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Hello, and welcome to my Blog. Where one geek will share with others what many dream of doing, but may not have the Skill Points to dare...

Playing a RPG.

Friday, 15 October 2010

A Matter of Dreams...

The amazing thing about D&D is that you can pretty much do anything. Well, maybe not as much as the GM, but he is "God" after all.

After a few sessions, my GM Chris mentioned that he wished to expand on my characters history to get a bit of character development in. Now, when a guy you know approaches you online, asking you to meet him only for a bit of Roleplay a la one on one. Well, yeah. It was a bit weird.

I had no idea what to expect, so, for your benefit, I have copied our session over MSN Messenger below. All text in brackets is usually out of context, while ** indicates that the person typing is finished.

Chris says:
It begins...
The party turn in for the night when the barman informs you that you have rooms 'on Elric'. At some unknown hour, something disturbs your sleep and you sit bolt upright in your bed. Everything has a strange green tint (imagine slightly tinted sunglasses), you can see colours clearly and diferentiate between them but the same green tint remains. You hear noises as if some kind of fight is taking place outside the door of your room.**
Tim says:
I pick up my axe and quietly approach the door putting my ear to the wood.
(Is there a key hole or spy hole I can look through?) **

Chris says:
There's a standard keyhole which you should be able to see through **
Tim says:
I look through the keyhole.**

Chris says:
Through the keyhole you can see what appears to be Dominic, wearing only a pair of black trousers, sword in hand, fighting with some kind of creature which appears to be some kind of mutated minotaur. The background to the fight is very different from what you expect. The fight seems to be taking place in a clearing where you would be expecting nothing more than a corridor **
Tim says:
A forest clearing?

Chris says:
Yes.
Tim says:
Is Dom winning or losing? **

Chris says:
Neither at the moment, it seems fairly even as far as you can see **
Tim says:
I slowly open the door, trying not to alert either of them.**

Chris says:
Neither of them notice the door opening. Now that you have an un-obstructed view, there are some things which dont make sense. Dominic is wielding his usual sword, however there seems to be a black outline which seems to follow every sword swing and his movements seem jittery, almost as if he's blinking in and out of existence (make sense)? **
Tim says:
Yeah, very shade-y.

Chris says:
Yeah, like a cartoon or film where every second frame is mising. On closer inspection, the minotaur is hairless.It is more like some kind of demon. Suddenly the minotaur/ demon turns and flees in the opposite direction. Dominic gives chase, the creature seems to be limping and Dominic is able to catch up. He dives forward, driving his sword into the creatures back. Both are now roughly 20 feet from you. As both hit the ground, Dominic rolls through and finishes on all fours, his left side facing you. He glances in your direction, and, just for a moment, his face seems to flicker, seemingly becoming that of a dragon before returning to normal. It is so brief, you almost miss it. Running almost canine-like, his sword left behind, he bounds towards you on all fours **
Tim says:
"Dominic, what are you doing? Stop!" **

Chris says:
He stops a couple of feet from you, standing upright. He looks you up and down, smiling. Without warning, he pushes you in the chest, hard enough to rock you but not to knock you over.
"You're not so tough"
"Part Orc huh?"
"Thought Orcs were ment to be tough?" **
Tim says:
"What's got into you Dominic? Where are we? Who was that?" **

Chris says:
You get the impression Dominic doesn't seem to be himself, there's no response to your question, he simply pushes you again.
"No, there's something else, there's something dormant..."
"Lets see if we can get some answers shall we?" **
Tim says:
"Don't push me again, Dom...and what do you mean, "Dorment"? You mean inside me? You know I'm a half-orc, nothing more, nothing less!" **

Chris says:
"Don't push you? Why ever not? Will you get angry?"
"Good! That's what we want!"
"Let it out!"
"Be all you can be!"
He grabs your head with both hands, one on each temple **
Tim says:
"Shut up Dominic, you rambling fool!"
I grab his wrists and pull them off my head, holding them down by my waist, twisting them to imobilise him.**

Chris says:
You manage to move his hands, always strong, he seems more so, it's almost as if he's letting you. His chest begins to heave as he laughs. Quietly at first, then booming.
"You actually think you can overpower me?"
Dominic throws his head back and howls into the sky **
Tim says:
"Your mad, if all is well here then go back to bed..." **

Chris says:
As you head back to the door, Dominic calls after you...
"You're a coward! What would your father do at a time like this? Shall we find out?" **
Tim says:
"I don't have a father..." **

Chris says:
"No? Then it seems I've wasted my time. I believed you sought answers." **
Tim says:
"The creature you speak of has no right to call himself my father...that primitive bastard. My uncle was more a father than he was! The only answers I want will be delivered when his head is on a plate!" **

Chris says:
"That may come sooner than you think. He seeks you Lox and he has power, strange unexplained power." **
Tim says:
"And so do I, Dominic! I have the strength to kill the bastard, but I am no fool. I know he's looking for me, but I know when the time is right, his life is forfeit! It'll be mine for the taking, and in my mothers name, I'll make it right for what he did to her!" **

Chris says:
"Yes, yes you do. You seem afraid of your own capabilities" **
Tim says:
"It's as if you speak in riddles! What are you on about old man! Speak plainly! What "capabilities! do you speak of?" **

Chris says:
"Speak plainly? If you so request... Things are not as they seem Lox. Let me show you." **
Tim says:
"Dom, my friend, we've been friends since we were little, but recently, when we first returned to Solace, me and the girls just couldn't figure it out. What's wrong? What's changed?" **

Chris says:
"I did. I guess we all have a little inner... savage" **
Tim says:
"There you go with your bloody riddles again! Well come on then! Show me!" **

Chris says:
"Gladly"
Black wings sprout from his shoulder blades, and quickly, too quick, he grasps you under each arm and launches into the sky **
Tim says:
"What the hell, Dominic, what's happened to you?! Where are you taking me?!" **

Chris says:
"You wanted answers, we're giving you answers."
After ascending to around 100 ft, he twists in mid-air, and gaining speed, begins diving headfirst towards the ground. At the moment of impact there's a darkness before you. You seem to be in the middle of a settlement of some kind. Orcs of all shapes and sizes mill around, seemingly beginning a new day, none seem to even be aware of your prresence. A young Orc warrior emerges from one of the larger tents, something seems familiar about him as he literally passes straight through you and strides into a large tent, 50 yards behind **
Tim says:
"Is this a dream Dominic? A message from beyond? I'm really back in my bed right now, aren't I?"
"Just tell me, who were you fighting? Why didn't the others stir?"
"Where are we? Who was that?" **

Chris says:
Dominic's voice fills your head, but there's no sign of him.
"Yes Lox, you're safely in your bed. I was fighting a demon sent by your father to stop me revealing the truth"
"We are far south, beyond the icewall glacier, deep in the frozen lands and that was the Father you don't have" **
Tim says:
"How can that be...he looks so young?" **

Chris says:
"He is young, barely an adult, perhaps you should follow him?" **
Tim says:
"This is not our present time...?"
I follow the figure into the tent. **

Chris says:
"No, this is some 20 years ago"
As you follow the figure into the tent, he approaches an older figure, dressed in what you recognise as chieftain dress. The young Orc warrior literally barges passed the servants, aides and guards alike, stopping and dropping to one knee before the older figure. A soundless conversation follows between the chieftain and young warrior, there's an obvious similarity and the two are clearly father and son **
Tim says:
I approach to try and listen in. **

Chris says:
You stand mere feet from the figures and can clearly see mouths move but there's simply no sound **
Tim says:
"Dominic, what's going on? I know they can't see or hear me, but why can't I hear them?" **

Chris says:
"Bending the laws of time has its limitations." **
Tim says:
"Well, you must mean for me to see something in that case! get to it man..." **

Chris says:
A brief flash of light temporarily blinds you. As your vision returns, you are seemingly on the back of some reptilian mount surrounded by Orc warriors and led by the young Orc Warrior from previously. He seems older, but not by much. Within minutes the Orcs have crested a hill and are descending on a settlement of some type. The battle, if you can call it such, is over within minutes. The scant militia are easily overwhelmed and the Orcs stand in the centre of the settlement victorious **
Tim says:
"Do...do I know this place?" **

Chris says:
"No, this place is not familiar."
The orc warrior is handed a lit torch and proceeds to take it to the first building he reaches, it catches in seconds and is soon burning firecly. On command, the others do the same. Dozens of women and kids stream from the buildings. The Orcs round up the survivors, including the newest ones to appear. Taking a Great Axe from the side of his mount, the Orc warrior begins cleaving through women and child alike. Head to toe in blood and gore, he takes no time to wipe out the remains of the village. **
Tim says:
"If this truely is my "father", Dominic, then you are showing me nothing that I don't know of already!" **

Chris says:
"Then we'll move along..."
At double the speed of previous visions, dozens more similar such attrocites occur before you find yourself back in the original settlement. The Orc Warrior strides confidently towards the same large tent seen earlier, subordinates scurry out of the way as he passes. **
Tim says: 
I'll follow him in.
Chris says: 
You follow the Warrior into the tent. You watch as he approaches the clan chieftain on what you assume to be his deathbed. Without warning, the Orc snatches a metal tray from one of the aides, and brings it down on the neck of the cheiftain, severing his head from his body.
Tim says: 
(Amazing)
Chris says:
Grasping his head by the hair, the Orc walks from the tent. Grabbing a spear from a guard, he drives it point first into the ground before taking the head and driving it onto the blunt end**
Tim says: 
"Is there a point to this, Dominic? No pun intended, of course."**
Chris says:
"You never knew your father, I seek to show you just how mindlessly cruel and savage he WAS" The scene changes and you witness countless more raids by the new Orc Chieftain. Razing settlements to the ground, killing everyone and anyone. Each and every raid is almost identical to the last, no stealth, no tactics just mindless brute force **
Tim says: 
"My mother has told me of his and his gangs brutality. I need not see it for my self." **
Chris says: 
Another raid, this time against a hilltop settlement, the Chieftain leads his warriors up a narrow and winding path, forced to ride single file or face certain death by tumbling down the steep hillside. The Chieftain rides with reckless abandon, punishing his mount with blows to the head every time it places a foot wrong. As they approach it is eveident the settlement has walls. Barely 6 feet in height, they prevent villagers tumbling down the hill. As the raiders get within 50 feet of the settlement, a glint of armour is seen rising above the wall, followed by more. Solamnic knights. Dozens of them, armed with bows, rain death upon the Orcs **
Tim says: 
"Interesting..." **
Chris says:
The chieftain, being at the forefront, takes a number of arrows, as does his mount.Thrown from the mount as it collapses, he tumble towards the edge of the narrow pathway and promptly falls over the edge. Dislodging rocks and small trees as he falls, he, quite literally, bounces down the sheer cliff face. As he lands at the bottom, limbs bent in impossible directions, bloodied and quite clearly dead, the ground subsides beneath him and he falls through the roof of a ramshackle hut built into the cliff wall **
Tim says:
"NOOO! This can't be! His head was mine to take! Are you telling me he fell to his death? The Bastard Coward! ARRRGH!" **
Chris says:
"Patience, young one, this is years before your birth..." **
Tim says: 
"But, how can this be?!? No one could survive that! Look at him, he's dead!" **
Chris says:
"Yes, dead he is" You float into the hole in the roof of the hut. The chieftains body lies on the floor, blood pooling beneath his body as the remains of his lifeblood run towards what looks like a small and long unused altar. The altar itself has an inset bowl carved in the top with a small channel running from the bowl and down the side into a small drain hole. Between the base of the altar and ground, the chieftains blood trickles slowly towards the drain and drips down into the base of the altar. A green mist (remember everything still has a green tint) begins to come from the small drain. Drifting over the dead body, it glides into his mouth and nostrils. The body convulses violently, its eyes snap open and shine with a strange green glow. Still lying, the chieftain begins snapping bones back into place before getting up and dusting himself off. Seeing directly into his eyes, the same savage brutality can still be seen, now seemingly mixed with an intelligent gleam not seen before **
Tim says:
"Hmmm, I don't like this. I mean, I enjoy the fact he survived, as it means I can still take him, but is he still orc?" **
Chris says: 
"Physically, yes" The chieftain, with a single leap, jumps straight through the hole he himself made in the roof. Grasping a young sapling growing from the cliff wall, grasping anything he can, making footholds where required, the chieftain begins climbing the cliff. He reaches the top within a few short minutes, scaling several hundred feet with remarkable agilty and speed. The villagers have seemingly dragged the bodies of the fallen orcs inside, for what purposes you cannot tell. All that is left now is blood stained snow and the remains of the short battle. The villagers, seemingly intent on the gruesome task at hand, do not notice the lone Orc as he heads towards the scene of his single, devestating defeat. He stops, kneels and plunges his hand into the snow, which seems to melt away from his presence, uncovering the shaft of a weapon. He grasps it and pulls it from the snow. Once again armed with his precious axe, he snarls in the direction of the village, turns and walks back down the hill **
Tim says: 
Lox's eyes widen with the axe being uncovered. He obviously wants it."Ha! That's not his last defeat, if I have anything to do with it...""What do you know of this gas, Dominic? He's posessed, yes? But by who?" **
Chris says:
"They call themselves 'Ravers', "Turiya Herem", "Samādhi Sheol", "Moksha Jehannum", three brothers. Ancient, powerful and undeniably evil. They are awake now. I know not which one has possessed him." The scene changes again and you see Elric Draven, in the same room you encountered him in previously, kneeling dressed in plain grey robes, he seems to be praying **
Tim says:
"Three brothers? What of the other two? If one has taken my fathers body, then what happens to the other two? And why are we in Elrics room again? What is he wearing? Whom does he pray to?" **
Chris says:
"So many question, so few answers." You float around to 'stand' in front of the praying Elf. It become obvious you have limited control of your body. You now recognise he wears simple prayer robes, much the same as you would witness Isosceles wear from time to time. His eyes open and you get the impression he stares straight into yours for a brief moment, he smiles slightly. Scene changes to a gladitorial arena where you see a Minotaur, scimitar in each hand and standing on the sanded arena floor. He stands opposite an Ogre armed with a Great Sword**
Tim says: 
"Is that Dark Knight?" **
Chris says: 
"No" (and it's Darknight/ Dark Night )
Tim says: 
(*cough* BATMAN! *cough*)
Chris says:
The Ogre swings his sword but the Minotaur (*cough* FU *cough*) is quicker, ducking underneath the swing, slashing blades at tremendous speeds. The Ogre falls to the ground. A bloody mess within seconds. The crowd, thousands of them, a mixture of every race you can possibly think of, are on their collective feet and going crazy**
Tim says: 
"I'm confused, what does this have to do with my father? How have you come to know all of this?"**
Chris says: 
""This" has nothing to do with him." The minotaur, using a Scimitar, points up to the crowd at one in particular.**
Tim says:
Lox tries to look out at the member in the crowd. **
Chris says: 
Following the Minotaurs pointing, it is quite easy to determine who he points at. You see familiar faces in "Darknight", and Elric Draven standing to the right of a seated figure dressed in purple robes of office, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Elric. To his right sits a strkingly beautiful, black haired Elven woman. The robed figure stands as the crowd goes to a whole new level, this is clearly something they are both used to and expecting. The figure makes his way down towards the arena floor .**
Tim says: 
"Who is the minotaur? Why does the robed figure go to him?" **
Chris says: 
"The Minotaur is named Kaz. He is something of a local hero in Ergoth, as he has never been bested in one on one combat. In a decision which many thought disastrous, Aleron, emporer of Ergoth, decreed that he would take on any challange to his rule by way of single and to the death combat. However, the decision has kept him in power longer than most remember. The gladitorial arena, or 'the pit' serves numerous purpoes, anyone found guilty of a crime, faces time down here. With victory they may win freedom, to lose means death. Needless to say, crime in Daltigoth is unusually low. Kaz has challenged Aleron's rule, and he must accept.**
Tim says: 
"When did this take place? Is Kaz still alive?"**
Chris says: 
"This took place just a month ago, and witness for yorself!" Aleron appears to have reached the lower level as a portcullis opens and he walks out onto the arena floor. He disrobes, dressed only in plain trousers, toned and athletic he is clearly in good physical condition, however he is still an Elf and is dwarfed by the Minotaur. Choosing no weapon, he approaches the Minotaur who has begun gentle execise to keep himself warmed up. The crowd settles again as the combatant size one another up, the Minotaur begins twirling his blades in numerous patterns, increasing in speed as he goes. He lunges in, seeking to end the fight quickly. Aleron, however, showing impossible speed lunges inside the swinging blades and rocks the Minotaur with several punches to the body. Enraged, the Minotaur roars and lunges in again. There is a slight cloud of sand building up now as both combatants move with a hard to believe speed. In the blink of an eye, Aleron has disarmed the Minotaur and disembowled him with him own swords. The crowd erupts as Aleron bows slightly, as if unaware of the fuss being made and heads back towards the tunnel he came from. **
Tim says:
"Impressive."

"A shame, I would have liked to have met this Kaz." "I'm still none the wiser as to why you show me this, Dominic?"
"You haven't answered my questions either...how did you come to know all of this?"**
Chris says:
Dominics voice can no longer be heard as the green tint, so inobtrusive until now, begins to become more solid. Eventually blocking you from seeing anything further, it is suddenly gone, as you find yourself back in your room and staring straight into the face of Dominic, who seems to be shaking you awake. **
Tim says: 
"Dominic, what do you know of what I dreamt?" **
Chris says: 
"What madness do you speak Lox? I heard you mumbling and came to wake you before you wake the whole damn place!"**
Tim says:
"Truthfully? You know nothing? You weren't telling me anything?" **
Chris says: 
"My friend, I wish I were, perhaps then I may understand what you're talking about"**
Tim says:
"As I thought. Very well. Thanks Dominic. Go back to bed." **
Chris says: 
Dominic leaves the room muttering somehitng about Orcs and Elven drink not mixing **

So there you have it. A simple couple of hours chat and I've (or rather Lox has) a hell of a lot more for my buck.

I love this idea that most GM's take what the player give them with regards to the history of the character and expand on it. It opens up endless doors to things that the GM may have not have thought of, but can then include in the story or campaign.


You can see throughout the dialogue, obvious indications where Chris or I had to change our thinking due to each others responses. Pretty interesting for sure. It's led me to think what other groups would be like. How do they differ? Do they prefer combat? Role-play? Problem solving? How much more involved do they feel?

So try it out. Just keep on rollin'.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Football in the groin...

Boom!
One of the most interesting aspects of RPGs, is how attached (or unattached) some people get to their character. Take Lox for example. Now, I’m no stranger to combat, as in most things such as Magic: The Gathering, I favour Green, wanting big and stompy creatures to crush my opponent. In World of Warcraft, I play a Feral Druid. Not a pure melee class, but certainly up there with great DPS (Damage Per Second – Hitting hard and fast). Lox however, Lox is just pure beef. A Barbarian with a goal. No spells. No magic. Just pure, unlimited rage and combat skill. Yet I’ve come to love him. With Lox, I can unlock my arrogant side, merely smiling at dragons and head butting guards (see below). Something that I don’t get to do (obviously), but even in the real world, I would like to think my arrogance is kept in check. Lox just doesn’t give a rat’s ass.

When Isosceles, Kirsty’s Half-Elf, went missing at the end of the last session, Kirsty merely stood up and asked when we were next meeting, saying we should play on if we wanted, as she needed to dash off anyway. When Lox got his Axe caught in a Dragonkin that turned to stone, I went mental, refusing to leave until I reclaimed my blade. Over time I got my axe back, but when Kirty found Isosceles just up and vanished, she didn’t seem overly bothered. I had hundreds of questions running through my head…Is that it? Is she dead? Is she alive? What does this mean? Where’s the staff? What about the Disks of Mishakal? The Prophecy!?!

I’m obviously being overly dramatic, as I’m sure Kirsty wanted to know where her character was, but as I love my Feral Druid and my Green MTG creatures, I love Lox, and I’m sure he won’t be my last love (Sorry Lox!). Most experienced players have told me that you will always remember your first character. I can see this being true. I just hope that Lox, Isosceles and Minty get the run they deserve, as I can already rattle off a few tales of our little heroes.

Still in the chamber of the Dragon, our heroes are silent. No one knew where Isosceles had gone and no one dared to even whisper a suggestion. Lox, finishing his packing from stripping the dragon, notices something among the pile of treasure. Twelve disks, secured with a bolt through the middle of each, allowing the disks to rotate around. Each disk had unique carvings upon its rim. Lox knew the metal to be pure platinum, polishing a patch to see his face reflect back. Can these be the Disks of Mishakal, he thought? He found nothing alike through the horde of random coins and trinkets. Lox placed the Disks in a piece of cloth and wrapped them before putting it into his bag.

While Lox was busy, he hadn’t noticed the others scrambling around him, obviously taking his interest as an idea to take their mind off things. Each found nothing much. An amulet here, some armour for the Tiefling. Stuffing their finds into their bags, they made out of the chamber, taking one last look, as if Isosceles would be standing there.

It took the several hours to navigate the chambers and corridors of the dungeon beneath the Temple. Eventually finding their way back to the pot pulley, Lox climbed up the chains with ease, taking the smaller members of the group on his back. It took them about an hour to all reach the top, and from there, another few to find themselves in the main altar room. Sun light streaming through the front door. Knowing he had the disks, Lox led the troupe to the statue room, where Lox, Minty and Isosceles were told to obtain the said artifact. There was the statue, but it was different. It stood in a defiant pose. The Blue Crystal Staff, now one with the statue, held aloft by an arm of the statue, as if celebrating a great victory. At the foot of the statue, a figure lay, draped in the finest silk robes, with a hood, covering the head. It was as if the robes glowed. Deep and light blues almost swirled from the fabric, each gentle breath from the figure allowing the colours to breath. It was alive then, they all thought. Lox approached, using his axe to poke the figure, but nothing. He removed the hood. It was Isosceles! There, she lay, in clothing that was not her own, as if she were sleeping. Not scratch to her skin or a bruise was in sight. She looked perfectly healthy. She awoke and greeted her friend with a bright “Hello…”. Lox got her to her feet. In an instant, her companions were around her, hugging, greeting and making sure she was ok. She couldn’t remember anything apart from hitting the Dragon with the staff, then waking up. Our heroes spent the remainder of the early afternoon in the room with the statue.

Eight in number once more, they ventured towards Solace. They had a good 3 -4 days walk ahead of them. Lox, Minty and Isosceles were especially eager to get home. It was about mid-way, after a couple of days that they realised that they had heard or seen nothing of the local wildlife. The surroundings were still. Not a sound. Then they saw the dim shadows of what looked like smoke. With the smoke coming from the direction of Solace, they continued, hoping that their fears would not be realised.

Their home was burning. A forest town, it had no chance. Seeing that the worst was over, they approached to find twelve or so armoured guards. They didn’t recognise any of them. Upon are heroes approach, one turned, mentions something to the rest and leaves. Our heroes stopped, far enough that the guards would be able to hear them. As the heroes begin asking questions, the guard that left returned with a further eighteen armoured guards. Thirty against eight was not a number our travellers enjoyed.

Lox “enjoyed” a very frustrating talk with who seemed to be the captain of the guards. They heard as the guards explained that the new rulers of Solace had done this as Solace was in the way. The guards were loyal to Verminaard, the High-Lord, but as to the where about or to what Verminaard was, our heroes were still none the wiser. Not being silly, our heroes avoided a fight and merely requested passage through Solace, not giving away that it was their home town. The guards parted and the heroes proceeded. Isosceles tried to make out what was being said by the guards, as they murmured in their native tongue, but while trying to cast Comprehend Languages, one of the guards stopped her and warned her against it.

The guards!
They made their way to the pub, or rather, what was left of it. Making their way through the streets, many people were trying to prevent further damage. People sobbed as homes burned and lovers were lost. The pub was more of a tent now and was a shadow of the former building that was once poised up in the trees. Before entering, Shadowmeare was given the all clear. He vanished. He was to go and see what he could find out regarding the current situation.Walking in, all faces turned. Among them, Dragonkin, but they paid the heroes no heed and went back to their drinks, heckling at the locals, calling them names that no one should hear. Lox went to the bar and spoke to the Barman. The guards had attacked without warning, two days ago, flushing out families with fire. They let the place burn to the ground. The door flew open. The heroes stood up, realising that the Hobgoblin was the very same as the one who ambushed them at the very start of their journey. Six guards followed the Hobgoblin captain, quickly spreading out into the pub, doing as the captain ordered and making sure none left. They kept on coming. There were nearly over fifteen guards in the pub now, with more outside. Hearing this, Shadowmeare returned to the pub, following a couple of the guards. The Hobgoblin ignored the heroes’ questions. Nothing was being explained and names started to be called. Lox had enough. He launched himself across the table towards the Hobgoblin, head butting one of the other guards on the way, only to be kicked in the crotch, which made him crumble to the floor. With that, the guards acted, rounding up the heroes and escorting them outside, where they were loaded onto caged carts after being stripped of their belongings. Lox, Minty and Isosceles joined and elf in the first, Dominic, Dark Knight, Ruz and the Kender, were in the second which left Shawmeare to be loaded into the last, with three very unpleased looking elves.

Two and a half days passed. Nothing happened. Just the long and agonising ride in the carts. The trail was escorted by many a guard, making the idea of escape pretty futile, even if they could break through the bars. Isosceles and Minty had gotten to know the elf. His name was Gilthanas, and he knew Elric. Gilthanas knew that they were on the trade route to Qualinest, the very city that the heroes needed to get to, to deliver the letter.

The Elves split the party.
“About time!” Gilthanas exclaimed as they all heard a bird call. Arrows flew from the trees at both sides. With precision, they took down every guard and cart puller within seconds. As if they were part of the forest themselves, elves appeared from now where as they broke and opened to cages. The elves wasted no time in splitting the group into two. At one side, Lox, Ruz, Shadowmeare, Dark Knight and Hugon. On the other, Minty, Isosceles and Dominic. It came to light that the elves did not trust the first group. Racial mistrust is something the elves are usually pinned with. They obviously thought they meant no harm, as all the heroes belongings were returned, but the elves still demanded the word of the other three to vouch for their friends.

Word was given, elves from the forest were told to watch the ill trusted and on their way they went. Before long, they began to see spires, not unlike those in Ergoth, emerge into view from the tops of the trees. Qualinest. In safety they arrived and they were instructed that only Isosceles and Minty had free reign of the city. The others were told to go to the Silver Sun Inn. The elven guards left them in the Inn and told them to await Gilthanas, who will see to their needs.

During the peace, the group took to asking the Kender his name. His name was Hugon. He came from Kendermoore and could speak Elvish. With regards to other questions, he did not answer.

The Silver Sun Inn
Gilthanas returned at that moment. He requested that each asked for whatever they liked, as if they had free reign, and he would organise matters for them. Smiths were called upon. A sword here, a new war axe and hammer for Lox, dragon scale armour to be forged from the scales Lox had collected. New rope. An Alchemist to trade with for Dragon teeth and claws. A jewler for fineries that the ladies wished for. Gilthanas took note of all of these and left with Isosceles and Hugon to deliver the letter to it’s receiver. Solastoran.

Solastoran was happy!
Solastoran was certainly happy to see them. He explained his position in the city, calling himself the Speaker of the Sun. Reading the letter, he thanks his guests and requested that they deliver a reply. They accepted and went back to the bar. Finding the rest of the group in a near drunken stupor, Isosceles and Hugon merely shrug and go to join their friends.

Friday, 1 October 2010

A Ruzzle in the Shadows...

As mentioned in our previous update, Kujax and Chris joined us as PCs (player characters). Chris (our GM) and I had met with Kujax and Chris on a couple of occasions. On one, Kujax and I thought it would be neat to have the Goblin know Lox, and with that, the idea to have the Goblin only speak his native tongue was born. It’s random chat in pubs like this that adds real flavour to games I find. Something often lost in other games such as MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), where developers go to a lot of bother to create languages only certain races understand, only for players to gloss over the finer details in favour of “Phat Lootz”.
So, without further ado, I introduce to you, Ruz and Shadowmeare.


Player Name: Kujax
Name: Ruz Biglom
Age: 21
Birthplace: Unknown
Height: 4'
Weight: 90 lbs
Size: Small
Gender: Male
Looks: Green/ Short, Red eyes and a wisp of Brown Hair.
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Religion/Patron Deity: None
Race: Goblin
Class: Sorcerer

History:

Kujax
Ruz was born into labour, forced into a mining chain-gang from a young age. In his teens, he was given in tribute to Bane, an Orc Warlord from the frozen south, in exchange for a measure of protection for his family. He was once again put to labour. It was then he started to develop minor magic abilities. Turning flowers into frogs etc. He developed a mutual friendship with a Half-Orc called Lox, a fellow slave. Ruz taught Lox his language in exchange for some heavy work that Lox took care of. He was one day ambushed, kidnapped from his slave triad and incarcerated along with a Kender named Hugon, for an unknown length of time. Where he was, he didn’t know. Occasionally, he would be rendered unconscious by way of soaked rag, and waking, still in his cell, weakened but otherwise unharmed.

Player Name: Chris
Name: Shadowmeare
Age: 21
Birthplace: Unknown
Height: 5'
Weight: 120 lbs
Size: Medium
Gender: Male
Looks: Disturbing, Horned, Dark Blue/Grey Skinned, Black Hair.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Religion/Patron Deity: None
Race: Tiefling
Class: Rogue

History:

Chris
Shadowmeare knows little of the outside world. A minor demon, he rarely ventured from his own plane. Shadowmeare became an adapt rogue. A thief of many trades. Times where he would leave would be merely for pleasure, often coming back with trinkets and food he did not leave with, nor pay for. On one such excursion, he was ambushed and captured, being placed in a cell alongside the unusual coupling of a Goblin and strangely quiet Kender. Approximately once weekly he is rendered unconscious by way of soaked ragged, waking with fresh but healed scars down his forearms.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Tieflings and Kender and Goblins, OH MY!

Our third session already! Time certainly does fly, especially when you're having fun, and fun is something that we certainly have not been lacking. It's been really interesting to see what D&D is like. So far so good and I have plenty of hopes for our campaign. I'm sure it'll only get better as we go along. I even have plans to start my own campaign, but that's for another blog.

Before I give you the update on our third session, I should mention that we were joined by a further two players. Chris (another one) and Kujax were meant to join us from the beginning, but due to constraints, they couldn't make it. After working them into the third session, Chris (our GM) was happy to have them join us without the story being disturbed. I'll leave the run downs of the new characters for the following blog, but they join about mid way through our update.

So we rejoin our heroes back at the Box Puzzle. For those of you who can't remember, the puzzle was as follows...

A large plaque on the altar reads:

“One box leads to Salvation! Three lead to death! Two tell lies and two tell the truth!”

Below are the four boxes, each with their own plaque. Reading from left to right, these read:

The Box Puzzle!

“I am not trapped!”
“You don't want to open me!”
“I am trapped!”
“The statement on box number one is false!”

After a few squabbles, numerous brainstorms and general idiocy on Lox' part, Isosceles approached the boxes and used the Blue Crystal Staff to poke around. Nothing happened. No reaction from the boxes or the staff. In agreement, the friends decide to open Box no.2. Isosceles, again, cautiously approached and slowly opened the second box.


Instantly, a large purple, vortex like portal appeared on the wall. Our heroes were confused. What did this mean? Had they passed? Had they failed? They went forward, finding that the portal meant them no harm when they passed through. They were out of the dungeon!

Our heroes found themselves to be in a well kept room with several bookshelves and a table against the far wall with chairs surrounding it. Above it, a large window, which showed the outside world. Large towers and buildings, made of marble, gleamed in the sunshine. In the corner, a large sheet was covering something. Isosceles walks over, seeing no sign of any other apart from her friends in the room, and unveils a large mirror. She looks closer into the mirror. She sees a battle. A war of demons. Apparitions and figures frantically killing and maiming. Wielding weapons of fire and shields made of skin. Death was all that the mirror depicted. A large horned figure looks towards Isosceles, as if seeing her through the mirror. It turns and makes towards her. Isosceles freezes. She can't move. Lox, seeing what is happening, starts to make his way to cover the mirror, only to be pushed aside by someone who he does not recognise. The figure covers the mirror and turns to his guests. Lox, finding this somewhat rude, looks around to see a massive statue like man, plated in some of the best armour he had ever seen. Easily 9'5 feet in height, Lox still thought he could take him.

Elric's Room!
Introducing himself as Elric Dravan, the elf explained him self. He told our heroes how the Box Puzzle was a test, that we had passed and the purple portal took us from the Dungeon in Xak-Tsaroth, to his private quarters in Daltigoth, a city which lay on the southern isle of Ergoth. When Isosceles mentions the mirror, Elric merely shrugs it off and calls it a project he’s working on. Concerned, our heroes listened to what he had to say. Elric has a series of jobs that he wished them to do. As an Ambassador to the Elven King, he had a few trade agreements that needed delivering to other cities on the main land. Promised with payment, our heroes agree, but only after explaining that they have an job to do themselves. After their story, Elric agrees to allow his son, the 9’5 foot, armoured ogre, to go with them. Known only as “Dark Knight”, Elric confirms that he was adopted at a young age and that he never spoke. Regardless, our companions were glad of the company. After discussing several things and learning his lesson, Lox asks for some rope. With a nod from the elf, Dark Knight vanished and quickly returned with 50 foot of rope. Lox was pleased.

Minty asked about the Dragon and the White Stag. Elric tells them he presumes that the Stag is merely folklore, but the Dragon is something he can help with. He tells them of the Dragon. A vast beast of the Black strain. Its cave has an opening at the top, allowing it to come and go as it wishes, and the cave is vast enough to allow it to take flight while within. Being a Black Dragon, Elric warns the heroes that it does not breathe fire, but instead spits an intense acid, which would melt pretty much anything.

The Prison!
With that being said, they gather their things and venture back through the portal. However, instead of finding themselves within the same room as before, they find themselves within a vast corridor. They realise that they must be back within the dungeons of Xak-Tsaroth and with only one way to go, they continue on their way. As they venture deeper, they all become aware of dim sounds of metal against rock. Rough guttural speech is also heard, but due to how quiet it is, they pay in no conernDragonkin guard wakes up from a nap, and grabs his weapon before charging. With Lox, Dominic and Dark Knight both charge the Dragonkin, allowing the others to discover the locked cells. It was a prison! Within three of the cells, figures emerged from the shadows and looked with hope. A Goblin, Kender and a Tiefling. Minty went to work. The Kender was released first, then the Tiefling and the Goblin following. Not having time to talk, they quickly assisted in the killing of the guard, which gave the biggest of the group a little more trouble than they liked to admit. Covering the fighters in gore, the Dragonkin exploded.

Amidst the sudden calm, our heroes started asking questions. It becomes apparent that the Goblin can’t speak common, and so, Lox enters a long discussion with him. After a while, Lox reveals that he knows this creature. When Lox was a slave, he was taught how to speak Goblin by the very one standing in front of him in exchange with dealing with most of the heavy work that the Orcs had the slaves undertake. Lox vowed that the Goblin was trustworthy. The Tiefling didn’t talk, and the Kender didn’t reveal much either. When asked of why they were here, none of the three wanted to answer. All of them, obviously, far to shocked at their release and all the new faces. Isosceles and Minty took to tending to them. Cleaning and dressing the wounds that covered their bodies. Strong enough to walk and bear arms, Lox tossed a spare blade to the Tiefling Rogue and with that, they went on their way.

Room after room after room. That’s what it felt like. Twisting corridors led to the last and only door they had seen in these lower levels following the purple portal. Entering the room, they come across another guard. Lox charged, tripped and almost toppled into a large pot like object, that was hung by a chain. This pot was suspended above a large pit. On the other side of the room, he could see a large chain going down into another pit. A pulley system! Gaining back his balance, he turned just in time to avoid the Dragonkin guard. Swinging his axe, he kills it in one blow. The guard turning to stone and falling into the pot. With that, the pot began to slowly descend.

Lox led the way. Being heavy enough on his own and using the stone body of the guard as a counterweight, he got into the pot and it started to lower down into the depths. At the bottom, more Gully Dwarves, which of course, ran as soon as possible. Getting out, the pot started to rise once again. Over about a couple of hours, the others had joined Lox and they decided to rest for a while. It was a large pit, with a door on the far wall. It was evident that the noises they had heard had come from this pit. Scattered all around were mining equipment and tools. It was then they attacked. Taking our heroes by surprise, five Dragonkin, heavily armoured, rushed through the door. It was rather short. Lox taking down two with ease, and the others taking down the rest, including a rather nice shot from Minty, who sent one flying with a new piercing between his eyes.

The Dragon!*


Seeing as they were up and ready, they went through the door. Another long corridor lead to another door. This one was pristine. As if new? Venturing through, they came across the very thing they had been aiming for. Colossal wings and a winding tail. Claws and spines on every toe and it’s teeth, as if polished, shined in the dim light. The Dragon was asleep. Hordes of treasure everywhere you looked. If our heroes got out alive, they would be walking away with empty pockets, as gold was nothing in this world now. Only Lox smiled, eyeing up the Dragon. Remembering what the statue had told her, Isosceles stepped forward. Filled with inspiration, she did not waver. The Dragon stirred. Peering an eye, as if it couldn’t be bothered with her. It lifted its head and let out a huge yawn. Isosceles stood silent. They were staring each other down. The Dragon had no time for these tiny creatures. Mere ants it thought.

“Give us the Disks of Mishakal beast!”

Nothing.

“The disks, Dragon! Where are they?!”

The Dragons looked at her. With one action, it tilted it’s neck and let out a spew of acid. Our heroes jumped aside, thinking the worst. Lox, enraged, charged. As did Dominic and Dark Knight. Through the grime, Isosceles stood, surrounded by a faint light. Just in the nick of time she had cast a Shield of Faith, protecting her from the acid. She got to her feet and in the havoc, ran at the Dragon with the Blue Crystal Staff poised for a precise blow.

A flash of light, the Dragon fell, blasting everyone onto their backs and Isosceles was gone.

Our heroes panicked! Where had she gone. There was no blood, no sign of torn clothing. Gone. Vanished.

Lox, seeing no point in wasting time, began to skin the giant, winged lizard. Four rolls of Dragon Plated Skin. He began prying the teeth and claws from the beast. The other looked on as in disbelief. Just seconds ago, their dear friends had vanished, and here was the Half-Orc going about things like nothing happened. Once done, Lox merely looked up and smiled. He put his prizes into his bags, and sat down for a well needed rest.

As you can imagine, stopping here was no easy thing to do. People have lives to return to and so, we had to. A good cliff-hanger I feel. Will they find Isosceles? Who knows?

Stay tuned and keep on rollin'!

*No Geckos (Gizmo) were harmed in the making of this Blog.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Ruined City of Xak-Tsaroth.

We rejoin our heroes about an hour or so away from Pulb’s burrow. The gully dwarf our heroes met. If you remember correctly, Dominic mentioned, before bedding down, that it was curious that a gully dwarf would have such treasures when he lives in a swamp. So, with agreement, our heroes decided to return in the morning.

The ladies, Minty and Isosceles, took in upon themselves to call out for Pulb, but they were surprised to find no sign of him or his family. With Lox, the three of them ventured into the burrow to find that Pulb and his family had vanished. There was no sign of the treasure that once lay in the corner. What was more puzzling was the fact that the burrow showed no sign of being disturbed, but our heroes agreed that with both Pulb and the treasure being gone, it was no mere coincidence.

Venturing back to the temple, our heroes planned to see whether or not they could find any clues about Pulbs disappearance. Isosceles and Lox went inside, finding no sign of the winged beasts or Pulb. Isosceles cast a spell to help her detect any magic that might my lurking in the temple. She felt a pang of something within proximity, but as they searched, again, they found nothing. It was then they thought that it was in the pool itself, but as they learnt from their last visit, they had no way of reaching the bottom of the pool in safety. So, with that, our heroes turned from the temple and went on their way.

While they travelled, the adventurers realised that they were heading towards a forest. This was worrying, as they knew nothing of a forest between the swap lands and Xak-Tsaroth. As they went deeper, they found the growth to get dense, making is difficult to travel. The came upon a clearing and camped for the night. The night was uneventful, but when they awoke they realise that Riverwind and Goldmoon had vanished. Everything from their tent, which still stood, was inside. Lox went into the tent to investigate, only to find the Blue Crystal Staff inside. Knowing its importance, Lox picks it up only to be blasted by energy unknown to him. Wounded, he picked himself up and wrapped the staff inside some bedding and took it to his friends. Minty and Isosceles were shocked to hear what happened to Lox. He lay the staff by the fire while they discussed what to do with it. Why did it shock Lox? Would it shock anyone else? Being the one that could heal, Isosceles patched Lox up and then approached the staff. Lox unveiled the staff, allowing it to fall to the ground, so that he didn’t touch it again. Our heroes decided that Isosceles should attempt to pick it up. She hesitated, but took the staff in one hand. Instantly, she felt a wave of calming flow through her. With that, the staff reacted and healed Lox of his remaining injuries. Everyone in the group felt better. They were worried, but knew it was right that Isosceles carried the staff. With no sign of the two Pathfinders
or any indication as to which direction they went, our heroes packed up and started on their way again.


The T-Junction.

After a couple of days of uneventful travel, they came across a road. A T-junction to be exact. To the east they could see a large courtyard which was lined with pillars. In front of that was a large well, with what looked like vapours rising out like snakes. North of the well lies an old building which stood out from the rest due to its impeccable state. Its roof was intact, the walls were in good shape and the stone doors looked almost new. Dominic knows this to be the outskirts of the ruins. The city of Xak-Tsaroth. As they approach the building, they that the doors are lined with gold, standing under archways with vast decor. Dominic stands outside on watch while the other three decide to go in. The doors open very easily, as if they are still in constant use. Walking inside, our heroes find a large square room with a door to the left and right. Rows of church pews fill the room surrounded by candles everywhere and three hooded figures standing at the far wall at an altar. Revealing them selves, and being somewhat hostile, the three Dragonkin stepped forward. None of them had uttered a word. Isosceles, hiding the staff, tried to reason with the Dragon folk, but when one of them tried to fire a bolt at our heroes, and missed, they attacked. Lox easily took down two of the creatures, one turning to stone and the other dissolving into disgusting goo. Minty and Isosceles has injured the other one. While it wriggled in pain, Isosceles put a boot to its throat, to ensure it doesn’t escape and started to question the beast. This is when they learn that all those that had attacked them in the past had been Dragonkin. Isosceles cast a truth telling spell on the injured figure, who forcefully gave answers, knowing that he shouldn’t. He revealed that they were in a Church for the deity Mishakal, Isosceles patron deity. The figure also revealed that he worked for Quang, the leader of his kind. The figure didn’t know where to find Quang, but further revealed that he had been given the task of finding a Blue Crystal Staff. The staff is required by the High Lord Neraka, in Verminaard. Neraka, again, was un-placable. With the creatures last breath taken, it too turned to stone.

The battle at the alt


After investigating the room, they went through the door in the right, seeing as the door on the left was locked and would not budge. Again, the door was open. They find a small circular room with a large shining statue of a lady in the centre. As if it was natural, the statue started to move. It looked upon Isosceles and began to talk in a somewhat ancient yet soothing voice. Peacefulness washed over our heroes, making them feel both hope and sadness at the same time. The statue spoke these words:


"Beloved disciple, the gods have not turned away from man. Man turned away from the true gods and now seek gods who do not exist. But the end of darkness nears. Krynn is about to face its greatest test. Man will need the truth more than ever. You must return the truth and power of the true gods to men. It is time to restore the balance. To gain the power, you shall need the truth of the gods. Far below this temple lie the Disks of Mishakal: circular plates of platinum that are all you need to call upon my power. You must recover these disks. .But your way will not be easy. The Disks now lie in the lair of the dragon. Therefore I charge your staff: if you present it boldly, never wavering, then you shall prevail. Even then, your journey is not complete; you must leave here, you must search for the true Leader of the People.."

With that, the statue held out its hands, motioning Isosceles to place the staff there. The staff and the statue both reacted by glowing a bright blue that became too bright for Minty and Lox. It soon finished and with their new knowledge, went back into the main room.


They found Dominic examining a corner, who then proclaimed that it was a secret door. Dominic revealed the door to them and with nothing awaiting them outside, they made haste into the new door way.
Sliding down the slope!
They found themselves venturing down a narrow corridor that curved slightly. It seemed to go on for some time before coming into a large circular room with a pit in the centre. They knew they had to get down there, but how? None of them had any rope, but Lox mentioned that he’s a good climber. Looking down the pit, they could see a ledge about 30 feet down. After that it was a slope, but to where this slope went, they did not know. Lox carried Minty down first and then Isosceles. Dominic attempted the climb down, but slipped, crashing down onto the other three and causing them to start sliding down the slope. Gaining speed, they slid down the slope into four figures, causing them to crash down with our heroes. They eventually hit the bottom, finding themselves in a large room with a door at the end. Gully dwarves! They had crashed into gully dwarves, but before they had a chance to talk to them, they had scurried off through the door alerting something in the dark ceiling corner. A giant spider jumped down blocking the door way looking displeased at being disturbed. Minty shot off two bolts with her crossbow, wounding the spider, but before the poor beast knew what had hit it; Lox took in apart with his massive axe.



The heroes made their way through a network of empty rooms before realising that they seem to be upside-down. They realised they were walking on the ceiling. With no explanation, they carried on, finding room after empty room. They came across a bakery before finding what looked like sleeping barracks. Large bunk beds lined the walls in rows. Searching the beds and old weapon wracks, Lox and Minty found swords, but were none the wiser as to whether they were mundane or not. Minty became aware that they were being watched! Three Dragonkin came into the room, one the obvious leader due to his armour and weapons, and attacked the heroes. Again, Minty let loose with a double bolt that injured the leader. Lox had trouble with one as did Isosceles with another. Lox eventually dispatched his foe, again, being covered in goo as it keeled over. Isosceles had her sword swiped from her hand when her foe turned to stone. The leader jumped at Lox. Minty took aim and further injured the leader. Lox stumbled but managed to take the leader, its body hitting the floor before exploding violently. Covered in gore, the heroes decide to take time and rest for the night. Presuming it was night. All they knew is that they have been awake for some time and were tired. Rest is was. They awoke hours after, Isosceles claiming her sword back from the pile of dust that was all that remained of her scaly enemy. They take up their belongings and look for a way forward.


Our heroes further examined the room before Isosceles found another secret door hidden by magic. More like a portal they thought, as they simply had to walk through finding themselves in another narrow corridor that led to another large square room. They enter, finding no one present. They see another altar. A large plaque on the altar reads:

“One box leads to Salvation! Three lead to death! Two tell lies and two tell the truth!”

The four boxes!
Looking down, our heroes find the four boxes, each with their own plaque. Reading from left to right, these read:

“I am not trapped!”
“You don't want to open me!”
“I am trapped!”
“The statement on box number one is false!”

With that, our heroes look at each other, none of them crazy enough to motion without thought.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Usual Suspects...

So we've been through two sessions so far, one of which I shall update you all on following this for those wanting to catch up. I thought it would be best to introduce the characters that you have been following so far.

So, without further ado...

Our adventurers have been friends from a young age, banding together due to their mixed heritage. Though not unheard of in Krynn, mixed race relationships and offspring are rare. The four of them have had happy childhoods, not a huge amount of trouble and generally enjoying life in the forest town of Solace. Through their schooling, they all know of the terrible history of Krynn and the disappearance of the Clerics, taking their valuable knowledge and powers with them. Our friends, following certain events, decide to leave Solace and brave the lands of Ansalon, to try and search out the Clerical Powers. When we see our heroes again, they have met just a days walk from Solace, sharing their stories around a camp fire. None of them finding any sign of the clerics and their power.

Lox
Name: Lox Breem
Player Name: Tim (Me)
Age: 24
Birthplace: Solace
Height: 6'5
Weight: 300lbs
Size: Medium
Gender: Male
Looks: Tanned dark/red skin, Brown eyes, Dark hair crop/sideburns 
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Religion/Patron Deity: Chislev
Race: Half-Orc
Class: Barbarian

Tim
History: Born after his mother was taken advantage of following an Orc raid on his home town of Solace. His mother and uncle brought him up with a home schooled education and a firm understanding of morals, right and wrong. Lox worked with his uncle on his timber mill, learning a number of skills involving woodmen-ship. His uncle secretly taught him how to fight after revealing that he was once the captain of the royal guard. Lox prefers axes and hammers as his weapons, mostly because of how familiar he is when using them as tools.

Following a late night brawl at the local pub, Lox leaves the village in fear of what would happen to his mother if he stayed and in search of the clerical powers that he had once heard of. He took refuge in the woods, which led on to being captured by Orc Raiders. Raiders eventually discover that Lox is the bastard son of there leader. This leads on to more abuse in the shape of slavery and gladiatorial style fights for the entertainment of the orcs. During this time, Lox befriends many of the Goblin slaves that work for the Orcs. In return for doing most of the Goblins heavy work, they taught him how to speak theirs and the Orcs tongue. During one of the gladiatorial fights, Lox manages to escape the orcs, vowing to kill his father and his gang of raiders once and for all.

Lox is now on the run from the raiders, who wish him dead, as no orc gang can live down a slave actually escaping. He takes jobs where he can and generally tries to keep a low profile.

Minty
Name: Minty Pebbledash
Player Name: Sarah
Age: 29
Birthplace: Solace
Height: 4'5
Weight: 90lbs
Size: Medium
Gender: Female
Looks: Awesome
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Religion/Patron Deity: Sirrion
Race: Half-Kender
Class: Bard

Sarah (fake moustache)
History: Minty has been wronged in the past, feeling that she doesn't want revenge but has disregarded normal, everyday life. Her father was a talented musician, playing many towns and cities and was revered across the world as one of the best entertainers around. At a young age, her father started to teach her how to play, but her endless doubt always stunted her ability and potential. With age, she is yet to believe in her actual skill as a musician, always talking herself down when others comment on how talented she actually is.

Minty has a pet centipede which was given to her as a gift from her father. She believed it was the source of her playing ability and the power of her music. Following an Orc raid on her birth town, her father was kidnapped, never to be seen again. The centipede was killed during the raid. She now carries the centipede in a locket around her neck and still believes to this day that the centipede is the source of her power.

Leaving her home town after the raid, she ventured from city to city looking for work as an entertainer, as it was the only thing that came to her naturally. Her travels eventually found her in Palanthas, where she makes a modest living.



Isosceles
Name: Isosceles Glass
Player Name: Kirsty
Age: 46
Birthplace: Solace
Height: 5'5
Weight: 110lbs
Size: Medium
Gender: Female
Looks: Blue Eyes, Brown Hair
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Religion/Patron Deity: Mishakal
Race: Half-Elf
Class: Cleric

Kirsty (always wears this mask)
History: Isosceles is a strange one. Little is known, but she was brought up in a traditional household the way every little girl would be. When she came of age, she rebelled. Leaving home, she felt the need to hide her sex, but she couldn't fully give up her femininity. She joined the church, but became disillusioned in her teachings. She didn't fully want to give up however. Leaving the church to find her true path, she uses her training to find her way.








Name: Dominic Odyseus Asland "Domino"
Dominic (proxy)
Player Name: Chris Garvey
Age: 30
Birthplace: Solanthus, Solamnia
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 250 lbs
Size: Medium
Gender: Male
Looks: Black Eyes, Shoulder Length Black Hair, Short Cropped Beard, Muscular
Allignment: Chaotic Neutral
Religion/Patron Deity: None
Race: Human
Class: Fighter 1/ Sorcerer 1/ Duskblade 7


Chris (shall not pass)
History: Dominic has a twin brother, Morgan, and a younger sister, Kara. He is of Solamnic heritage on his mother's side, Ashleigh De Mornay, and of an unknown paternal line. He and his brother were raised under a strict Solamnic schooling, joining the military academy at sixteen and both were expected to join the knighthood. However the siblings had ideas of their own. Both left the military academy at twenty. Dominic became a mercenary, taking jobs from the highest bidder and Morgan, embracing his love of the ocean, found a place on a local trade ship and began life at sea.
Kara, showing particular flair for the arcane arts, was enrolled in the local school of sorcery from a young age and now spends her days furthering her art.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Look at the shiny, shiny!

As a war gamer and a new RPG player, I feel that dice often go unappreciated.

Without dice, many games would simply not exist. All of the Games Workshop games use dice, most RPG’s and even Snakes and Ladders and Cluedo. Backgammon, Craps and even Poker. They all use dice.

Some ancient knuckle dice.
The earliest and most common known use for the humble dice was gambling. The oldest dice ever known, for example, was found in Shahr-i Sokhta (the Burnt City) as part of an archaeological site in south-eastern Iran. They are even mentioned in the bible. More often than not, these “Dice” would have been knuckle or ankle bones, but they were used for the thing:

To provide one randomly determined integer, within a range, with each of those values being equally as likely.

When we say “dice”, most people will think of your happy go lucky six sided die. Often referred to as a D6. Six sides, six numbers. Simple. This is the most often used die in games today. While this is fine, many games such as Warhammer and D&D often need to increase the randomisation of the outcomes. This usually means that the number of integers increases. Sometimes, in the case of Warhammer, certain symbols, such as a “misfire” symbol or an arrow for determining what direction a “misfired” mortar shell will follow is used.

The most common dice in the role playing world are simple. D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D20 and D100. That’s a 4 sided, 6 sided, 8 sided and so on…

(D100’s are often based on rolling two D10’s at once to determine the number for the “tens” and the “units”. Usually this takes a D10 with 0-9 on the sides and another with the values 00, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 & 90. For example, rolling a 10 and a 8 would result in 18. 80 and 1 would be 81. A roll of ten or zero on either die is taken as a zero, unless both are zeros or tens, in which case this is 100 (rather than zero). Rolling a D100 can often be classed as a Percentile Roll or a D%.)

Although originally made of natural materials, such as wood or bone, with most things today, manufacturers tend to use cheaper and harder plastics to avoid erosion and to keep costs down. Let’s face it. You don’t want to spend hours or even days searching for your perfect dice, only for them to start wearing away the more you use them, especially if you've just dropped a small fortune on them. On a lighter note, this leads to manufacturers being able to make dice any size and any colour that you can think of. This is where the excitement begins.

Most players can be protective over dice, many don’t care. Some will just buy a random bag and be done with it. Some like to pick out the right sizes, colours and textures. Some even just collect dice. I reckon I’m more like the hoarders than I’d like to think. Having your own set of dice is something everyone should enjoy, especially if you play RPG’s. My girlfriend and I, fully in the knowledge that our group was due to start in a couple of weeks, hit the Internet. If you go to Google and search “Dice”, you will be rewarded with 368 million results. Knowing what I know, I typed in Chessix, a well known manufacturer of Dice and other gaming peripherals. Many players will argue that Chessix are the best, but every player has a preference. As it was, Chessix had plenty for this couple of n00bs, so shop we did.

We got far too excited.

Our Dice! (Sarah on Left, Tim on Right.)
After picking our preferred dice, we waited patiently for them to arrive. And when they did, it was like Christmas. We were like Gollum and the one ring or couple of regular dwarves, playing with their treasure.

But now I want more. I find myself sitting at home and work alike, scouring the Internet, finding “rare” and unique dice that no body will have. In reality, this is just time wasting, but I hazard to say that my first set won’t be my last.

Apparently most players can remember the first roll their precious D20’s gave them. I, for one, cannot, but my ’20 has been good to me so far (except when trying to grapple, but let’s not get into that right now.) and I hope it’s good to me in the future.

So remember folks, dice are not just dice!

They are the sword in your hand, the shield on your arm, the bolter killing Xenos scum and the number of places you can move before sliding down a snake!

Just keep them rollin’!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

And on the seventh day, there be dragons!

Following our second sitting of the campaign (of which I'll update you in a later blog), our GM sent us an email with regards to the history of Ansalon and the world it's within. Ansalon is one of the main continents of a world called Krynn. While reading the history of Krynn, it became apparent at how similar some fantasy stories and lore can be, often borrowing from each other, branching out to different directions that often lead to stories or endings that can be identical if not only for location and character names. This is not usually a bad thing, as fantasy is so wide spread these days that people make it as applicable to their tastes as they wish.

I can be very picky about fantasy and sci-fi stories a like. A lot of people find it puzzling that I like Star Wars and not Star Trek. It's always the same answer I give. Star Trek is just too clean cut for my liking. Uniforms for every race. Tiny and tidy weapons. Smooth star cruisers and space vessels. Compare that to Star Wars, which is in my opinion a far greater betrayal of a Sci-Fi epic, you find big clunky cruisers full of sand and scratched to bit with weapons that look like it would do more damage to yourself than the enemy. Certainly, some will point out that Star Wars is a series of movies and Star Trek a series of television shows, but both have dabbled in the waters of the opposition, failing in some places and exceeding in others. I'm sure there are some Star Trek fans that will want to "set their phasers to kill" after this, but I say each to their own. There has to be some folk out there that appreciate the other the top, big chested, scantily clad, female portrayal that some stereotypical fantasy (and sci fi) has.

Dark, gritty, gothic, desperate and horrific. These are a few of the descriptive words I like to use for my sci-fi and fantasy. If any of you have read any of the Warhammer 40,000 novels, namely by Dan Abnett, you'll know exactly what I'm getting at.

You can imagine how happy I was when it came to reading about the history of Krynn and it's creation, realising that it's the bastard child of the Old High God, which has been dragged by the hair backwards through many a thorned bush. I'll try my best to highlight part of which hold a significant importance to our heroes and their journey.

Krynn is divided into five main continents: Ansalon, The Dragon Isles, Ithin'carthia, Taladas, and Adlatum, as well as the subterranean continent of Chorane. Krynn's history is split into four ages. The first of which is...

The Age of Starbirth - The First Age.

The Age of Starbirth is the first of Krynn's ages, and is said to begin with the High God. The High God accepts the offers of Paladine, Gilean, and Takhisis, and allows the three gods to select their companion deities. Paladine and his companions become the Gods of Light. Takhisis and her companions become the Gods of Darkness. Gilean and his companions become the Gods of Balance. Reorx (God of Creation) shapes Krynn and the first dragons under the guidance of Paladine and Takhisis. The other gods, excluding Chaos, aid in the creation of Krynn as a habitable world.


Takhisis corrupts the first dragons in her image, creating the first red, blue, black, green, and white dragons. A grief-stricken Paladine asks Reorx to craft monuments to his lost children. Paladine gives life to these monuments, thus creating the first gold, silver, copper, bronze, and brass dragons. Takhisis's treachery causes a great war on Krynn known as the All-Dragons War. The gods withdraw from Krynn before their war destroys the world. The Gods of Light build the Dome of Creation, the Gods of Darkness create the Abyss, and the Gods of Balance create the Hidden Vale.

The three pantheons discover the potential of the stars, which are spirits in reality, and the All-Saints War begins. The fighting is stopped by the High God, who proclaims that each pantheon may offer one gift to the spirits. The Gods of Light provide the spirits with physical forms so as to enjoy Krynn's pleasures. The Gods of Darkness "gift" the spirits with ambition, desire & morality. The Gods of Balance give free will to the spirits. The spirits are born into the world of Krynn as ogres, elves, and humans. Each family of gods creates one god to honour the truce, and the gods of magic are born: good Solinari, neutral Lunitari, and evil Nuitari.

Reorx is persuaded to craft a powerful gemstone that will contain the essence of neutrality. Reorx tries to infuse the gem with a portion of Chaos, but accidentally and unknowingly entraps the god himself. Reorx gives the gem to Lunitari, who puts it in the red moon that shares her name. The gemstone becomes known as the Graygem.

The Age of Dreams - The Second Age.


The Age of Dreams is often considered the beginning of recorded history. Three time periods collectively form the Age of Dreams: The Foundation, The Time of Light, sometimes referred to as the Age of Light, and The Time of Knights.

The Foundation

Ogres, elves, and humans establish homes and the beginnings of civilization. Reorx gathers a select few creative humans and teaches them his craft. Ogres begin enslaving humans. An ogre governor named Igraine learns compassion and is declared a traitor by his race. Igraine and his followers call themselves the Irda and move to a distant island. The ogre empire descends to barbarism as human slaves revolt and elven civilization comes into its own.

The Time of Light

Reorx curses his chosen humans for their arrogance, stripping them of their skill in forging and leaving them the desire to invent. He also strips them of their size, changing them into the first Gnomes. Centuries later, a Gnome is tricked into retrieving the Graygem from the red moon. The Graygem escapes immediately after touching down on Krynn and brings wild magic into the world. The gem's chaotic nature transforms animals, plants, and races across Krynn, resulting in the eventual creation of Dwarves, Kender, and many other races.

The First Dragon War begins when the elven king Silvanos brings his people to a forest inhabited by chromatic dragons. The dragons fight the elves for control of territory. The three gods of magic provide the elves with five dragon stones, which capture the spirits of the first dragons. The dragon stones are buried, stopping the war, but the other deities punish the gods of magic for their interference.

Dwarves and Minotaurs conflict as the new kingdoms of Kal-Thax and Mithrandus are built. The Minotaurs are enslaved until a Dwarven civil war causes the abandonment of Kal-Thax and the creation of Thorin. The kingdom of Ambeoutin is built in honour of the minotaur who led his fellows to freedom. As Balif leaves the elven kingdom of Silvanost to establish Balifor, the twin minotaur realms of Mithas and Kothas are formed when Ambeoutin's sons fight to a draw for control of the empire.

Dwarves find the buried dragon stones and return them to the surface, ignorant of the stones' history. The first dragons are released from the stones and strike at Silvanesti, beginning the Second Dragon War. The war ends when three mages command the earth to swallow the dragons. Their magic is successful but thousands of lives are lost in the backlash, and the gods of magic take the three mages into their tower. The three mages become the first Wizards of High Sorcery and help to found the Towers of High Sorcery. The dwarves, realizing the havoc they unleashed, close Thorin.

Ackal Ergot founds the Empire of Ergoth, while misplaced kender found the nation of Hylo. Ergoth's influence expands and the empire opens trade with the elves. Sithel's mysterious death leads to the Kinslayer War, which pits Ergoth against Silvanesti. Dwarves leave Thorin to build Thorbardin and are drawn into the conflict. Thorin is renamed Thoradin after its decline. The lawless town of Bright Horizon is founded. The Kinslayer War ends with the signing of the Swordsheath Scroll and the founding of Qualinesti. Thorbardin dwarves forge the Hammer of Honour and present it to Ergoth as a peace offering.

Time of Knights

Kith-Kanan, king of the Qualinesti, convinces dwarves, elves, and humans to erect Pax Tharkas as a declaration of peace. The remaining dwarves of Thoradin disappear without cause. Ergoth bears witness to a succession of brutal kings looking to exploit the empire for their own ends. Vinas Solamnus rises to the rank of Praetor and marches on Vingaard to quell a rebellion. He becomes sympathetic to their plight and thus begins the Rose Rebellion. He marches on Ergoth with a mighty army, forcing the emperor to grant independence to many states. Shortly after the nation of Solamnia is founded, Vinas forms an order of knights dedicated to the cause of Good. This knighthood is known as the Knights of Solamnia.

Vinas brings order to Bright Horizon, which is renamed Palanthas. The High Clerist's Tower is built and Palanthas is redesigned by dwarves. The Great Library is built and the historian Astinus makes his first known appearance. The nations of Istar and Sancrist are formed. Ergoth continues its decline as Silvanesti withdraws from the world.

Takhisis begins the Third Dragon War by sending her dragons across Ansalon in massive numbers. The Wizards of High Sorcery create the Dragon Orbs to defend their towers. Huma Dragonbane and the silver dragon Heart sacrifice their lives to defeat Takhisis, who agrees to depart Krynn as long as the world is whole.

The Age of Might - The Third Age. (The most important age for our story)


The Age of Might focuses primarily on the rise and fall of the Empire of Istar. A cleric of Paladine protects the city of Istar during the war, endearing the populace to the church. Dwarves return to Thoradin and open trade routes with Istar. Solamnia allies with Hylo and grants mining rights to the Dwarves of Thorbardin. The Thorbardin Dwarves found the kingdoms of Kayolin and Hillow and begin work on the Tree of Life. As the Elves continue their self-imposed isolation, the Ogre Wars occur as Ogres attempt to drive the dwarves from Thoradin. Balifor begins a trade war with Istar over the empire's trade laws, and the Kender tax is signed. Istar expands into Silvanesti naval routes and is blockaded. Shortly thereafter, Istar signs the Swordsheath Scroll. Thoradin follows suit after a second conflict with Ogres. Barbarian raiders from Estwilde raid Istarian caravans and are confronted by Solamnia, which re-signs the Swordsheath Scroll.

Istar's expansion continues until it becomes Ansalon's major power, and claims itself the moral centre of the world. The first Kingpriest takes power in 280 PC. The empire of Istar begins enforcing the Kingpriest's policies and repressing freedoms. Frustrated Elves withdraw into their forests. The Kingpriest of 118 PC gives the Proclamation of Manifest Virtue and draws up a list of evil acts that result in execution or arena time. Istar's priests begin losing their clerical powers. The Kingpriest of 94 PC adds to the Proclamation by declaring that certain races are evil. The empire of Istar conquers the Minotaurs and forces them into slavery. Istar becomes the religious centre of Ansalon. Tensions mount between the Istarian clergy and the Wizards of High Sorcery, until Kingpriest Beldinas starts the Lost Battles by sending Istar to war with the Towers of High Sorcery in 19 PC. Two towers are destroyed but the wizards agree to exile themselves to the Tower of Wayreth, ending the conflict. Istar begins using mind readers to ensure that no one is thinking evil thoughts.

Ultimately, Kingpriest Beldinas prepares to ascend to godhood with the aid of the Disks of Mishakal. The people of Istar applaud the effort and are sent Thirteen Warnings by the gods to warn them of their folly. True clerics vanish, trees weep blood, and the city of Istar is battered by a continuous storm. The citizens of Istar and their Kingpriest mistake the signs as being the work of Evil. The Kingpriest continues his preparations, and on the third day of the new year, the Cataclysm occurs. On both Ansalon and Taladas, lands are torn asunder, new bodies of water form, and innumerable lives are lost. The empire of Istar is destroyed, Ergoth is separated from the mainland, Thoradin becomes Zhakar, and the New Sea is formed. Most clerical power vanishes from the world.

** Additional Kingpriest/ Cataclysm Information**

Though at the beginning Beldinas only fought evil, as time passed, he began to include those who did not think exactly like him. Thus, he destroyed temples and expelled followers of the Neutral Gods, as well. With time, his obsession drove him to also destroy even "heretic" followers of the Gods of Light. This also caused the Kingpriest to try to destroy all Wizards of High Sorcery, causing the Order to destroy the Towers of High Sorcery in Losarcum and Daltigoth in self-defence. This also caused Andras Rannoch, who was being mind-controlled by Fistandantilus, to curse the Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas upon his death.

The Thirteen Warnings:
For thirteen days prior to the Cataclysm the gods sent warnings to the fanatical Kingpriest and his followers, all of which went unheeded. The warnings, in order.


  • The true clerics left the land to the realm of the gods beyond. This night became known as the Night of Doom.
  • The Durro Jolithas, the Tower of the Temple of the Kingpriest dedicated to Kiri-Jolith, was destroyed by a whirlwind.
  • Dark fog spreads and settles in Balifor and Hylo, the kender realms, breaking their spirits.
  • In a full night eclipse, Nuitari hides both Solinari and Lunitari.
  • The dwarves of Thorbardin were hunted by an ancient beast of darkness.
  • In Solamnia, no fires would burn.
  • In Abanasinia, fires spread uncontrollably, destroying everything.
  • In Dargaard Keep, Lord Soth raised his arms against the Knights of Solamnia.
  • Palanthas was covered in mist. The weather was oppressively hot and the seas were unsettlingly still. The mist was so thick the scribes in the Great Library stopped working.
  • In the elven kingdom of Silvanesti, trees wept blood.
  • The forest animals near Qualinesti suddenly turned savage.
  • In northern towns like Pesaro and Tucuri, the fish disappeared, and the water turned red.
  • In the Khalkist Mountains, dormant volcanoes became active again.
The warnings had been prophesied by the First Son Revando before taking his own life. Emissary Quarath, though knowing about the warnings, did not tell the Kingpriest their true meanings.

The Petition

The Kingpriest misunderstood the warnings, utterly convinced of his own infallible truth. He believed those were the last efforts of the evil gods, and only hardened his resolution.
He regarded Paladine as too weak to completely destroy evil, but with the Kingpriest as his right arm, evil could be defeated. The Kingpriest called for the genocidal destruction of the Ogre races, and the relocation of the Dwarves and Kender. For his arrogance, the gods punished the city of Istar.

Consequences

Soon after the Kingpriest made his demand, a "fiery mountain" struck Istar. The city and all the land around it driven deep into the ground, and the sea roared in to fill the gap. Thick, red soil was churned up by the water, giving it a reddish tint. This new body of water became known as the Blood Sea of Istar. Where the Temple of the Kingpriest once stood, there was a perpetual, massive whirlpool that kept the red soil churned up, leaving the Blood Sea permanently blood-coloured. On the opposite side of the continent of Ansalon, the Kingdom of Ergoth was broken from the mainland, and split in two. More water flooded inland and created the Newsea. The city of Caergoth, an inland farming city, suddenly found itself on the ocean's doorstep. To the south, the thriving port city of Tarsis found that the sea had retreated, and they were now surrounded by plains as far as the eye could see. The effects of the Cataclysm continue to be felt on Krynn to this day.

Several cities, including Xak Tsaroth, were utterly destroyed.

The Age of Despair - The Fourth Age.


The Age of Despair begins with the Cataclysm. Two time periods form the Age of Despair: The Time of Darkness and The Time of Dragons. The latter being "present day" and the time our heroes embark their adventure.

Time of Darkness

The fallout from the Cataclysm lasts for centuries. Plague and famine wrack the lands. Knights of Solamnia are unjustly persecuted as scapegoats. Lawlessness and banditry run rampant. The Seeker movement begins as people look to new gods. Beleaguered hill dwarves and humans attempt to gain entry to Thorbardin for food and begin the Dwarfgate War. The archmage Fistandantilus destroys both armies as well as the fortress of Zhaman, but disappears. The Dwarven hero Kharas, sickened by the acts of his people, takes the Hammer of Honour and departs Thorbardin. He leaves a prophecy saying that no dwarf will rule Thorbardin without the hammer, which becomes known as the Hammer of Kharas.

Plenty there!

As you can see, it's very rich is terms of creation, gods and war. Something you can really sink your teeth into and something I think every GM and player a like should pay attention to. Whether you're role playing in the world of Krynn or any other world within the D&D universe. It's certainly added an extra dimension of understanding and flavour of the lore and story we're following. It'll certainly make more sense once I have updated you on our second installment.

With the ball well and truely rolling on the blog and the campaign, I have plenty of ideas in which to keep you guys entertained. Following this blog, I have plans for the aforementioned second installment, proper introductions to our heroes and NPC (non-player characters) and even a entry dedicated to the ever important dice!

Stay tuned guys and keep on rollin'!