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.

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?

Playing a Barbarian D&D 5E

Sidharth Chaturvedi - Barbarian.png

I finally broke out of my favorite characters and created a barbarian. I usually tend towards the support characters because the role playing aspect of the game is my favorite and I don’t actually care much for how much damage my character can do or treasure items he finds. I love when my bard “Justin Timberlake” woos a hostile cult member into leaving her fanatical faith to travel and adventure with me though. Or playing a cleric and ever greeting characters in game by asking them if they’ve “heard the good news.” These things bring me great joy. So a barbarian is not in my wheel house, but I found a way.

I need to own my character and the quirky nature he has in order to get fully immersed into the game. So I made a barbarian named “Leny” who loves animals, wants to “live off the fat of the land” and calls everyone “George.” It has been an absolute blast. As you may have guessed if you ever had to read “Of Mice and Men,” Leny is not bright but is exceptionally strong and has a bit of an anger management problem when provoked or scared. He also is pretty good at smashing bad guys, but that’s not why I love him.

I love playing Leny because he is so much fun! He literally spends time trying to pet any animal he comes across. This has worked out very well so far. Upon meeting a super hostile Tressym, he rolled a critical on his animal handling and the pet has not left his side since. Leny managed to teach it a couple of commands and the flying cat lead us to an exceptionally dangerous beast in our last session. Very helpful. And when a hostile group landed near us on giant vultures, Leny again rolled a critical for animal handling and pet the carrion eaters baffling the would be adversaries and eventually they left without conflict.

For any who don’t care about how many pets their character can gather let me explain why else he is amazing. When raging the barbarian only suffers half damage on physical attacks. This is extremely worthwhile because the barbarian tends to get hit. I took the path of the “Totem Warrior” and decided that a bear is Leny’s spirit animal so now he takes half damage for any attack that isn’t psychic. This literally saved Leny’s bacon multiple times. Nearly every encounter in fact and as a result he has an every growing necklace of beast incisors.

Overall a solid class to play and it has been refreshing to be able to dive into the middle of the action while also enjoying the fun role playing aspect.

Cheers, may all your rolls be criticals.Tressym.jpg

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.



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: Friendly Fire and Ambush

The party was feeling good about life after defeating the stirges. In the mess of past victims they managed to pull out a nice looking suit of armor which was determined by the priest to be especially holy in spite of the fact that there were no religious marks present. They then had a discussion with their half elf witch guide (using the term loosely) about damaging the party while attacking enemies. There was some murmur about the witch’s loyalty. The witch with confidence exclaimed that it would not happen again and the subject was dropped.

Moving on the heroes brushed by some simple cave ogres though Ferdinand the Bull did attempted to gain passage in a more diplomatic manner. Unfortunately instead of asking if they may have permission to pass he asked if they had permission to have their way with their mothers. The ogres did not respond well and the brief battle that followed allowed them to die defending their mothers’ honor, if an ogre has any.

Moving right along to where they are not sure, they scouted ahead and readily agreed to explore the area which had the most noise and most danger. Some cave trolls inhabited the section of cave and the heroes set about ending their miserable existence. While doing so however some Drow ambushed the party and complicated matters. Fighting a two front war has never been easy and the party was pressed to endure the assault. Sneaky drow continued to pester the party while they dispatched the trolls.

In the end the drow were held and the trolls downed. There was a tense moment during the battle when the witch cast a spell that injured a troll with an acid arrow. Unfortunately that spell happened to splash acid on the Priest of Moradin and he did not appreciate it much having received more than minor injuries from the attack.

The party retreated into the troll cave deciding that it was a safe place to rest. There was some disappointment that the drow did not simply follow them into the ambush which was set for them and a little name calling. Alas the drow did not follow and the party was left to rest with as much peace as one can have knowing that drow are watching you.

Successful day of adventuring. Enemies bested, treasure found, and just a little friendly fire.


My absolute favorite class to play in a non computer version of DnD is the bard. It has the most character by nature. I have more fun playing a bard than any other character. Typically I enjoy the role playing aspect of…well…role playing, so the bard is perfect. Bards have high charisma which is useful for plenty of mostly useless tasks like lying or negotiating, yet I never get enough. If the DM does not supply me with ample opportunity to use my skills I usually invent one like trying to woo a drow mage during combat and declaring to her my true love and undying devotion up to the point when the party kills her. Love is fleeting.

In forth edition there are some more useful things that bards can do but remain the “jack of all trades” they were designed to be. Personally I enjoy the lying, cheating, and negotiating the bard is capable of. I regularly enjoy telling the party to engage in something everyone knows isn’t a good idea and then when they disagree rolling a “diplomacy” check. It usually sounds something like this:

Me: “Hey everyone, let’s go ask the leader of the evil guild if he knows anything about the noble’s daughter disappearing”

Party member: “That’s dumb. If it was him why would he tell us?”

Me (roll diplomacy 1d20+17) 17+17=34

party member: (rolls insight 1d20+5) 15+5=20

Party member: “You’re right, good idea”

I love it. Way more fun than asking the super nice priest about it.

I also enjoy making my characters after an actual musician. The most recent was Rick James. The DM suggested that I make it a bit more “DnD” and spell it “Rhyk Jaimes” or something but that never really took hold. Instead I ran around saying “Rick James Bitch!,” and singing “Superfreak” whenever the party needed and inspirational song. It was great. I loved every minute.

I also really enjoyed the optional “at will power” available to bards, “vicious mockery.” I decided that my character would say a “your momma” joke every time he used the attack. It was a lot of fun to tell an ogre “Your momma so fat that even Dora couldn’t explore her.” It turns out that many creatures one might encounter in DnD are sensitive about their mommas. It was a blast. I love bards so much that I have to be discouraged from playing one every time. Apparently too much of a good thing is bad. That or everyone was tired of the momma jokes. Oh well, guess I’ll have to play a boring ole elf wizard. No fun at all.


More wandering and Stirges

The heroes counted their loot and blessings after defeating a dragon. Moradin protects as always and the group felt secure in their continued success after defeating such a powerful foe. Guter the rouge dwarfs with hideous features scouted ahead with his new night vision goggles and located a zombie nearby. Surprisingly strategic the group decided to let the rouge “pull” the foe to them rather than meeting it in it’s own surroundings. The zombie didn’t at first take the hint but after finding a friend, the pair of undead traced after our hero to certain doom.

Satisfied the group moved on. Guter once again scouted and heard some flapping of wings down one corridor. The party of course ignored the fact that there was no strategic need to clear the area and engaged whatever dangers lurked within. They once more set up a decent line and waited for the enemies to reach them. It was surprising considering the party normally rushes forward with no regard for strategy or safety. Still…the flapping stirges they encountered were a little of a handful. They weren’t that tough individually but there were a few of them and they complicated things. It got further complicated when the witch guide cast a spell that caused damage to her allies and led to the Minotaur monk punching her as he danced around thumping foes. Still, the heroes could not be stopped by some measly flapping wasps. They downed them all and then slumped against the walls to rest a minute before the adventure continues. Next week.


Downing a Dragon

The party continued through a labyrinth of cave, dark and dismal. Their half breed elf guide continued to be mostly mute and oddly distracted as the heroes meandered about the tunnels looking for a way out or for a fight. Preferably the latter. The previous tussle with a duergar mage and his earth elementals left the party in need of some rest so they naturally explored new areas and promptly discovered a pair of cave ogres. The ogres proved shockingly easy to defeat and left the group wondering whether they were enemies or not. No biggie, they swung first after all…at least…the group thinks they did so no worries. Who likes ogres anyways? Oh wait…Shrek. Well…they weren’t Shrek.

With the semi friendly orges a distant memory the party moved on. They came into a large room full of treasure. Naturally they suspected a dragon. No one knew why…they just knew. They were right of course. So in Guter sneaked to investigate. Unfortunately the dragon was better at noticing Guter than Guter was of noticing the dragon. He insisted he couldn’t be surprised but couldn’t reverse the damage already inflicted upon him before he began his protest. The party rushed in of course and attacked with no thought as to whether it was a good idea. The dragon came on strong to begin but then slowed in his wrath as his five little dragons distracted him from the task at hand. It devolved to the point where the dragon even forgot his own capabilities. The baby dragons ultimately went to bed and papa dragon rallied a bit. It was too late to turn the tide of battle however and in the end the dragon fell.

Joyfully the party celebrated by pocketing gems, filling pockets with gold and barbecuing dragon; as one does. It was a glorious feast and the party adorned themselves with dragon parts: head, scales, claws, and other appendages. You know..because it shows they’re tough. All in all it was a productive evening and the party can now boast a baby dragon and papa dragon in their ever growing list of beasts downed.

A change is over taking Konigsberg

Intro to last night’s game:

A change is over taking Konigsberg. The city used to bustle and sing, full of joy and love. Darkness and fog swallowed it and now there is fear and chaos. Many of the inhabitants fled. They could only ignore the hoards of goblins gathering for a siege outside of the city for so long. The fires of their camps and the sound of their drums tended to grip the heart and squeeze until a body’s head hurt and breath was short. Some cracked and ran. In their place others have arrived. With so much attention on the eastern wall the western has been neglected. A collection of thieves, bandits, thugs, mercenaries and slavers have slipped into the city undetected replacing the peaceful citizens and creating a tension that builds like water beyond a dam. A town can only handle so many nefarious types before it breaks. 
Meanwhile your focus has been on gathering a force significant enough to challenge the goblins and then the giants who have taken over the mines and the great hall in the mountain, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. If only there were more dwarves. The humans and barbarians are all good warriors but they do not match up as well and seem as motivated as the dwarves who fight for their home, their race and their lives. You know the attack will come. Will Konigsberg be ready? Will you be ready?