TBT: Meet Daelysti

Buried in the hills there were many things that humans and other civilized beings chose to avoid. Monsters and creatures of savage natures and evil intents ruled the remote areas. One of these were the orcs. Terrible and savage creatures they were violent and cruel. They were born in blood and died in blood. They were only ruled through force and threat of violence. They only respected might and strength. Such was their kind.

Sworn enemies of the elves which were once of the same ancestors. They lived to see elves slaughtered, but lacking the sophistication and intelligence that the other races possessed, they never succeeded in much more than some surprise raids on undefended farming communities or exploration parties. So it was strange that an elf would seek them out, but in fact one did.

Daelysti was not like most elves. She did not belong to any of the several elf communities that dotted the land. She was a recluse. Short and lean, little about her suggested any strength. Darker than most of the elves seen in the world she had a wildness about her with her hair flowing in various directions as if moved by the wind even when there was none. She wore little, only covering the more intimate parts and carried with her a long spear with an obsidian blade on the tip. The shaft of the spear bore many runes and markings undecipherable by any but the most educated scholars of the time. Her body too was marked by a pattern that resembled lightning. By far the most intimidating feature however was her eyes. Nearly all white they looked like blizzards and just as dangerous. She was no ordinary elf, if there was such a thing.

She appeared from nowhere, just seemed to step from the woods and stood before the entrance to an orc camp before any noticed her. A scrawny orc on guard looked up and yelped before charging the frail elf. Without a word she stood still until it looked as though the orc guard would run her through with his serrated blade. In a movement as swift as a breeze she lifted her spear, plunged it through his throat and removed it again.

So fast was her movement that the orc stepped twice more before realizing that he found it difficult to breath and was light headed. He looked down to see his life pooling at his feet before it all went black.

Many orcs were charging now from various tents and huts recognizing their intruder as an elf, and eager to steal her life away in retaliation for generations of ridicule and disdain. Still Daelysti stood as motionless as one of the trees from which she appeared. Finally she spoke some words that the orcs could not understand. They were words powerful enough to command the air and as she whirled her spear above her head it gathered electricity before spewing it toward the elf’s enemies like bolts of lightning.

Charred, singed and burnt the orcs fell back. Some collapsed from their wounds, some were struck dead by her might and others cowered in fear.

“Bring me your chief!” she shrieked in a high voice that sounded like that of a child. “I wish to speak to him.”

“Orcs don’t talk to elf!” one of the larger orcs growled.

Daelysti closed her eyes and focused her thoughts. She murmured more foreign words and when she opened her eyes she pointed her spear at the brave orc. Lightning flew from the tip of her spear and gripped the orc’s heart, crushing it in his chest. He fell to the ground, smoke rising from his body.

The rest of the group ran off to get their chief. Daelysti smiled weakly, “Good little orcs,” she chuckled.

TBT: Meet Holgar

The tall warrior pushed the broken wooden door open with a kick of his boot. It splintered with a groan and pieces scattered about the cold stone floor. Holgar stood in the doorway a moment allowing his eyes to adjust to the scene. The room was black except for the light pouring around his frame seeking to dispel the evil that occupied the keep. He immediately made out the eyes of the beasts that befouled the once proud fort. He could not see their forms clearly but their growls and snarls were enough to raise fear in any man. Holgar was not any man however. He was a paladin. He held his shining mace up high before him and shouted, “I’ve come here to cleanse this place of your stench! Prepare to be sent back to the hell from which you came!”

Without further warning he lunged into the room swinging his mace and shouting praises to God for every blow he landed against his enemies. The men behind him were unable to remain frozen before such courage and so they too rushed in hacking and hewing at the goblins. The beasts were not about to relinquish such a comfortable home and they swarmed the men with spears and barbaric clubs. Holgar stood strong, shield blocking the savage attacks and mace beating deep blows into the leathery flesh of his rivals. The men stayed close to his back forming a tight circle to defend each other from the onslaught.

Wave after wave of beasts washed against the warriors, threatening to swallow them whole. The sounds of clanging metal and grunting man and beast alike made for a maddening racket that confused the soldiers and caused panic to reach for their hearts.

Holgar just laughed and sang another song of joy to God for granting him the strength to battle such a wicked foe. He seemed to grow stronger as the battle waged on rather than weaker and it gave the men near him strength to continue on.

The fight continued to rage and one of the soldiers near Holgar was struck under his sword by a spear. It pierced his chain mail and wounded him badly. Holgar heard the man and without hesitation spun around knocking the goblin down who landed the blow before crushing his skull with the heavy mace. With his shield arm he caught the man before he fell and held him up.

Holgar leaned in with word of prayer on his lips before shouting, “You’re not done yet, hold that sword up and send some of these beasts back to where they came from.”

The soldier lifted his sword with a renewed energy and slashed it through the first goblin that approached him. Holgar spun back to the lead of the group and fought on. Swinging and pummeling the enemies as quickly as they could approach he fought his way into the main hall of the keep. From there his group was completely surrounded. Holgar shouted to keep everyone close and then braced for the rush of the enemies. As they reached him he bashed them to pieces like clay pots. More of his men fell near him, but each time he managed to rally them back to their feet to continue the fight.

Eventually the goblins realized that they were not going to carry the day and in fear of the holy warrior fled screaming and shrieking. Holgar stood tall and proud with a pile of bodies around him. Paying them no mind he tended to the wounds of his men. Several of them were injured badly, but with Holgar’s care were able to stay on their feet and to travel with some assistance.

Holgar did not celebrate the victory, though it was mighty indeed. He merely prayed for the lives of his men and thanked God for sustaining him through the fight. Satisfied that the enemy had been routed from the keep he prepared to return to the king with news of the battle.

TBT: Epic of Cruhand the Rat Killer

So as a guy interested in fantasy and historical epic I decided to try and write some. It is not really that difficult because epics don’t necessarily rhyme and so I put together a form and tried it out. I decided that my epic form would have 10 syllables per line, 10 lines per stanza and 10 stanzas. Easy enough right? Well, here was my first attempt at it for a friend I game with.

The Epic of Cruhand the Rat King Killer

This is the story of a brave fighter.

He was a warrior from a land afar.

From the dark mysterious mountains.

In a land bathed in ever burning flame.

Where the dragons once ruled for an ion.

A place where only the strongest may live.

Where the weak are devoured by evil.

He was born with the blood of the dragon.

He grew up with a thirst for adventure.

His foes shook when they heard his name; Cruhand.

I, Rick James the Silver Tongue, first knew him,

Escaping from Rheek the Rat King’s sewer.

He and his brave band of adventurers

Were hacking and slashing their way inside.

I thought I was doomed with rats and ogres

Blocking my exit from the wretched place.

But ignoring the danger they attacked.

With much ferocity the foes were felled.

Shortly, before me lay our enemies.

With introductions I joined the party.

Their goal and now mine was to kill the Rat

So returning from whence I came we went.

And pushed through a space made for stinky rats.

Before we emerged on the other side

We were waylaid by a group of green slimes.

Cruhand and the rest went on the attack,

And our draconic hero was swallowed.

The slime began to digest his hard hide.

But succumbed to his fiery breath.

Slimes melted like jello we continued.

We journeyed into a pit for Rheek’s pet.

And nearly snuck by it undetected.

But the beast awoke and quickly attacked.

And Cru just laughed at the challenge at hand.

And pounded the beast with fist, breath and tail.

Bravely we fought the hideous creature.

Its tentacles whipped and smacked us around.

All the while Cru had his mark on the fiend.

Taunting it and teasing it to attack.

In bloody cries fell both hero and beast.

We gathered round to examine the mess

Fearing Cruhand had succumbed to his wounds,

The beast laying slaughtered covered in blood,

Cru faintly mumbled to hand him his hat.

Alive but injured there was one option.

We would bring our friend and cure his wounds.

I used my cunning to bluff by the guards.

Leading the team until Cru could be healed.

We disposed of more guards and fought gargoyles.

Finally resting in the Rat’s own nest.

With aid from me and a grumpy cleric

Cru was recovered and ready to kill.

Down hallways and into a room with ogres,

Cru yelled “plan A” and charged in with no fear.

Surrounded he fought in front and in back.

While I bluffed an ogre so cleverly.

The dragon man roared and spit holding tight.

Swinging and charging no thought for safety.

Cru and the group slaughtered all that challenged.

Countless guards and ogres met their demise.

I intercepted a guard getting help.

Enduring bolts from his deadly crossbow.

Evading him by crawling like a rat,

I quickly made my way to the prison.

With my grand silver tongue I bluffed the guards

Into releasing an ally they held.

But before I could escape with the man,

The archer fired a bolt in my back.

With battle raging, me nearly beaten,

Cruhand and group arrived and crushed them all.

Nearly to our goal I tricked all the guards

To think that Cruhand was heading away.

With madness they chased up to the surface.

Leaving us to find Rheek in his throne room.

But “Plan A” failed us as turning the door,

Dropped us into a pit with rot grub beasts.

The worms tried to eat their way through our skin,

But they could not overcome the dragon!

Cruhand burned the worms with his fire breath.

He crawled from the pit even angrier.

He burst through the door finally at his goal.

Guards and ogres would not stop him this time.

Too many times had Rheek escaped his fate.

The party made quick work of others there.

And Cruhand charged the Rat King on his throne.

His foot in an iron boot he fought on.

His hat looking magnificent as always.

Missing time after time, not losing heart,

He kept fighting, not accepting defeat.

Finally the Rat King died at his feet.

But Cruhand’s rage was still unsatisfied.

Even gold and jewels were still not enough.

He crushed statues and even Rheek’s stone throne,

Showing the way to even more riches.

He collected those and searched the whole room.

But he look around for more things to take,

Crawled in a hole too small for our hero.

There a rat attacked him, gnawing his face.

There he died having come all that way,

Beat the king, but another rat’s dinner.

Adventures of Dadd episode 2

Dadd drifted in and out of consciousness as sweat formed on his brow and then chilled him to his bones. He had plague. He felt like he was dying and indeed wished he would at times. He rolled from side to side unable to get comfortable and moaned in between coughs and sniffles. He felt like his face was melting.

In the midst of his anguish, his children called to him. They begged him for food, unable to find any. Their calls stirred his spirit and he found some remaining strength to lift his aching body from the bed and stand. The room spun around and he nearly fell to the ground but he managed to remain upright. Stumbling he sought his children. They were gathered together trying to decide how to find something to eat. Dadd stood, head throbbing and looked through squinted eyes.

“I will score something to eat,” Dadd mumbles.

“But father you’re ill!” The children pleaded.

“Bless you my children, you are good. But I am your father and I will find you something to eat.”

“Thank you dear man!” They cried together.

Drawing a cloak round his neck and gripping his bow, Dadd stumbled from their home and into the wild.

The wind chilled his face and sleet stung his flesh but he endured. With all his might he trudged looking for tracks of some beast that could feed his offspring. At last he found some.

The tracks were faint but he was able to follow even in the weather. At last he saw through the swirls of sleet his mark. A box of Lucky Charms pranced in the snow the clean white drifts kicking up around the food.

Dadd pulled an arrow and drew it back in his bow, aiming carefully. He exhaled then loosed his arrow. The missile flew true and struck its mark, downing the meal.

Dadd dragged the box back to his children and there was much rejoicing in the bounty he offered while he climbed back into bed, half wishing the plague would take him and end his agony.

Grigor’s not-so Mirror Images

Far to the north, near the Spine of the World, a party of adventurers trudged through the frozen landscape in search of giants who attacked one of the Ten Towns. The group consisted of a mighty, yet simple, barbarian, a devoted dwarven cleric, a noble human and a very clever and studious mage named Grigor Marsk. Prior to leaving town to track the giants, Grigor spent hours upon hours by daylight and candle light pouring over scrolls and tomes ever searching for new spells and strategies for defeating the beasts who plagued that land. With a twinkle in his eye and a sly smile he anticipated the next encounter with the giants. He sorted out a plan that would make quick work of even those formidable foes.

With huge tracks left by the giants, the trail was not difficult to follow. A trio of the monsters camped against a short cliff and the heroes approached from above. Hearts filled with confidence, they did not hesitate to engage their enemies. Grigor cracked his knuckles arrogantly as he began his work. The mage spoke the words of an ancient spell and energy suddenly surged through their loin clothed barbarian who flexed his swollen muscles and gripped his massive maul before shouting an enraged battle chant and leaping into the giants’ camp. Grigor smiled. So far so good.

With the barbarian swinging his mighty maul in an absolute fury below the ledge, the noble among them took aim with a musket he crafted his self and fired off a shot at one of the giants but the shot sailed helplessly wide of any adversary. The dwarf called upon his god for favor in battle and his spiritual hammer appeared and began to smash the giants along with the barbarian. “Excellent, this is going well,” Grigor mused.

The giants roared, toxic breath from their hateful mouths, picked up their enormous clubs and searched for targets. Two decided to batter the barbarian to death while one elected to climb the cliff and look for the being that fired a shot at them from the mysterious mechanical weapon.

The barbarian took some savage hits but stood tall to the onslaught and howled back at the beasts defiantly. He swung his maul with extra speed and might curtesy of his mage companion. From his vantage, Grigor the mage could see the giant climbing the cliff and would have none of it. Mages do not survive blows from a giant’s club. That is for the duller and sturdier adventurers. Grigor did not fret however, clever as he was, he closed his eyes to concentrate and recited the words of a new spell that would protect him. Moments later mirror images of conjurer appeared around him; four images in total. This was intended to confuse his enemies and protect him from attacks. Grigor smiled.

The noble gun slinger fired at the giant climbing the cliff and missed yet again. Grigor shouted at him to shoot the others but the nobleman would have none of it. Who was a dirty mage peasant to tell a member of the aristocracy what to do after all?

The dwarf battle cleric was not about to allow his friend the barbarian take all the glory so he too leaped off the cliff and into the fray wielding his hammer, swinging it at his hated enemies. Together the pair smashed the giants, cracking bones and bruising bodies.

The giants pounded the enraged barbarian, badly beating his body as he pummeled them in return. The third, however, pulled a large bolder from a massive bag and took aim at the mage, Grigor. The mage just smiled knowing his mirror images would give the giant enough targets to consider that the chance of him choosing the actual Grigor was small. The giant reached back and hurled the boulder directly at the unarmored mage smashing him hard on one side. Dazed and wounded, Grigor shook his head and looked at his mirrors who seemed to look back blankly at their conjurer.

The battle raged on. The rifleman fired at the giant on the cliff hitting him, bullet penetrating the giant’s flesh deeply. Grigor shook his head, dismayed his party was not following his expert strategy. The dwarf prayed to his deity and channeled some healing energy into the savage barbarian who did nothing but smash the giants before him with speed and precision. Grigor shouted words of power and magical energy flew at a giant, pelting him with the magic missiles. Satisfied, the mage remained confident that the battle would be one.

With bellows of hate, the giants would not relent and again their heavy clubs pounded the brave barbarian who dared oppose them. The rock heaver took aim once more at the mage and his mirrors. As the dull monster considered his target he was momentarily confused by the number of identical mages that stood beyond, yet in the next moment it seemed as though four of them pointed to one. Not one for thinking, the giant hurled the bolder once more, at the actual Grigor, knocking the poor mage nearly from his feet and injuring him further.

Head spinning and body aching, Grigor fell to one knee and tried to reason out what was wrong. He looked around him and in fact his mirrors were still there, yet the giant had not been fooled by them in the least. They even seemed to shrug at him as if to suggest they also didn’t know what was wrong.

Below, the barbarian smashed one of the giant’s knees bringing him low while the cleric blasted his war hammer into his face, caving his skull and ending his miserable life. They turned to the other giant next to them and started hammering away at him. The noble marksman took aim and fired again at the foe on top of the plateau, once again hitting the beast, bullet burying deeply into the creature’s chest causing him to wail in agony.

Sensing that his life was nearly over, the badly wounded giant drew another boulder from his satchel and looked to take one of his enemies with him to the grave. The mage watched as once again the monster took aim at him, hoping his mirrors would finally confuse the beast. The giant glared at the group of copies and noted that four appeared to gesture towards one yet again. The giant, strength failing, launched the rock at the mage. Grigor’s eyes grew wide and he froze while he watched the rock hurl towards him. His mirrors watched as well, unconcerned. The mage held his breath and closed his eyes anticipating the end. A deafening crash rang in his ears and he was certain the boulder had smashed him. Another moment passed however and the sounds of battle below continued so he slowly opened his eyes. He was still living. The rock lay next to him and his mirrors smiled at their master and raised their thumbs simultaneously in approval. Grigor was not impressed.

The mage decided he could not remain on top of the cliff and was convinced his mirrors were in league with the giants. He slid down the cliff on his rear end so as to prevent the fall from killing him and remained prone while he cast yet another spell to injure the giant below.

Another blast from the rifle ended the giant on the plateau and with his friends dead and his body badly beaten the final enemy chose to flee from the heroes. He turned tail and ran away only to be chased down by the hasty barbarian and smashed once more with the heavy maul, splitting his spine and bringing him face down into the frozen ground.

Victorious yet bloodied, the heroes celebrated. All except Grigor, who glared at his innocent looking mirrors, wondering why his illusion was so unsuccessful in confusing his foe. There would be many more hours studying his scrolls and tomes to try to understand why his mirrors were so disloyal to their own conjuror. Perhaps some team building was necessary to bring them together?

Goblin Bros!

Currently I have a break from being DM and I get to play! I love to DM but I like to play too and so I am excited to get back to a game we started 8 months ago or so.

4th edition DnD is awesome at letting you customize and design characters like never before. I love to play an interesting character so I designed a goblin shaman. In previous editions a goblin wasn’t even an option for a character, but the fourth makes that dream a reality. I love my character Zyx. He is shockingly effective and useful in a party. What makes him even more fun is that my buddy is also playing a goblin, my character’s brother, Nyx.

Zyx and Nyx are too much. We regularly roll something we call “goblin mischief” which means we may do something stupid if we roll high. That typically plays out like this:

We encounter a door. I check for traps and find one. Nyx disarms the trap. We roll goblin mischief and roll high. We open the door. Inside we see some enemies. Roll goblin mischief. High roll again! We through a rock at something in the room. That something turns to attack us. We run back to the party screaming with enemies following. Super fun.

We also developed a goblin dice game. I call it eyeballs and knuckles. Each character takes turns rolling a die. If you roll a one you get to gouge the opponent in the eye. If you roll a five you get to punch the opponent. It’s super fun as well.

So…for now I will post party notes for this game and from the perspective of Zyx. I’m excited.
river-goblin

Through the Mountain

A wisp of fresh air beckons you to follow its sweet scent to a more pleasant place. Its intoxicating aroma cannot be ignored and it leads you to freedom from the darkness and the perils that lurk there. You stumble and tramp past the remaining rocks and rubble and find sunlight steaming in from the world beyond the cave. You quicken your pace and trot around the final turn.

A bath of warm rays wash over you even while the brightness of the sun blinds you for a moment. A burst of life and energy fills your body and your aches and pains lessen as you slump to your knees to enjoy the warmth that spreads through your limbs for the first time in many days.

You close your eyes and fall to the ground when you finally accept that you indeed survived the evils of the mountain cave. Drow and grey dwarves, dragons and ogres are behind you. They will not dare to venture into the light to threaten you. You are safe. For the first time in too long you are safe.

Minutes pass as you bask in the bright glow of the world and the freeing sense of safety that fills your soul. You snooze like a babe safe in its wrap. When you awake it is as if you have been born again; been given new life.

You open your eyes and look upon your new world. It takes more than a moment for you to adjust to the brightness but at last the landscape comes into focus. Your smile slowly fades and the warmth of the world begins to feel hot. A wind blows by and no longer smelling sweet, the air instead carries a hint of despair.

You scan the land before you but it appears dead. There is little but rock and sand. Desolation rules this new alien world. Far from the rivers and trees of your homeland you find yourself faced with an endless, harsh desert.

At least you are free from the belly of the dark mountain. Or is that a good thing?desert

From Drow to Duergar

The heroes, with the blessing of Moradin, escaped the drows’ clutches. The elf witch once more fell in battle but the dwarves dragged her free from the wicked dark elves. They retreated to a safer location and upon noticing that the drow did not pursue them they rested. The priest of Moradin was content to let her bleed to death but the monk did not tolerate it and dressed her wounds. She awoke to an interrogation by the group and was made to explain why she seemed to continue to lead them into, or perhaps better said, keep them from, danger.

The group discussed options and decided that they would have to push past the drow. The only other option that was floated was to dive into the river which plunges into deeper depths of the mountain. Of course the dwarven sword mage suggested trying to fight the drow once more and felt like the heroes could win a war of attrition with them even while their own numbers were static at five party members. Others did not warm up to the idea and it was decided to try to turn away from the drow at a fork in the cave.

As expected the drow were not in sight and rather than try to find them, this time the party moved in a different direction. They meandered around some turns and ultimately found a group of grey dwarf with hands shackled mining. The Priest of Moradin suggested negotiating with them again in spite of the fact that they are sworn enemies of shield dwarves and Moradin. It was wondered whether the air was getting to thick for him and affecting his thinking.

The heroes took good account of the scene and then attacked. They did not hesitate to slay the weak miners and then focused on the stronger and more dangerous Duergar who seemed to guard them. The battle began well for the group and with luck they will prove victorious. grey dwarves

Game Notes: Deadly Drow

With Ferdinand the Bull fallen in battle and the rest of the party badly wounded, the group of heroes retreated to a remote location, attempted to cover their tracks and fortify a position and rest. The dwarven thief Guter went on a recovery mission to reclaim Ferdinand’s body if possible. He silently crept along with night vision goggles and located their favorite Minotaur. His body was located among a mess of slain drow all stripped of equipment and weapons. Guter pulled him from the mess, tied a rope around the Bull’s horns and then proceeded to drag the fallen friend back to the safe location. It’s not entirely clear why Guter didn’t simply carry their friend but the powers that be (me) chose not to add damage to Ferdinand’s already lifeless body or argue about taking corners while dragging something from a rope.

With Ferdinand back the party hunkered down to rest. They forgot about the vengeful Earth Elemental that has recently been name Rock Hudson for his earth connection and flair for dramatic appearances. Rock once more assailed the party and before they fought him off, Rock killed the half-elf witch. No worries though as the party managed to rest up and Priest Thoradin resurrected Ferdinand. Somehow Moradin blessed the bull in spite of his pagan belief and the really poor rendering of Moradin’s holy symbol on Ferdinand’s horn. With the party alive though weakened they decided to press on.

rock-hudson-1951

earth_elemental_by_razwit-d5siqph

Striking resemblance

The group chose to assault the drow head on. They approached with some caution, examined the area for suspicious things and found some traps. The first was found by stepping direction on it and the others through more intelligent means. The Half-Elf guide was quite sure that it was an ambush but kept that suspicion to her self. Ferdinand was upset when he noticed that the guide was no where to be found when the battle began but nothing came of that either.

The party encountered some drow in the cave previously inhabited by trolls but inexplicable the drow did not follow the party to the area in which they hoped to fight. So the party elected to wait and see what happened. At this point the witch was entirely convinced that they were in an ambush but yet again kept the information to herself. Indeed a significant number of drow arrived at the party’s rear closing them off in a narrow hallway. Some initial attacks weakened the drow but they inflicted plenty of damage to the party as well.

The situation is dire.

Game Notes: Meet the Drow

The heroes were feeling good and moving on with their adventure through the mountains in an effort to reach lost kin on the other side. They became somewhat transfixed however on “cleansing” the caves in which they roamed and this may indeed cause their undoing. With nearly half of the mountain tunnels clean and blessed in the name of mighty Moradin the adventurers looked to complete the cleansing and at last reach daylight.

Traveling into yet another troll tunnel they sought to dispatch the foul creatures. While doing so however they began to receive some harassment from drow warriors. Now the drow are not to be trifled with. They are evil creatures that know nothing of loyalty or mercy. They are murderous and violent. Few come into contact with them and survive. Why the heroes have found them in the mountain, they are not sure. Like the confident group that they are however they immediately engaged the drow. Taking damage yet pushing though the pain they chose to follow the drow when they pulled back. This of course revealed more of them and after tripping a rather deadly trap they pushed into the drow territory. The battle was bloody and brutal. The heroes were at last compelled to retreat away from the dark elves after enduring many critical blows.

Even retreat seemed unlikely when the dark elves pursued the group but bravely Ferdinand the Bull, the Minotaur monk who wanted little more than to be free from pursuit of slavers and to meditate the day away, stood in the way in order to afford his allies enough time to escape. Ferdinand fell to the wave of dark elf aggression as his friends fled to find sanctuary and rest.

The heroes hurried to a more secure corner of the caverns in order to rest. They narrowly escaped the wrath of the drow yet were only more determined to overcome their wickedness and also to retrieve their fallen mate and with Moradin’s blessing restore his life.
drow_warrior_by_aiderathar-d4ndq1u