The Arvan Game Part 4: The Greyling Lair

[Note that I left out an instance where both characters were paralyzed and very nearly eaten alive by insects, the result of two random placements of vermin was so effective that I had to have Tyvan rescue them with a blow from a magic horn. I left it out because I am using that combo in the Obsidian Doom module.]

During the night as they camped hidden in the bush, those sleeping were awakened by a loud roar echoing from the forest behind the lair cliff and Dead-Eye caught sight of a large draconic shape flying overhead, larger than any Greyling adult or even ancient which stirred the trees of the forest. Both characters figured that’s why the Greylings hadn’t retaliated. He was unable to make out what type of dragon it had been.

Morning found our heroes (and Tyvan) at the bottom of the hill which was the rear of the Farmer Creek cliff and easily found the ground entrance to the Greyling lair. Just as they approached the mouth of the dug-out cave something big began to crash through the bushes behind them so they ran into the cave and hid against the inside walls. Dead-Eye peeked around the corner and could only tell that the enourmous thing that was moving around outside was a dragon. They were relieved when it moved off and Dead-Eye took point moving further into teh cave feeling along the wall toward the smell of carion. They barely rounded the corner when Dead-Eye heard some sniffing up ahead and quickly jumped into a corner of the chamber he just unknowingly entered, Bers and Tyvan behind him flattened themselves against the passage walls. They all stood quiet with their weapons ready and virtually blind. Unexpectedly a viper struck at Dead-Eye’s legs, he “simuled” (Simultaneously Attacked) it with his longsowrd hoping to avoid its venomous bite instantly severing its head. He decided to light a torch regardless of whatever may be in there and whispered to Bers to do the same. The torchlight revealed that they were in the bone littered Feeding Chamber fo the lair. On top of the pile of rotting bones were four wolves. Two attacked Dead-Eye, one attacked Bers and the fourth ran for it to the exit shooting past Tyvan. The wolves were quickly put down. They moved deeper into the lair and it became very hot and humid as well as increasingly foul.

In a dank chamber they encountered a young Greyling and its hatchling kin. The fight lasted for two rounds both Bers and Dead-Eye taking some wounds before finally slaying the hatchling in the second round, its older siblign being dispatched very early in the first. Adjacent to this chamber they ran into their greatest obstacle, the Water Chamber. They could not tell how deep the waters were or if anything was in there. Bers couldn’t swim and even if she could her heavy armor (a breastplate) would make it difficult anyway. So Dead-Eye decided to swim across holding a rope and when on the other side he would pull her to him. Half way across he got tugged under water by another hatchling whcih was hiding under the water. He stabbed it with his Bowie Knife and swam quickly back to Bers. It followed him out of the water and it struck again wounding his armor more than his flesh. It dodged his counter blow and Bers hit it hard. It retreated back int the water bleeding going deep disappearing into the depths.

After making it across the adult Greyling moved, all too slowly (it rolled a Natural 1 for its Initiative, and they clobbered it all too quickly even though it seriously wounded Dead-Eye with a bite. They quickly sifted through the treasure. Tyvan left with two large sacks and left he rest to them. They netted the following:

1 Composite Longbow, 1 High Quality Longspear embossed with Dragonmetal, 1 Bishop’s Mantle with 1 large carnelian in its clasp, a Mail Coif (Bers took this since she needed head armor/helmet anyway), High Quality Manticore hide armor, Griffon Hide Armor, a Superior Quality Bear Hide Armor (Dead-Eye took this), a Broach with alchmical gold rivets, a superior quality platinum locket with a single large ruby in it, 3 topaz gems, 1 amethyst, and 6 aquamarines.

After spending a day in the lair skinning and boning the adult dragon they left hauling their significant take to the deserted farm as quickly as possible following the creek at double pace with no rest until they made it inside of the old farmhouse. There they rested for the night but did not sleep well suffering dreams of a skeletal and shadowy figure stalking about the perimeter of the old house. They left quickly in the morning crossing the creek and travelinginto the forest. They followed the creek North, the way Tyvan said he was going to hit the road and back to Dreyton, Dead-Eye said he’d only go back to the Fletcher there. He and Bers were going to Fertum Dreyhawk to trade some gear and get some items identified. Tyvan had told them that there was a Mage there. They treveled two and a half days along Miller’s Fork Road to the Old Road arriving at the Fertum late in the afternoon.

They could see castl Dreyhawk (a wood & earth Motte & Bailey structure) overlooking the fertum from a North-Western hill. They paid the entrance fee and entered as traders.

To Be Continued …

The Arvan Game Pt. 3

The next night Dead-Eye (Cris’ character), Bers (Jennifer’s character) and 4 of the remaining 6 deputies, the pair of sketchy fighters decided to “guard” the farmer’s longhouse while Tyvan was within “protecting” the farmer and his son, hid among a barn and some bushes with a mooing cow tied to a post in a clearing. One of the deputies was squating much too close behind a much too small bush, basically in plain sight (failed his hide check). The first to sight something was Dead-Eye, something far off and flying in fast!

It swooped in and stopped about 100 ft above the clearing, a dragon. Dead-Eye recognized the species as a Greyling (using his Dragon Lore skill). It beat everyone in initiative and snatched the cow in all four of its claws. To everyone’s surprise a second swooped in and snatched thwe barely hiding guy in a flyby attack, his screams quickly fading away into the distance. DEad-Eye shot at the dragon, it swatted the arrow with its tail. The remaining 3 deputies froze in their hiding places and Bers could do nothing having no ranged weapons. The dragon flew off over the treeline, Dead-Eye got one more shot off and struck it hopefully wounding it enough to track the blood drops. Just then a third jaunted from the treeline with a screaming deputy in its maw and leapt into the air. Bers again was useless in the battle as Dead-Eye got a couple more shots at it which it easily deflected before it finally got away.

4 deputies now remained, the red-haired kid, a wood-axe wielding mook and the pair of untrustworthy fighters armed with studded leather armor and clubs. Mull, the farmer, was understandably very upset, to that Tyvan apologized and assured him HIS next plan would be successful. In teh meantime, Dead-Eye and Bers along with the red-haired kid took to the woods to try to find a trail of any kind which they easily did but it dead-ended of course, the dragon flew down to the ground to hunt emerging from the forest and flying away with its victim. When they returned to teh farmer’s longhouse Dead-Eye had another plan. The same plan. He got Tyvan to convince the farmer to give them another cow. Needless to say the only one who would wait in “ambush” with them was the red-haired kid (neither of them eer asked this kid’s name and Dead-Eye outrightly did not trust the “little puke”; Go figure).

The second run through “the plan” went into effect during the day this time and of course one of the dragons bit, this time Dead-Eye decided to keep an eye on it rather than shoot at it and got the general direction to where it flew. North-East towards the direction of the ranch which had also been affected and which has been eerily silent according to Mull.

The next morning the reduced crew set out for the other farm traveling through the Light Wood North-Easterly towards Farm Creek which they would have to cross, the other farm lying on the opposite side. It took 2 days to finally reach the other side, the creek bed was rocky and low creating a deep cleft in the groud they climbed up out of the creek in the morning to see an open and overgrown glade where a ruined farmhouse and barn stood, the roofs torn open. They split up and circled the farm in grasses and weeds shoulder high. Some vegetables grew wild, doubtless planted the previous season. Dead-Eye went to collect some and saw it appeared something had been eating them recently. A Forest Pig burst out of the bush and charged him, he was able to stay out of the way of its tusks while Bers, hearing the commotion after Dead-Eye shouted for help (her Detection check sucks), ran towards him and came face to face with the fleeing swine, she swung and it parried with its tusks and it attacked. Dead-Eye ran into the batle and shot it. Again it fled. They both lost sight of it but Dead-Eye tracked the blood trail where they found it dying, Bers dealt the death blow. They considered using it for bait but decided instead to cook and eat it.

Before that was done they searched the farmhouse finding a trap-door which was jammed close, Bers pried it open easily (she may be ugly but her Strength makes up for it) and all were assailed with the powerfu stench of death. In the cellar among drying spices and clay jars of preserves (and some jugs of whiskey) were four rotting corpses, the farms former tenants all appeared to have starved to death. Teh red-haired kid imediately began to loot the bodies, the two fighters immediately took notice of the jugs and took those up top. Tyvan assisted our heroes in burying the corpses. They would have burned them (Dead-Eye distrusts all corpses; Gee I wonder why, tee-hee ;P) but didn’t want to attract the Greylings without proper preparation.

They passed the night eating roasted pig, and pig & vegetable stew passably cooked by Dead-Eye. The night passed uneventfully, the kid and two fighters ha the last watch. When Tyvan, Dead-Eye and Bers awoke the three scoundrels were gone and so was the rest of the meat set aside for rations and all of the whiskey. They quickly checked to make sure they weren’t robbed, they weren’t and then prepared to leave. The plan was to follow the creek towards the Arn mountains, the most likely area for a dragon’s lair in the immediate area.

For the next 2 days they traveled, Tyvan riding his beloved goat, along the rocky creek bed camping on the ridge above once sighting a Greyling flying in the direction of the deserted farm coming form the direction that they were traveling. On teh second night Tyvan revealed he was a Satyr under a magic disguise and though he was not too hot on tracking down a lair of any kind of dragon he would assisst them for a proper share of the potential horde. They came upon a mass of corpses, followers of Black Fork, lying in the creek along with a few Greyling hatchlings and one of the young dragons that they had already encountered. The waters were bubbling and giving off an acidic stench. Soon after they reached the source of Farm Creek, a deep sunekn lake in a box canyon fed by a waterfall.

After close inspection of the area they discovered an ancient narrow pathway carved into the living stone of the cliff which wound up out of their view. Needless to say they followed it near to the top of the cliff. The path terminated at an iron door which was very badly corroded and rusted but to the immediate North there was a large opening in the cliff wall through which the loud buzzing of wasps could be heard. A large wasp’s nest was in the short dug-out passage which seemed to open into an ancient structure, an old Stronghold. They attempted one-by-one to sneak past the angry nest. Needless to say they both screwed up and the wasps attacked in a swarm luckily they lit a couple of torches and used those to some effect but were badly stung. Tyvan threw some spell powder of Control Insect on the swarm and they ceased their attack. He said, “they won’t bother us again.”

They entered prowling all the way, well Dead-Eye did, Bers made alot of racket until she finally gave it up. They moved into a wide hall at teh end of which was a young Greyling in the room at the end. The room was a large square room with a pillar at each corner and a large pit dug into the center floor. The fight was brief. The dragon struck Bers wounding her and Bers struck with a massive Power Attack using her battle axe pretty much killing the dragon in a single blow (hey Greylings are Light Weight dragons afterall). They then inspected the area. A solid iron door, which was locked, lay to the North and a small open doorway lay to the East and West. They at first tried to lower a rope with Dead-Eye hanging on it down the pit but the distance was too far down and Dead-Eye could see the through the narrow beam of weak light that the bottom was filled with water and a strong reptilian stench filling the air. He assumed, again a successful Dragon Lore skill check, that this was the Water Chamber of the lair. He immediately had Bers pull him out and they focused their attentions on the locked iron door. Eventually Bers succeeded in kicking it in (lucked out with a Natural 20) as the lock simply broke being almost rusted completely through anyway. Within they found a dusty ancient armory. THere were spears, a chest plate which Bers took, a high qulaity longbow which Dead-Eye took, 2 shortbows, 6 quivers of arrows (Dead-Eye claimed these), 5 mundane daggers, 1 dagger with an ebony grip which was added to the group treasury, a longsword with decorative runes on the grip (also added to their treasury), 3 other longswords, and 6 round shields painted with a Black Fist gripping a multi-pointed star on a purple field. They wisely left the shields with unknown heraldry.

They then figured they had find another way into the lair, the pit was too dangerous and Bers couldn’t swim. Plus Bers needed to heal so they climbed up the cliff next to the path and reached the top of the cliff. They camped inside of the treeline with no fire plotting to find the rear entrance of the Greyling lair.

To Be Continued …

The Arvan Game Pt. 2

Thusly Bers (Jennifer's character) and Dead-Eye (Cris' character) marched along with Tyvan riding on his goat and his 8 scraggly deputies, criminals left to the same fate as our pair of heroes, on their way to farmer Mull's residence to track down the killer of livestock. Dead-Eye immediately volunteered to run ahead to act as scout to which Tyvan immediately relented with a shrug of his white mustache as he puffed away on his pipe.

A dirty faced red haired kid around 13 years of age armed with a knife, a pair of sketchy fighters with studded leather armor, clubs and wooden shields and 5 dirty, rag-wearing mooks with clubs and dull wood-axes (oh yeah and daggers but doesn't everybody got those?) composed the poorly drawn line of deputies. Bers walked along side Tyvan. It would be 1 days travel along East Bend ending at the roads dead end then another 2 hours the next morning through the forest arriving at the farm. As they traveled Tyvan kept taking shots from a silver flask he kept close to his heart. When Bers asked for a snort of it he made a weak excuse as to why he couldn't share.

As night fell and it came timne to find a place to camp Dead-Eye spotted a large camp fire not too far from where he spotted an ideal place to camp, someone had beaten them to it.

Dead-Eye ran back to Tyvan at the head of the column of deputies to let him know of the possible situation. To which Tyvan responded while stroking his white goattee, "Ah well then, good thing I've brought my wine skins. So let's withdraw a safe distance and hide out for a couple of days until they move on. Yup, that sounds good."

To that Dead-Eye proposed that he would go hail them while Tyvan and the rest waited right there. Tyvan agreed.

Dead-Eye sneaked up to the edge of the camp undetected where he spied three covered wagons circled about a large bonfire surrounded by a widely varied group of individuals most armed with simple clubs and wearing what amounted to rags drinking and preparing a meal. There were guards which were well-armed, six of them, guarding a single wagon their faces obscured by face-wrapping though he could see their eyes were reptilian and their swords of a foreign design (Tulwars). He recognized them as foreigners from the Mere, a far-off land of inhuman swamps. These were Reptils (the Lizardmen of this world) in lands where they should have no business. He spied another climbing from the guarded wagon. A scout wearing a scale-mail vest with a chainmail coif armed with a short-bow and a cutlass. Dead-Eye could see was half human. He lead a mysterious fully red-cloaked figure from the wagon to the only tent set up on the farside from the ranger. This is the moment Cris decided to announce himself, with his arms raised he approached the Reptil guards, their weapons drawn.

Dead-Eye was told they were traveling North-East to the Arns (mountains which form the Eastern border of the Cleft-Rills territory led by an egnimatic leader named Blackfork (the red-cloak). Tyvan came right up to them from behind Dead-Eye and heartily greeted them and through his sheer charisma got them to agree to let his band camp alongside them even share in their meal.
Bers came jogging up after him shrugging to the ranger.

While sharing the meal Bers and Dead-Eye were convinced they were among a cult its wide-eyed members talking euphorically about their enlightened leader Black-Fork.

Morning came and Black Fork's people moved on as did Tyvan's motley band. The band was short two souls, probably deserters, fortunately the pair of fighters were still with them. They came to Mull's farm. Tyvan took another snort from his flask and went to greet the farmer. The farmer and 1 son where there to greet them, the farmer bemoaning the loss of most of his cattle and of his 3 older sons whom went to track down what they believed to be a wolf or a roc. One came back suffering a missing arm and an open side telling of his brothers being snatched by flying creatures. Further prodding got the farmer to admit his son had mentioned the word "dragon". He also told them of a farm further North-East across Farm Creek which was also losing animals. The last time they talked with the patriarch of that family was nearly two months.

Tyvan set his men to gaurd duty and he himself took up residence in the farmers longhouse, Bers and Dead-Eye included. Night came and they found themselves eating the farmer's meat and drinking his wine, they felt a little guilty, Tyvan did not appear mind but he seemed a bit jumpy and more eager to grow fat at the farmer's expense and avoid his mission. So the farmer eventually asked them for a plan to which Tyvan tried to stall so Dead-Eye took charge and came up with a plan to carry out the next night granted the farmer could spare 1 more cow.

To Be Continued … (sorry ran out of time to blog, I'll try to make the next one longer especially since the campaign continues into its second part!)

Arvan: Land of Dragons Game Pt. I

Both characters emerged from the treeline, Bers (played by Jen) wearing a chain-mail coif on her head, a chain-shirt with a battle ax and plain, unpainted wooden shield. Dead-Eye (played by Cris) leading the way wearing dirty soft-leather and cowl & cape carrying his bow, a sword and Bowie knife on his belt and a tomahawk slipped under it. He also had a few fat rabbits hooked to his belt as his initial hunting check was very lucky. Both possibly fleeing a life of fur-trapping and wood-cutting had they remained at home. The tiny village of Dreyton lay sitting at the base of a small hill a short distance away, the walls of the Fertum Dreyhawk nothing but a speck several miles off further to the North West. As soon as they were within the village they made a bee-line to the beer-hall only stopping to sell off the rabbit pelts for a couple of Fliks (1 Flik is worth a quarter of a Copper Piece). The banners on the front of the beer-hall bore the standard of a Black Hawk with 1 outstretched wing on a blue field (would be obvious to the characters that it is the heraldry of the lord of the Fertum), the heraldry of the village being a black sword through a gold coin on a blue field.

Inside the beer-hall the characters use the last of their coin, about 3 cp (copper pieces) between the two, for drink. The tiny log structure was mostly empty, two warriors with the villages arms painted on their shields sit finishing their meals and ale. Two hunters, one a human the other a faun clad in dirty furs sat chatting in quiet tones. The barkeep was a pudgy unfriendly man. After observing the room for a drink or two and after slapping down the rabbits on the bar to be cooked for him Dead-Eye decided to approach the two hunters while Bers remained at the table in the corner near the door, her back to the wall.

Needless to say the hunters were overtly hostile with very strong almost unintelligible accents (their reaction roll was somewhere around 6 but since Dead-Eye has a pretty lousy Charisma …) after being asked, “How’s the hunting?” As the two fighters walk out of the building.

Dead-Eye beat them to the draw and punched the Faun in the face. The Faun pulled out his short sword and the dirty human his club. Both missed when they swung on him, Bers grabbed her ax and ran around to the human and killed him with a single stroke cutting him in tow and getting covered in gore. Dead-Eye stabbed the faun in the chest killing him almost instantly. As soon as the body splattered into the blood on the floor a crossbow bolt thudded into the wall just next to Dead-Eye’s head. The Barkeep had shot a crossbow bolt at him and had nearly hit (within 1 pt. of making the head-shot), Dead-Eye exclaimed, “He SHOT at my HEAD!” and tosses his tomahawk at him missing him by just about as much burying it into an ale barrel. Just then the Sheriff marches in with four village warriors each baring a shortspear. Accusations fly and of course the two rowdies are arrested and forced to follow the Sheriff; Dead-Eye recovered his tomahawk stealing a quick drink from the leak. As the two are warrior caste and the hunters were already known as troublemakers in the village (unbeknownst to the players) they are escorted to a small encampment at the village edge.

There they are told they are to be sentenced to what is equivalent to Community Service and introduced to a strange old man, in full chain-mail and smoking an intricately carved ivory pipe named Tyvan. They are introduced to the camp, where a collection of 8 of Tyvan’s “deputies” lounge awaiting for the day they depart for their mission, to track down and if possible slay whatever is killing and partially eating some of the livestock of the local ranchers. They have many conversations around the fire drinking ale and eating meals at cost to the village over the next week or so. Over this time Tyvan has somewhat won over our adventurers though his men have yet to bond with them or each other, he’s also been trying to seduce Bers, unsuccessfully though she’s intrigued because she knows she’s ugly. They find out Tyvan is a Druidic Marshal appointed by and called in by the local druid Siamnecca as the few men who’ve gone to hunt down whatever it is have not returned. Near the end of this time Tyvan is approached by an irate short, balding man in clean somewhat fancy clothes and the Sheriff, though the intrepid two cannot hear what is being said they can guess they’re gonna have to depart fairly soon.

The very next morning they find themselves marching with the other poorly armed and dirty crew while Tyvan leads on his riding goat along the Easterly road named the East Bend walking into the treeline of the Light Wood. They were on their way to follow a lead, according to Tyvan, to a farm owned by a farmer named Mull whose livestock has been the most decimated, the most recent attack only two nights previous.

-To Be Continued…

The Arvan Game (Intro)

It has been awhile since I have had anything worthwhile to post. I have been working hard on the current project for Dice & Glory, a setting manual: “Arvan: The Land of Dragons”. To help polish the book I have been Game-Mastering a sort of final test game which will help me to knock off the rough edges and perhaps organically fill in a few details during play. The first half of the game has concluded, though I pretty much use a sandbox approach to my games a structure usually emerges especially when introducing ideas, NPC-plottings and general cause-and-effect scenarios. So I figured why not blog the polishing game as some may find it an entertaining read. I will try to make it as coherent as possible and be as brief as possible while not eliminating the necessary details but don’t expect a well-written and compelling fantasy novel.

First off, I have only two players (this is my normal gaming group which has shrunk over the years from around 5 to now 2), Cris and Jennifer. Cris plays a character named “Dead Eye” an anti-social Ranger with a chip on his shoulder for Dragons. Jen plays a female fighter who is neither pretty or charismatic but very strong and wields a battle ax.

The Game is set in a region called the Cleft-Rills which is at the Northern end of the Central Mountains at the edge of the Granfor forest, one of the oldest and largest forests (actually a cold rain-forest) in the world. The Cleft-Rills is 1,000 miles inland from the coast well within the larger Westlands region and its cultural sphere. Both characters are Westlanders but are non-ethnic.

Well, this concludes the introduction. My next post will begin with the first session (and a tavern fight; as you do of course).