appreciate his help, and perhaps donate an appropriate reward for his promised aid against this terrible threat. Coldfoot believes that this is clearly the best idea he has ever had. He also mentions that he has some opium wine. Bertram and Skyrunner each take a bottle for free. Bertram says he doesn’t have much money, so Coldfoot secretly replaces his lamp (which is not of high quality) with a better one, though he also pickpockets a few coins for his trouble. Skyrunner says he doesn’t have any money, by which he means he doesn’t have much. He never does.

Also present is a delegation from a man named Krenn, a Dorwinion merchant greatly worried by the recent fascination for Ellataria by Lord Windsor, who has become incredibly unwise with money. Krenn asks for aid in curing Lord Windsor. 

Winterfoot resolves to aid Lord Windsor, and Drogo accompanies him, hoping to learn more of the brain-freeing techniques he has seen Winterfoot use in the past.

Skyrunner doesn’t know anything about brain-freeing, so he offers to journey with the dwarves. Grafarlig and Bertram agree to accompany them.

When they enter Nurundizikin some weeks later, they find it inhabited by goblins. Atauk & Throckel charge ahead, supported by Skyrunner’s bow. Grafarlig acts as a rear guard, which proves wise as the two goblins in front are reinforced by three more, and another four behind Grafarlig. Bertram, who is telling the party how great they are doing, decides to flee for a storeroom, where he smashes his head. Atauk, Throckel, and Skyrunner as initially terrified as a muscular bad green berserker emerges from the room where Bertram went, but Skyrunner notes that the creature is wearing the ripped garments of Bertram and shouts, “Don’t attack him! I think it is Bertram!”

It is indeed Bertram’s alter-ego — his blackouts are now explained. The enraged creature, who later introduces himself as Ugthug, charges the goblins. After three in front have fallen, one runs away, pursued by a crazed Ugthug. As their screams echo down the corridor, Skyrunner switches to spear and shield and goes to Grafarlig’s aid. Together they kill three of the rear ambushers, and one runs away. After searching the bodies and meeting Ugthug, who has returned from beating his goblin to a pulp, they follow the fleeing rear goblin and discover a secret door that leads to a library (recent books, mostly human), a chest, and stairs down. Skyrunner tries to pick the chest, but breaks his lock picks, so he and Ugthug smash it open with one of the goblin’s broadswords. Inside they find a belt of white deer hide, with a cloud inlay on the bronze buckle. Skyrunner wears this. They also find a gold necklace with 14 small pale beryls (elf stones), with a black opal centerpiece. This they give to Grafarlig.

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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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