The Counsel Gathers

As the sun rose and exposed Saltmarsh to warm sunlight, it was a very different city. Fires smoldered on one side where siege weapons were attacked and destroyed. Slain guards were lined up and accounted for so they could be buried properly; casualties of the civil struggle between the king and the traditionalists of the city. Much blood has been spilt in the conflict. Will there be more? 

Galen stepped into the common room of the Mariners guild house dressed in a clean bright tunic and black pants with boots shined brightly. His personal guard, Buckminster was by his side and held Galen’s arm to steady him. Galen’s face was drawn in and bruised, signs of the torture he endured in the jail of the kingsmen. He stepped to a chair in the center of the room and gingerly sat then folded his hands in his lap. Buckminster stood behind him and looked about the room with eyes narrowed as brow tight searching for any potential enemies and even when he found nothing but friendly faces he maintained his scowl. 

Next Eda, the old burly fisherwoman entered. She was wearing a long coat, common for fishermen, and heavy boots. Her face too was bruised, the work of the torturer, and she walked carefully. A pair of strong young men helped her to her seat next to Galen. She sat and he reached out a hand to her, she took it and gently squeezed. They enjoyed a moment of solidarity as survivors then sat forward and waited for the final counsel man. 

Murmurs that he would not show began to circulate but at last Anders entered with bright clothes and his head held high as if this were some basic meeting of the counsel. He greeted many personally and took time to shake hands with a number of people whose faces brightened when they saw the young man. He smiled and chatting briefly with a few folks before finally taking his seat. 

The room fell silent. Galen cleared his throat with a croak like a frog then asked in a slow and deep voice, “How can we resolve this conflict and if possible, gain control of our precious city once more?” 

The question was one on the minds of every person there. It was a question of the fate of an entire city. The answer would affect generations to come.

The Kraken Awakens!

The Green Tide searched the hold of the Emperor of Waves and found even more sea zombies there among a collection of floating bodies. With resentment in their hearts and blue rot in their veins they attacked. The battle was furious with bolts of lightning flying, frost freezing and blades bloodied. In the end they managed to chase off the leader of their foes as he broke a hole in the ship and sunk into the depths and slayed his allies.

The Tide managed to plug the hole and stop the water from flooding but a massive crash into the ship alerted them that something was as of yet, amiss. They scurried to the top deck to spot the tentacles and body of a juvenile kraken assaulting the already wounded Emperor of Waves. 

The goblins wanted no part of the kraken (except Oilik) and they quickly fled to their rowboat and back to the Venturous where Captain Angie Combes promptly turned a rudder to the kraken and the sinking emperor. Yet Another ship swallowed by the sea in recent weeks. 

The Green Tide elected to part ways with Captain Combs and sailed the Green Porpoise to Saltmarsh along with 3 rescued soldiers from the Emperor and the pair of delegates from the Lizard Town. The city seems to still be immersed in conflict but who is fighting? More Sahaugin? The Lizard folk? The King’s men? 

Find out this week on Adventures of the Green Tide!

Sinking Ship

Last week, the Green Tide at last left the lizard folk liar with a pair of representatives in search of an alliance against the evil Sahaugin. Gentle travels were interrupted by a ship floating aimlessly on the sea. 

The brave goblins boarded her in hopes of salvaging the battered Emperor of Seas and when they climbed aboard they found a gastly scene of blood, gore and even a foot in a boot with no pair to match. While pink goblin sought the lonely foot’s mate, the goblins encountered a number of disfigured sea zombies. They battled them bravely and sometimes not-so-bravely but were backed into a corner before slaying the last of them. 

But where have these aquatic zombies come from? Are there more aboard the ship? Can the Emperor be salvaged? Find out this week on, adventures of the Green Tide!

Adventures of the Green Tide 2

Last week the Green Tide was recovering from the climactic battle to defend the lizard Queen and her interests. Oilik the Pink Goblin was reunited with his brothers but with the effects of having been dead for a day, his furious fists were somewhat flaccid and his equipment was lost in the belly of a shark. 

They were not permitted to rest long however as they learned that the vault was under siege, the vault which contained valuable artifacts. The tide bravely rushed in and began battling the foul fishy foes. With Orryn the white goblin atop Odrut his trust Dino steed and Moody Goblin assisting him in holding the line, the goblins fought back their enemies who were slaughtering more outmatched lizard folk. 

Led once more from the rear by Captain Zug the tide was turned and our goblin brothers fought their way to the vault only to find it breached. The tide were surprised to find humans ransacking the Lizard Folk treasure along with the Sahaugin but before they could make sense of it, despite some tremendously insightful and inexplicable deductions, the intruders vanished in a mist of magical light. 

Although the relics were lost and many lives along with them the battle rages on as the Green Tide never surrender! 

Will the Tide find allies for the lizard folk who seek revenge against the Shady Sahaugin? Will the Tide at last secure a ship of their own? Will they find who was in league with their fishy foes? Find out this week on “Adventures of the Green Tide!”

A Brother Recovered

Recap and intro to the Adventures of the Green Tide!

Last week the Green Tide woke after spending a night recovering from near continuous combat since arriving at the Lizard Folk town. While their bodies were healed their hearts were heavy as the began to embrace the real possibility that their brother, Oilk, had fallen in battle. As they went about morning rituals, the sounds of shuffling feet perked their ears. The Tide investigated to find Sahuagin fighters carrying bloodied bodies to the water front. With contempt for their adversaries burning hotly in their hearts they attacked once more. The battle continued to the water front where they found Sahuagin priestesses engaged in a ritual and the slain being tossed into the water to a massive double headed shark adorned with stones and the skulls of sacrifices. The brave Tide defeated the Sahuagin and disrupted the ritual sacrifice. With little but fleeting hope they searched the mountain of corpses. The carnage was difficult to stomach, even for goblins, but alas they spotted a single smooth green hand buried beneath the scaly lizard folk corpses. The goblins pulled on it and behold, their fallen brother was discovered, his body badly maimed and disfigured, yet mostly intact; the tattoos of his tentacle patron torn along with his flesh. 

The goblins stuffed their brother’s body in a bag of holding and carried on, following a Lizardfolk captain to a friendly area. From there they traveled through a secret passageway to the queen’s court and found the sovereign barricaded inside with rebel forces attempting to breach the large doors that guarded her. The Green Tide pledged their support and they then welcomed the rebels to a battle to resolve their differences. The battle was fierce but the Tide were too strong for the rebels and their Shaman leader was slain with prejudice. There was no mercy even when one of the rebels surrendered and begged for his life. White goblin, who didn’t seem to have heard the pitiful pleas for mercy, fired a pair of arrows into his chest. 

The rebel attack was repelled but where are the sahuagin? Is there more to their alliance with the lizardfolk? Is retrieving their artifact their only motivation? If so, have they succeeded in their task? 

Find out tonight on this episode of the Adventures of the Green Tide!

Perilous Performers Introduction

From our D&D adventures. So much fun…

Good evening ladies gentlemen and creatures of all shapes and sizes, tonight you are in for the entertainment event of your entire existence. The perilous performers bring an exhibition second to none. Known throughout waterdeep and all of the sword coast, we are brewers, brawlers and shot callers. 

I am Justin Timberlake the MC for tonight’s extravaganza. I will stimulate your senses with music, song and dance till they drop your pants and wash you in romance. All are satisfied when this show they’ve spied, I guarantee. Without further ado it’s time to meet the crew. 

First up, he’s small, he’s quick, he wields a whip. First you see him then you don’t. Catch him if you can? But we all know you won’t. Hold on to your purses and your hearts, he’s Garrett Luckyfoot! 

Up next, he’s a little tea pot short and stout, he’ll pray for you then knock you out. He may break shields but never an oath. The only thing he loves more than beer is his beard. He’s Kor the Shieldbreaker!

Next up is our strongman. There is none like him. They say he was born with hair on his chest and I wouldn’t jest. His legs as round as trees, arms hang down to his knees, and his skull as thick as you please, all fall before him as he tears off their limbs. He is Za-thor the Basher! 

Last but certainly not least. He is pound for pound the mightiest creature to wander the land. Even if he looks like he’s sitting when he stands. He’ll crush you with stones then reanimate your bones. He has more power in his little finger than in any other wizard. Here he is…

Behold the Gnomecromancer! 

(Illusions, lights, sounds, huge, finish….jazz hands) 

Childhood innocence

In this time, during which my children and I are stuck at home, I was recently reflecting on the wonder of childhood. It isn’t really odd that we cherish that time and the children around us. In many ways they have a much better world than ours. Theirs is innocent.

I marvel at how simple things can be for them. They wake up. They play. they laugh. They love.; all with their full heart. Sure, they are driving me nuts as I try to teach them in our little “home school” situation right now, but at the end of the day, I’m thrilled that they can continue to enjoy life in a way that adults find difficult.

Adults worry too damn much. We fret over everything. We overthink things. We suffer from anxiety and depression and a variety of other, mostly self inflicted, conditions. Children seem so much freer than us in many ways. It’s no wonder we celebrate them so.

Do they make a mess? Constantly. Do they whine sometimes and complain about things? Of course. It is brutal trying to get them to do their school work from home? Oh yeah. But still, when they give you a hug and tell you how much they love you, it is difficult to not just melt and release all that frustration.

I also loved coaching youth soccer. It was so much fun. They were so hilarious. I loved playing little soccer related games and encouraging them and cheering them on. Their faces light up when they do something good and you celebrate them and I will forever remember those feelings. I even had a child kick the ball into our goal, but he was so excited about seeing the ball go in the net I just cheered for him and gave him a high five anyways. No need to steal his joy; better to let him have it.

So, in a time of anxiety, uncertainty and fear, I take some comfort in the innocence of children. Their in the moment attitudes and joyful hearts give me plenty of hope when it is in short supply. Oh to feel what they feel once more. Sadly, once innocence is lost, it can never be regained.

Game Time!

I first played any type of role-playing game when I joined the army in 1998 and I was immediately hooked. Many enjoy these types of games and for various reasons. I love them for the role-playing and interactive aspect. Obviously I enjoy story telling and these games allow for the players to participate in a dynamic story as a character. I love it.

Years later I’m still playing with some of the old army buddies and some more recent friends as well. Lately, I’ve been enjoying it more than ever. Partially because I don’t have a horrible partner who hates the game and steals the router while I’m trying to play and partially because we’ve formed the most interesting and exciting group I’ve ever played with.

As far as characters go, the bard has always been my favorite for their social strengths and my penchant for womanizing during the game. So once again I am playing Justin Timberlake but I am joined by a halfling thief who uses a whip as his main weapon, a dwarf paladin and a gnome illusionist who pretends to be a necromancer but hates the scent of decay and death. It’s an amazing group. We named ourselves the Perilous Performers as we are former circus performers and we have an elaborate introduction that never gets old, especially since one of us tends to fail a performance check each time we do it.

There have already been a number of very entertaining moments and I will try to blog about them here so that you all can enjoy our adventures along with us.

Cheers to the Perilous Performers!

Excerpt: Sureshot the King

Some of the new words I’ve put down for Sureshot the King…coming soon.

Meanwhile, Vorfar and Makler began making a plan to get into the city once more. This time it would be more difficult as there had just done so. The decided they would travel to the northern end of the city and attempt to gain entry posing as woodsmen helping to bring lumber and supplies into the city. It was the least trafficked area of the wall because there were no well traveled roads there, only a few trappers, loggers and miners entered that area. Besides, it was on the opposite side from their position and so less likely that any search parties would be looking for them there.

When they were satisfied with their plan, they wondered where the prince had gone.

“He is struggling,” Makler suggested.

“Aye, he is,” Vorfar agreed. “It isn’t an easy thing. He’s torn between his loyalty to his father and his friend. In those situations, one’s heart aches because it wants to hold both but you cannot hold both fire and ice in the same hand. He must drop one of them and he does not want to.”

“But I don’t believe Durbar killed his father,” Makler added.

“Perhaps not, but it does not matter. Either Durbar did so because Duke Orthan had to be killed, or someone else killed the Duke and is letting Durbar take the blame. Either way, the young prince is mourning. Not only for his father but for his friend. It is a lot of weight on him. Try to be patient. He does not necessarily mean what he says right now. It is the pain speaking through him.”

”But if Durbar didn’t kill the duke then who did?”

“I surely don’t know. But I do know that his family is cursed with treachery. Never were they fond of loyalty.”

“Are you saying it is possible that Warren killed his father?”

”Many things are possible. In the case of Orthan and his sons, suffice it to say that there is a history of such things. Betrayal runs in their blood.”

Makler looked towards the woods into which Rothan retreated, but he, like the truth, was hidden.

The Enchanter

Just playing with a new character I’ve been thinking about for a week or so. Could be a lot of fun to write stories for him.

There was a tall tower made of stone that rose from the otherwise untamed landscape. Few knew about it at all, even fewer could find it. Besides the fact that it was far from organized society, its creator and master guarded it with an enchantment that disguised it further, making it appear like the trees that surrounded it unless you were very near. Many times, curious explorers and adventurers walked by the tower without the slightest notion that it was there.

The master of the tower was renown by those who believed he existed. Many figured he was a myth, but indeed he was alive and well. The secrecy and camouflage that enveloped the tower was purely do to its master’s business.

Inside the tower a man with a completely smooth bald head and smooth face worked in the highest room from which he could see for miles in all directions. The room was littered with various gems and items. Virtually everything could be found there from a variety of arms and armor to jewelry and articles of clothing. Anything a person could wield or wear was available to the master of the tower. At the top of the tower the man who dwelled there took ordinary items and transformed them into weapons and clothing of tremendous power and prestige. In the tower lived and worked the greatest enchanter the land had ever known. His enchantments were the best and most demanded in the world and so his life became simultaneously renowned and dangerous. His name was Borisov and there was as much mystery surrounding him as there was the enchantments he created.

Curses and crashes came from the room as the master worked trying to find the correct equation for making an item.

“Why did I take this order?” he grumbled as he ran his hand across his smooth head. “This is a pointless item anyways.” The enchanter held up a crown adorned with gems and glared at the stones. “Trash. Greedy gnomes selling me worthless gems. That’s the last time I do any business with them. Dwarves only from now on.” He yanked a topaz from a setting in the crown and threw it across the room where is shattered.

Borisov stomped to a corner were there were a variety of bowls filled with gems of various shapes and sizes. His eyes were squinted and sharp as he dug through the various bowls searching for just the right gem. He pulled several and considered them before he tossed them back with a huff. At last one caught his eye and he pulled it from the group and held it high allowing the light to refract through it. He smiled and then rushed back to the crown and carefully placed the stone in the empty setting.

Borisov held up the crown and studied it carefully. It was forged from a gold alloy making it lighter and stronger while just as brilliant as gold ought to be. It contained five stones in all, each different. They were an emerald, a topaz, an opal, a ruby and a large sapphire in the center. It was a crown befitting the most glorious of kings.

Borisov placed it in the center of a round table carved from petrified redwood and adorned with stones of its own. Even the simplest of beings could feel the magical aura emitted from the table. But the table alone was just the cradle for the Enchanter’s creations.

Once the beautiful crown was placed on the center of the enchanter’s table, Borisov strolled over to a robe hanging on a hook by the door. It was brightly colored and woven from the fibers collected from many magical creatures some of which were now extinct. Hunted for their magical properties and unique characteristics these creatures once roamed the world in peace and freedom.

Robe pulled tight around his neck and secured around his body, Borisov could feel the power flowing through him. It was simultaneously invigorating and exhausting. The robe was so enchanted that it surged energy from the lost beasts through his body but mortal bodies could not endure the aura for long.

Borisov opened his eyes and they glowed as did his flesh while his muscles swelled and his heart raced. He moved to the enchanting table and held the crown while he checked the list of enchantments he wrote out for this job. He reviewed the words that few could read and began to recite them.

After a few times through the list he had the words committed to memory and he closed his eyes and continued to chant them to himself while feeling energy flow through his body and into the crown. Bright light poured from his hands and the crown with its gems glowed brightly.

Borisov continued to chant the words as magical energy raced to fill the crown and its gems which soaked it up like a sponge soaks up water. The Enchanter swayed from side to side some while became one with the crown and could sense and feel every inch of it as though he were part of the precious metal.

The Enchanter began to note some weakness in his knees but he refused to succumb to the increasing weariness while he was still able to channel more energy into the crown. It glowed bright white and finally Borisov released the crown and stumbled backwards until he collapsed on a couch nearby. He pulled the robe from his shoulders and dragged a blanket onto himself as he peacefully slipped into a dream with a smile on his face knowing that his creation was indeed another masterpiece.

The Enchanter had earned his slumber.