The Arvan Game Pt. 7

We rejoin our two adventurers Bers the female fighter (played by Jen) and Dead-Eye the ranger (played by Cris) in Fertum Dreyhawk having just had their items taken from the Wyvern's hoard identified by the resident Mage. What they didn't sell to the mage they divided. Bers kept the boots (Lvl 3, +1 bonus to Prowl, Casts Orb of Stone 1 x day by kicking, +2D6 Sonic damage to kick attacks) and the Longspear (Lvl 7, casts Phantom Scourge 1 x day). Dead-Eye kept the Silver Helmet (Lvl 4, grants x2 Visual Range, casts Warp Object 1 x day, and casts Onyx Missile 2 x day), the cutlass (superior quality, electrum embossed grip with a Dark Metal blade and electrum rivets; Lvl 15, +2 magic modifier), and the Composite Shortbow (Lvl 9, deals +1D6 Elemental Earth Damage upon arrow strike, casts Spark Shower upon arrow strike 2 x day). They split the jewels and coinage evenly with Bers getting a few more in exchange for giving up the 1 extra magic item. They secured a room at the inn and decided to rest for a day or so. On the second day while sitting and drinking in the Tavern when a loud crash and shouts attracted them outside.
They saw a youngman bleeding and apparently dying blubbering as he died, the horse pulling his shattered wagon collpased having run itself to death. Dead-Eye and Bers just stood at teh Tavern door they decided not to join the crowd around him. All they could make out were the words "Loc Troll" and "Miller's Bridge blocked by a Hyvalian knight." They kept the info in mind and decided to scratch around for more leads.
From the Caravan leaders in the Post Quarter they heard that Yellow Reapers (animalistic pack dragons with a scythe-like raptor claw instead of a breath weapon) were attacking all those who traveled through the North Pass and taking their beasts of burden and mounts to eat. A few farmers from South of Dreyton told them that a beast has been sighted around the homesteads slaughtering livestock and murdering & mutilating people out at night. It has been attacking every night but seemed particualrly vicious on the recent full moon. They guessed a werebeast (they were right btw). They find that two nights ago (while they were at Black Brow) the Fertum Strongboxes were broken into by the Blue Hand, a thief that leaves behind a blue hand print. On top of that the peasants of Dreyton seem to be unhappy with the tax situation imposed by Lord Dreyhawk. They went back to the tavern to decide what to do over some ale and food. In the middle of their meal and Bers' third pitcher a group of three Hill-Landers burst in and took a table. The eldest was a full-fledged Satyr by his large horns and shaggy mane, the second was a large half-hill giant/faun fighter and the third was a half-human/faun ranger. All were well equipped with high quality equipment and well crafted hunting horns. The half-giant had a finely made Claymore (made for a large-sized wielder) strapped to his back. All three bore the tartan sashes of highlanders. They sat and bragged about being the best warriros in the place in their barely intelligible accents. The two adventurers took their leave for their separate rooms after deciding to take out the were-beast after Dead-Eye telling Bers, "it's a werewolf, with a few silver arrows we can take 'em." In the morning they would go to Dreyton and melt some of their silver pieces down and dip some arrows in the village Blacksmith's forge. Bers was insistent that after they slew the were-wolf that the next mission was to investigate the missing girls in the North Spur. OF course Dead-Eye knew they would have to either cross Miller's Bridge or use the other route North of that going along the shore of Loc Lake. He grudgingly agreed.
Later the next afternoon, after having dipped about 6 arrows they traveled South along the Trade Route where it bent suddenly West. They appraoched the homesteads just off of the road where there was a well and found the ranchers there very eager to have them eliminate the beast. The pay was 50 gold pieces but would take it anyway. Dead-Eye searched the area and could only find a set of bear-tracks around the animal pens. They found a hiding place and decided to wait for the creature during the night.
They asked the rancher for a cow …
To Be Continued…

The Arvan Game: Pt. 6

On their way to the ruins of Blackbrow our intrepid pair, Dead-Eye the ranger (played by Cris) and Bers the fighter (played by Jennifer), pulled along their donkey packed with an ample month’s worth of rations, water, beer, rope and a couple of 10 ft poles. Around high noon a lion attempted to punce on their pack animal and Bers slew it in a single swing of her axe, then felt guilty for some reason. By nightfall they had veered North-East from the road and already ascended the first hillside at the foot of which lay the Barrows (an ancient burial ground complete with tumuli still in use by the locals of the Cleft-Rills). They had gathered up against another higher hillside concealed underneath a hedge of thorn-bushes and tough woody hill-scrub sans fire (just in case). To their immediate North lay the Meadows, a foul marsh.
During the night as the Donkey and Bers slept, Dead-Eye heard someone or something moving quickly and quietly through the high-grass and woody-bush. He peeked out and saw a scrawny Otkid (wild Fawn savages) in cowhide with javelin in hand and a well-made hunting horn strapped to his back. He came uncomfortably close to their position and after he passed Dead-Eye carefully woke Bers and they waited. After a few seconds a group of 12 Otkid marched by quickly and quietly traveling Southward. They kept alert till the morn.
They spent the better part of the next day pulling the donkey up the slippery hill, they reached the top of the hill which spurred from the direction where the hill atop which the tower of Blackbrow sat. It was dark by the time they reached the shadow of Blackbrow. What they saw was a ruined dark keep with a 10 ft wide open trapezoidal entryway and a stone well surrounded by dusty desolation. They quickly inspected the inside of the tower seeing no immediate threats and citing there were a set of steps going up into the upper floors, which appeared intact. Dead-Eye assumed the lair of the Wyvern must be below probably at the bottom of the well. In spite of that since it was growing dark they decided to camp outside by the well and started a fire. Needless to say the Wyvern lept into their camp after exhaling a blast of hallucinogenic gas, both adventurers were driven insane for the duration, 24 hrs.
The next night they began to come to, hungry, covered in dirt and Dead-Eye with pockets full of stones realizing their donkey was gone eaten by the dragon. They began to gather their equipment which was scattered all over the hilltop when the Wyvern flew in upon them and blasted them again, again they failed their saving throws and were thrown back into madness. During the late hours of that night a group of two men and a hill-giant came upon them with camouflage painted cloaks from the direction of the marsh as they wandered babbling over the hillside and decided, wisely, to avoid them. Again the two began to emerge from their stupor the next evening, starving, dying of thirst and excessively filth covered just in time to see the dragon flyby and gas them again this time Dead-Eye got a Natural 20 on his save and gave Bers a dose of Negate Toxin potion purchased in Fertum Dreyhawk. They immediately ran into the 80 ft tall tower and hide under the niche of the steps and behind the pile of stones which lay at the center of the dirt floored entrance chamber. They took turns sleeping and pledged themselves to hunt the dragon at first light.
So they decided to check the upper parts fo the tower when morning finally came. They carefully moved up the millenial worn steps of powder-black stone into a pitch black chamber. They lit their torches and had only 3 between them. They observed a small L-shaped chamber, rusted sconces lay anchored in the North and East walls, a yellowed candle sat in the North one and a human-scale doorway yawned in the West. Dead-Eye took the candle and tucked it away as they moved further in. They inspected the first door they came to was a solid bronze door with a relief of a grinning demon atop a pile of skulls. They turned their attentions to the opening to the South avoiding the demon-door like the plague. They thoroughly searched the handful of litter-filled dust-choked rooms they found for another way up and found none. They returned to the demon door and found it locked. So Bers kicked it in. They were met immediately with a rush of fowl stale air. Behind the door was a spiral stone-stair which was cracked and crumbling but still holding fast. They went up.
They came to a tiny chamber which was lit by a small obviously magic orb of light which flickered unpredictably in the corner next to anotehr door identical to the former which they kicked open as a team this time. They made a note to purchase to a crowbar the next time they were in the Fertum. They entered into a small 15 ft x 15 ft chamber with a rusted iron door to the East with uncharged runes scribed onto its surface and a Rotten Wooden door criss-crossed with blade marks, spoted with burns bearing uncharged runes carved into its face. They went with the “easy” one and broke down the wood door even though it wasn’t locked or barred. and walked into a hall which turned to the East. The hallway floor was cramped with armored bodies which crumbled into dust before their eyes as the fresh air from outside seemed to follow the two slayers and the weapons and armor became useless trash. Among the ruin, teh walls were scarred with blast marks, stood an anthropoid statue which had been that of a muscular youth but which was half destroyed having no head and a single arm left. It immediately attacked as they approached.
They hammered at the aniamted statue for 3 melee rounds until it was a pile of gravel. Bers taking a good blow (it’s only hit). They walked around after the fight and followed the hall as it bent Northward finding a staircase going up to the next level and another rusted iron door in the West wall. They took turns bashing at it and kicking it until by luck (a Natural 20) Dead-Eye kicked it open. Not before however, Bers broke her dagger trying to pry the door open. The room was mostly empty and on the far end they could see the other rusted iron door they first encountered before the statue. on the walls were a set of crossed weapons, a falchion and a battel axe. They both entered the room to see if the weapons were worth looting. The weapons suddenly animated, flew at them and attacked. Dead-Eye took a Defensive Stance and Bers just kept swinging with her axe and parrying with her shield behind which her torch burned. It took 2 rounds before the weapons lay shattered at their feet and Dead-Eye and Bers both nursed some wounds. They proceeded up the stairs to the Fourth floor.
The black steps terminated into a spacious chamber which comprised the entire floor. The room was filled with a dim pale light which illuminated the corpse strewn flags. The bodies, reduced to rags and bones and continuing to disintegrate in the freshening air, lay at the foot of a carved jade throne. On it sat a skeleton mummified strips of flesh still clinging to its frame. A dozen swords nailing it to the throne, among them a single blade shone with the sickly light which filled the chamber. Bers scanned the corpses on the ground and saw the blade of a great sword gleaming with reflected light locked in the death grip of its former owner. She ripped it out of the skeletal hand before Dead-Eye could stop her, but nothing happened because of it. She inspected the sword, it was a single handed great sword of superior quality with a silver blade stamped with the image of an anvil being struck with a hammer. She decided to keep it. Dead-Eye also scanned the dead but saw nothing and decided to inspect the throne (Cris making a point ot state that he was not going to touch anything just look). He spotted a seam on the seat around the corpse which could be a secret panel but would have to move the body (which was pinned to the chair with several swords, one being obviosuly magical I would remind you) and decided not to “risk it.” He knew, “it was a damned ghoulie.” Don’t fret some of you’ll get a chance to find out what’s in there since I borrowed this from an initial draft of the Obsidian Doom adventure module. So they decided to check the steps that were against the South wall behind the throne. As they could see no obvious traps, tripwires or broken steps they ascended to the 5th floor.
They noticed the smell of decades, probably longer, of bird mess while the decrepit
wooden floor creaked precariously beneath their feet. The stuffy darkness was pierced by beams of light from holes in the roof. Before them, to teh North, lay a black lacquered double dor with severe water damage glowing runes on each. There were also open archways both opening to the North at the far right and left. They went right and found themselves in a claustrophobic passagway choked with dust, rotten boxes and detritus which eneded in a red lacquered door. It was locked and so they tried to kick it in. Surprisingly the decrepit wooden door stood up to their kicks so they hit with their swords, Bers completely shattered it with a single hit. Behind it in a tiny 10 ft square room was a badly rusted iron trunk. So they whipped out their daggers in order to pry it open. Dead-Eye tried it with his spare dagger and broke it. Bers tried it with her last dagger and snapped the blade. So Dead-Eye took out his Bowie Knife and with a bit of luck and a Natural 20 popped the lock with a twist of the wrist. Within was 3 potions (each labeled with 1 being Eyes and Ears of the Dragon and two being spell powders of Miniaturization), 1 Scroll (Turn Beasts), and a pair of boots (to be identified). Note that Bers is the one that can read, Dead-Eye is illiterate.
To the immediate East was another red door which Bers easily kicked down and they continued to the rickety wood staircase in the East corner upon which sunlight streamed down from the open hatch above. Dead-Eye carefully went up into teh battlements but spotted a nest atop a wood frame platform at the center of the tower battlements and a Roc eyeballing him probably atop its egg. So he carefully went back down to Bers and decided that there was nothing of interest up there, he being a ranger and Rocs being natural creatures on this world (Eu).
They hurried down the passageway that led directly South from teh wooden steps and Dead-Eye hit a weak point in the floor and nearly fell through noting the hole was directly above the steps below meaning he could have fallen two floors instead of just one. They went back around through the room with an iron trunk and went all the way down to the bottom. They decided to rest for awhile as dusk was upon them.
They had just settled down when Dead-Eye spotted movement just outside the door suspecting it was the dragon he took out and uncorked his last Neutralize Poison potion and motioned for Bers to do the same. As the blast of gas was shot into the towers ground floor they downed their potions saving them from tis insanity inducing effects. The dragon then walked out of Dead-Eye’s range around the corner and waited apparently apprehensive about entering the tower itself. They quickly decided to make a search of the ground floor for a route of escape or a good hiding place.
They noticed a damp cool draft wafted from under the larger gaps in the stone-pile. They began to remove the stones from the pile and found an old moldy well underneath from which they could hear running water. As far as they could tell the well opened up into an underground cavern in which a body of water probably an underground river flowed. Before tying a rope around his waist and having Bers lower him down into the well gave the tower’s ground floor another once-over. He found a hidden trapdoor in the niche under the steps in which he had spent the night. It led down into the very cave in which the well opened. They lit their torches and ventured down the roughly hewed and slimy steps.
They entered a large natural cavern which was partly roughly hewn a 25 ft wide course of water flowed to the South at their right. They traveled South along the bank, the roughly hewn wall to the left skewed suddenly at an angle narrowing the bank. They could see a barred door in this wall through which they could see a small chamber wet with slime its floor littered with grime blackened chains and cuffs. While inspecting this long forgotten prison-cell Bers was suddenly struck by a large serpent which had slithered from the water. Dead-Eye wounded it with a strike from his longsword and it retreated back into the water. Bers passed her saving throw for the venom and only suffered the secondary effects, about 8 points of Hit-Point damage. Jen (Bers’ player) just shrugged, “it’s nuthin.” Of course, it’d be a couple of days before that damage would even begin to heal.
They leapt down a 5 ft ledge into a shallow pool of water running off of the main body into a crack in the dead-end after the angled wall. The crack was just big enough to squeeze through so Dead-Eye led the way. He made it easily through the 20 ft crack but Bers got stcuk, due to her armor, and the water rapidly built up behind her and began running over the top of her head so Dead-Eye gave her mighty tug and she dislodged along with the water pushing them both into the center of the foul smelling chamber behind the crack head first into a pile of rotting semi-fleshed bones streaming with rats and beetles. both of their torches were useless while they got to their feet in complete blackness. Dead-Eye fumbled for the candle he had stuck in his hip-sack and struggled to light it while the squeaking of rats grew louder about them. Once lit the candle shed light over the bone littered chamber, obviously the feeding chamber of the Wyvern, and a huge hoard ravenous rats which immediately attacked them. They hacked away at them as they ran for the nearest exit. The rats did not pursue as they wandered bleeding into what appeared to be a smooth walled passage. The floor undulated and was slick and pearlescent, the trademark of a wyvern’s lair. They crept carefully into the nearest side passage and the candle suddenly flared and ignited a pocket of gas, they got a bit singed. They found the passage dead-ended and decided to continue owth the main passage and hit another gas pocket shortly after. The passage finally terminated in a small chamber with a mud-pit (the wyvern’s wallow) at its center a water-filled sidespur and another passage winding completely around from the North to the East. Three wyvern hatchlings attacked hidden in the mud-wallow and our two dragon-slayers easily slew them in a single round. They inspected the Northern passage which wound East and found it broke through into a well, probably the well outside of Blackbrow keep. The bottom continued down for at least 60 more feet. They traveled back around to the feeding chamber the remaining rats scurried away. The West end of the feeding chamber opened onto the flowing water of the underground river.
Dead-Eye could swim but Bers couldn’t especially in chain mail. So Dead-Eye decided to swim over to the shore he could just spot 35 ft diagonally from where they stood 10 to 15 ft inside of a partial passage withint he feeding chamber. He would tow a rope to the otherside and pull Bers to him through the water. So he clamped his bowie knife in his teeth and tied the rope (they had salvaged 50 ft from what had been carried by their ill-fated donkey) around his waist and jumped into the water. He struggled against the current but made it to the otherside, stood up and turned. Just in time to see Bers get pulled under by the Wyvern which had leapt from the water and snatched her from the shore. It drug her down, she kept a strong grip on the rope which after a really brief struggle yanked Dead-Eye into the water as well. So whipped the dagger from his teeth and stabbed the dragon. It quickly swam away and they both made it back to the mouth of their desired landing. They quickly made their way in and found it a dead-end and the tresure horde fo the Wyvern in the center of the room after lighting the oil lamp that Bers realized she had been carrying this entire time (original issued equipment). It was set at the far end and they waited for the dragon which immediately charged in a rage from the water.
The battle lasted for 3 melee rounds, they actually kept on top of it fearing its insanity-inducing breath weapon (and them being out of Neutralize Poisons). Bers began the battle by dodging twice in a row the creature’s tail stinger as she was now ailing from the cumulative damage she had suffered through the day. Dead-Eye had to make a recovery check to keep from falling unconscious and possibly dying which used up an attack from the second round. The creature got in a breath blast in the middle of the second round fortunately they had all been turned around and the area of effect being a cone both of the slayers were too close to be affected (oversight on my part actually). The third round was more in the favor of the slayers but Bers again began the round with a dodge, both had taken alot of damage and in their words their armor was “trashed”. Bers got the death blow and the creature died with a hateful gurgle. They commenced to looting the chamber, Dead-Eye was loathe to take skin and bone from “a dirty wyvern.”
They copped a Silver Close Helm, a superior quality cutlass with an electrum embossed grip and a dark metal blade with electrum rivets, a light crossbow, a composite shortbow, a mace with an alexandrite head and a glowing rune on the grip, a longspear and several jewels (3 malachite, 4 amethysts, 2 pieces turqiouse and 1 garnet). Their trip back to Fertum Dreyhawk was miserable but uneventful though rather cheery as they had the prospect of having the ger identified and having the money to pay for it easily.

To be continued …

The Arvan Game: Part 5

The first thing our intrepid heroes (Bers & Dead-Eye) did was make a bee-line to the
nearest tavern (there’s no beerhalls in Fertums; fortified trade outposts which are family/clan owned often ruled by the lords that fund the beerhalls elsewhere) to decide on what to do next. While there a group of savage looking men with tattoos of crossed flaming axes on their bare chests burst in and proceeded to be loud and obnoxious. They appeared to want trouble and began furiously drinking large quanitites of cheap ale. They were told after asking another patron that the men were a local berserker coven based somewhere in the Light Wood to the South probably just off of the Trade Road. They were creeping around the area due to the political situation, the peasants in the Village of Dreyton were becoming rebellious. They decided to take their leave of the tavern before the inevitable happened and Bers decided to get her armor repaired (she was wearing the superior quality mail Coif she got from the hoard and Dead-Eye discarded his “trashed” armor for the superior quality Bear Hide) and Dead-Eye needed to have the Greyling skin crafted into a pair of boots and 2 cloaks by an armorer. After consulting with the Fertum’s armorer they wandered the Post Quarter of the Fertum where the traders and caravans stay and sell their wares. There they bought a large black talon from the blanket spread of what appeared to be an old southern-nomad (gypsy) couple (they could tell their ethnicity due to the serpentine features of their faces). Dead-Eye quickly determined it was a Wyvern’s talon. They were told it was found on the grounds of Black Brow, a ruin roughly 16 miles from the Fertum in the hills.

The ruins could be reached by traveling North along the Trade Road (which was about a 14 mile distance) until they ascended the first set of low hills and then cut West across The Meadows (a swamp) ascending two more hills to reach the ruins of Black Brow (another 8 miles). It would be a total distance of 22 miles give or take but they decided it would be safer traveling the road most of the way (I guess they know me too well). They decided to pick up some more leads by checkng the Post Board near the entrance of the Fertum, Bers being the one who could read (she picked up the Literacy skill from the XP earned from the dragons).

The board listed some Most Wanted notices: The Robbers of Eagle’s Grove (3 well-armed individuals with camo-painted cloaks, Reward 10 gp)
The Return of a Strongbox inscribed with the Brewer’s Guild Mark (Overflowing Gold Goblet containing a drowned serpent, Reward to be discussed).
and Wanted the killer of Xincrim, see Yebrit his daughter in Dreyton.

The board also had an inordinate amount of Missing posters, all for young girls from farming families in the North Spur several miles to the North-East. Bers was eager to follow this lead.

But they decided to follow up on the last notice and were on their way to the village to see Yebrit about the murder of her father and made it as far as the front gates when a crazed man on a Sleipnir (6-legged horse reserved only for those of the Hyvalian Theocracy [so it was probably stolen/looted maybe descended from battle-spoil], namely Hyvalian Crusaders) shouting, “Woe! Woe to the Lord Dreyhawk for his lack of faith! A tree must be planted at the center of this fort to pay homage to the [druidic] brotherhood! Gather ye faithful abouts me and here my sermon!” SOme of the onlookers gathered around the rearing horse. His flowing dark hair, beard and moustache were streaked with grey and he was bare-chested with an open silk robe and green dyed buckskin pants. He wore gold torques on his arms and around his neck. They recognized the crazed man as a druid(the religion of the Westlands is druidism [in the fantasy sense of the term btw]). During the chaos Dead-Eye spied the ranger Tors’sk (the ranger henchman of Black Fork) stocking a wagon with provisions and supplies in a rush next to a covered wagon near the gates. It appeared as if the greatly diminished cult of Black Fork was making haste out of the area. He also spotted Black Fork himself seemingly hiding behind the wagons clutching what appeared to be a large bright green egg. In Cris’ (Dead-eye’s player) words, “dammit.” Bers and Dead-Eye left the Fertum for the day (as quick as they could).

They returned later, in time to see the Berserkers being escorted out of the front gates, that evening after speaking with Yebrit (Jenn, Bers’ player, didn’t like her much saying she was “mean”). They were told the killer of her father slew him outside of a proper duel (actually a lie but they didn’t find that out) and that the killer was a foreign warrior in full plate, a Hyvalian. She wanted his head delivered to her for 100 gp. They decided to stay at the Wayman’s camp just outside of the Fertum’s wooden ramparts(essentially a campground for those not allowed to stay within the walls after dark at which time it is locked up tight).

They were awoken suddenly in the night (around second watch or so) by an impossibly loud roar. They saw the shape of an adult green dragon sail beyond the walls and heard its enormous weight thud into the center of the Fertum. They simply waited and listened. They heard the monster roar, “My egg! Where’s my egg!? In recompense of the insecurity of your lands puny lord, I demand a head of cattle every week to be left in the field across from this fort or I’ll destroy everything under your protection!”

It released a blast of its gaseous acid-breath and flew off in the direction they thought Blackfork was heading. In the morning they witnessed the devastation, several Fertum warriors were dead along with a few unfortunate merchants. They went back to the merchant’s quarter to load up on supplies finally deciding to investigate the ruins of Black Brow, due to the facts they were self-proclaimed dragon-slayers and their immediate need to vacate the Fertum and leave its troubles behind. By the afternoon they had set out North along the Trade Road.

To Be Continued …

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).