Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gary's Greyhawk Campaign: Session 4

Session 4
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Party
Adamond Bigtoe (CN male Velunan halfling 1st level thief)
Elyas (LE male Aerdy human 1st level assassin)
Friar Pudge (NG male Velunan human 1st level cleric of Pelor)
Kor the Woodsman (LG male Highfolk human 1st level fighter)
Mort de Magus (CN male Velunan human 1st level magic-user)
Orid (NG male Highfolk high elf 1st level magic-user)
Tarnish (CN male Geoffite human 1st level fighter)
Twidorek (CG male Welkwood gnome 1st level thief)

Starday, 22nd of Harvester, 579 CY: Early Morning at the Moathouse

Adamond opens the door of the tower and goes in, watching the floor for pits and debris he might fall into or trip over. Tarnish, behind him, spies a stair leading up to the ruined second floor and goes to investigate it. Friar Pudge, mace in one hand and munching on a hunk of sausage in the other, steps through the door.

It is then that Adamond hears a clattering above, looks up, and sees two huge spiders standing upside-down amidst the rafters upon the ruined ceiling.

One leaps down upon him and Adamond tries to impale it with his short sword or strike it with his lit torch, but fails. The other falls upon Friar Pudge and bites him, but fails to inject its venom, which spatters and sizzles upon Pudge’s armor.

Alerted by the cries of alarm, Kor, standing just outside the door with bow in hand, looses an arrow at the spider scrabbling upon Friar Pudge, misses, and strikes a chink in Pudge’s armor (under the right arm, which the friar was raising to strike at the spider with his mace). The arrow sinks into the cleric up to the feathers, and the good friar falls to the ground with a moan, blood dribbling from his lips.

[I told Kor’s player if he fumbled he was sure to hit the friar. Of course, he rolled a natural 1 to hit the spider. It told him to roll another attack against the friar with a massive bonus to hit. It wasn’t needed, as he then rolled a natural 20. I use the critical hit tables (though not the rest of the system) from the “Good hits & bad misses” article from Dragon #39 (Jul 80). Kor’s player rolled an 83 on the missile and thrusting weapon table, which equals “Struck in chest, death in 1-4 days.” I determined that Pudge would die in 2 days and 10 hours without the services of a chirurgeon or the application of a cure serious wounds spell. What happened next to Kor was considered karmic by the rest of the party…]

A magic missile strikes the spider attacking Adamond, almost as another missile strikes the spider atop the recumbent form of Friar Pudge. Tarnish jumps down from the stairs and slices clean through the spider attacking Adamond, spattering Adamond with greenish goo. Twidorek and Elyas, outside the tower and blocked by the missile-slinging magic-users, cannot even get in the battle.

Adamond then attacks the remaining spider, to no avail. Angered by the death of its mate, the spider continues its attack, leaping into Kor’s face and biting him upon the neck, injecting copious amounts of venom. Kor falls to the ground. A final magical missile strikes the spider, which then collapses in a heap upon Kor’s stiffening body.

Adamond and Mort immediately check out the bodies of their fallen friends. Adamond has seen enough wounds to determine that the arrow has punctured the friar’s lungs, and probably dealt other internal injuries. Deciding that pulling it out is probably safer than traveling with it in, he pulls it out (and reduces the friar’s remaining life by 24 hours in the process). Mort rigs up a stretcher for the cleric, while Twidorek hustles back and forth, though whether in excitement or worry is unknown. Elyas simply stands aside and considers that a six-way split might not be bad, while Tarnish checks out the stairs above. At the top amidst the ruin he finds a space cleared, therein several long-desiccated bodies fallen to bones, many coins strewn about from ruined purses and pouches, and a largish egg sack with dozens of large spider eggs. He cries out “Die spiders, die!” as he smashes the eggs with his axe. When Twidorek hears this, he runs out of the tower in fear. Tarnish then carefully picked up the scattered coins, remembering to count them as “party treasure” in his slow mind.

In the end the party carried Friar Pudge back on the stretcher, while small but strong Tarnish carried Kor upon his shoulder (the party figured he would be lucky if he survived the journey, anyway, let alone had a chance at being healed).

As they entered Hommlet, they went straightaway to the druid’s grove, which they knew only by hearsay. They arrive at high noon, which they take as a hopeful sign for Pudge’s recovery. There they met Jaroo Ashstaff, a no-nonsense sort of fellow, whose legendary exploits during the Battle of Emridy Meadows earned him no respect from the more foolish members of the party.

Accounting Adamond’s lack of respect and mouthy speech to his worry over his fallen friends, and the lack of a quick and generous offering to the same, Jaroo nonetheless checked the fallen friar and woodsman. The friar’s grave wounds he healed with a cure serious wounds spell, noting as he did so that the “Cleric of Pelor would hardly fail to properly recompense the servant of his own master’s mother for such services.” As the wound stitched itself together, faded to a pinkish scar, and the cleric’s color returned to his face, the druid turned to Kor. “This one is nearly gone; the venom sped throughout his body. And unlike the priest, I have no guarantee of the proper fulfillment of the law of equipoise.”

Many members of the party then assured the druid that Kor would fulfill whatever needed duties and requests the druid would have of him, as he was a most honorable and noble soul. [True, as he is Lawful Good.] Druid casts neutralize poison. Places an invisible mark upon Kor’s brow. Has two assistants and a black bear carry Pudge into home to be cared and tended to for a week.

Kor’s debt (neutralize poison) = 1,000 gp value
Pudge’s debt (cure serious wounds) = 350 gp value
(Not final, as for a druid, neutralize poison is only 3rd level while csw is 4th level… and oddly, both are 4th level for a cleric, with no material costs, so the cost differential is odd anyway)

Down Time: 22nd Harvester to 1st Brewfest

Each of the seven pays 5 gp to get the Noble Room at the Wench for a week.

Adamond: One week self-training; gains +1% to Find/Remove Traps.
Elyas: One week self-training. Gains 5% move silently, 3% hide in shadows.
Friar Pudge: Recovering at the druid’s. Kept on died of vegetables and venison broth. Though he loses 10 pounds he is still way overweight.
Kor: Practices with bow. Not so successful.
Mort: Tries to learn write from Orid’s spell book; succeeds!
Orid: Tries to learn detect magic from Mort’s spell book; fails!
Tarnish: One week self-training. No specific gain.
Twidorek: One week self-training; gains +1% to Pick Pockets.

Starday, 1st of Brewfest, 579 CY: Luncheon at the Wench

Pudge re-joins party at the Wench during lunch; when he smells the food, his belly gives off such a grumble that some local wag warns of a dragon attacking!

Serving wenches are very happy to see Pudge is back; lunch is on the house for the friar.

Tarnish goes to speak with lone fighter; Twidorek follows. Fighter is Zert. Says he has wanted to explore the Moathouse. He is willing to join party for a full share; Tarnish gives him the coins he found “as a down-payment,” but says he will need to speak with Mort about details. Twidorek makes a nuisance of himself.

Mort goes to speak with Spugnoir, who has been pointedly avoiding them and casting the party evil glances over the last week. Mort tries to mend fences, Spug is not interested, and things get even murkier between them. Then Tarnish shows up, says he ahs a fighter to join the party.

Mort goes and speaks with Zert, determines that a “full share” is actually an “equal share,” so is okay with the fighter joining the party. Tarnish is happy.

Mort decides that the party will leave for the Moathouse immediately the moment Pudge is done with his meal. Tarnish is unhappy, as he wanted to spend ALL of Brewfest in the village drinking (he’s already well into his cups). The cleric belches his assent and completion of his repast. The party makes ready on the porch, then notices through the mist and drizzle that has been around since sunrise that a massive thunderstorm is coming in from the east. Decide to put off the journey until the morning when the weather has cleared. Tarnish is happy again!

Friar Pudge pays for and then retires to the room and takes the great featherbed for himself.

Tarnish and Zert engage in a drinking contest; Tarnish passes out after four large beers (well, in the contest; he’d been drinking since breakfast). The last thing he sees before he passes out is the laughing form of Zert standing above him…

Mort and Orid go to the traders’ establishment and haggle and deal with Rannos over getting some alchemical gear shipped in from Verbobonc. They discuss the herb situation (and possible anti-venoms) with the less pleasant partner, Gremag. The only thing he has for poisons, he says, is a special tea from Ekbir, very costly, not necessarily efficacious every time, for a mere 10 royals (gp) per dose.

Disliking Gremag intensely, as much for his personality as for his avarice and unwillingness to haggle, they then speak further with Rannos about other materials and tools.

Just before the thunderstorm strikes, most of the festival-goers crowd into the Wench, including the band, and the place ends up standing-room-only.

Twidorek spies a wealthy merchant speaking with the wealthier crowd of locals; decides to keep an eye on him, wait till he is drunk, and then pick his pocket. He is shocked to discover that not only does the merchant only nurse his drink, he also, when the opportunity permits, picks the pocket of his fellow reveler! A thief indeed and no merchant! Twidorek continues to watch the sneak-thief all night, unaware that he AND the merchant/thief are both being watched by Adamond.

Elyas and Kor retire to the room early.

When Mort and Orid return to the crowded Wench they wish there was another inn for them to go to, for the din is great and the crowd boisterous. With them is Rannos Davl, with whom they discuss their plans (staying on in Hommlet, perhaps taking on students or even opening a school, working with Rannos on investments, gaining gold and glory by clearing out the Moathouse of monsters and treasure, and so forth). Rannos is very eager to hear all they have to say. He mentions that it is odd that the party, now in the village for more than a fortnight, have never been approached by Burne and Rufus; he surmises that they were busy with arrangements for the festival. Surely it could not be some sort of social snub?

Tarnish is nowhere to be seen, nor are the wee ones visible amidst the crowd.

In time Twidorek gives up on the merchant/thief and discovers a clutch of local rock gnomes in the corner; he joins them and regales them with tales of his adventures. Adamond continues to tail the merchant/thief through the crowd, but does not see whether he strikes again. Mort and Orid continue to ply Rannos with his favorite wine, Urnst White.

Twidorek retires for the night. Shortly thereafter, the merchant/thief stumbles upstairs, followed by an (apparently) very tipsy halfling. The merchant/thief notes that Twidorek goes into the Noble Room (#2). The merchant/thief, followed and watched by Adamond, goes into the room next door (#4). As Adamond passes by he notes an eye watching him through the keyhole; keeping his wits he does not acknowledge it, but pretends to trip and nearly fall flat on his face. A muffled chuckle follows him from the door. He then goes into the Noble Room.

It is now well past last call; locals have gone home in the storm, guest have gone to their rooms, and a lone wench waits for Mort, Orid, and Rannos to finish their last draughts. They do so, and Rannos stumbles off to home.

Mort feels that they have made good progress networking with a very important member of the local community. Orid is unsure; he feels that Rannos was holding something back, and not telling the full truth. The two of them discuss the situation as they trundle off to bed. They come to the conclusion that perhaps Rannos is an agent of Rufus and Burne, or even perhaps of the Viscount himself!

When they arrive at the room they notice two things: first, their fine feather bed now houses the snoring form of the friar. Second, Tarnish is still, as yet, nowhere to be seen…

And thus ended the session.

Gary's Greyhawk Campaign: Session 3

Session 3
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Party
Adamond Bigtoe (CN male Velunan halfling 1st level thief)
Elyas (LE male Aerdy human 1st level assassin)
Friar Pudge (NG male Velunan human 1st level cleric of Pelor)
Kor the Woodsman (LG male Highfolk human 1st level fighter)
Mort de Magus (CN male Velunan human 1st level magic-user)
Orid (NG male Highfolk high elf 1st level magic-user)
Tarnish (CN male Geoffite human 1st level fighter)
Twidorek (CG male Welkwood gnome 1st level thief)

Freeday, 21st of Harvester, 579 CY: Return to Hommlet

Party returns in late afternoon.

Party goes to trader; there they deal with Rannos Davl, who appears to be slow, fat, clumsy, and placid, and also an easy touch when haggling.

Tarnish sells the jeweled dagger to the trader for 80 pp

Sells bear-skin rug to trader for 50 gp

Sells suit of scale mail to trader for 30 gp

Mort and Tarnish get into heated discussion over the disposition of the 80 pp; Tarnish thought it and all proceeds thereof were his own, not group treasure. Unhappy with the discussion, Tarnish simply drops the 70 pp on the ground for the others to pick up.

Elyas buys a fine black velvet cloak (with light red stains). Kor and Elyas buy saddle, saddle bags, and tack for their horses (they were presumably riding bareback?)

Adamond, gnome, and two others go to leather worker (#6) to try to sell chameleon skin. Says to come back tomorrow morning and he will evaluate the skin.

Friar Pudge eats a huge amount of food. Others buy profusely as well. Much money flows, and the wenches are well tipped by party members.

Party secures Noble Room (#7-U2) and Small Room (#7-U7) at the Inn of the Welcome Wench. Ostensibly spends much coin.

Adamond sets up empty chest in the Small Room and loudly proclaims that it is filled with treasure. He also discovers a small secret panel in ceiling of Noble Room, leading to the attic.

Mort and Orid meet Spugnoir sess Krusskett, an arrogant Keoish magic-user, and turn down his offer of help in the Moathouse in return for all scrolls found.

Twidorek meets four hillmen who say they have a job collecting heads. They offer to introduce the gnome and the party to their patron, but the whole thing is definitively spoiled when they meet the magic-users, whom they fear and loathe.

Otherwise, of the peoples there, they determine only one other is an adventuring type, a warrior-type who sits at a small table alone.

All sleep in the Noble Room, the Small Room left unlocked and unguarded. The night passes uneventfully.

Starday, 22nd of Harvester, 579 CY: Awaken in Hommlet

During breakfast (served in-room at the Wench) Adamond checks the Small Room and finds it was undisturbed. Confusion reigns as to the location of the chameleon skin, and Kor and Elyas nearly get in a fight (as Elyas bet Kor five gold royals the chest would be stolen) until Adamond tells everyone he hid it in the couch in the Noble Room.

They take the skin to the leatherworker. He cannot evaluate it; there is no market in the village for such ostentatious items. He tells them they might be able to sell it for good coin in a town or city, such as Verbobonc or Dyvers. Adamond decides to have the leatherworker make it into a big wide-brimmed pimp hat, with the remaining pieces as payment for the labor and the large feather he desires. The leatherworker tells him it will take several days.

Kor and Elyas hire the stable boy for the day to watch after their horses while they are in the Moathouse.

The party sets off to the Moathouse.

They arrive, and decide to check out the tower by the drawbridge, the only area on the ground floor they have not checked and cleared.

They enter the tower, Adamond in the lead…

And thus ended the session.

(Sorry for the crappy notes this session; this was from memory, a couple days later).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Inspiration: Centralia, PA

The sad story of the mine fire under Centralia, Pennsylvania sounds like fine fodder for setting up an adventure. Fire-filled dungeons underneath a town in ruins? Oh hells yes.

I'll probably work it up for my current Greyhawk campaign then adapt it to the Wilderlands. Double-dip on my own work? You betchya!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Decatur: There and Back Again

It was my birthday.

But rather than celebrating my 39th with the love of my life as we had planned, I was driving down to central Illinois to honor the life of one of my best friends. Robert E. "Bob" Bledsaw, founder of Judges Guild, the creator of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, the game-industry hero of my youth and friend and business partner of my early adulthood, had passed away on Saturday, and so on Tuesday, April 22, instead of opening presents and eating ice cream cake, I was driving down to Champaign/Urbana.

Still, there was nowhere else I’d rather have been.

Bob had been the best of friends, and the least I could do was be there to honor him at the last. So early Tuesday I drove down from the wilds of Waupaca County to Madison, where Google Maps proved its utter FAILability and got me lost trying to find the home of my friend, Shane Glodoski (a.k.a. Plaag, the keeper of the Judges Guild sub-web at The Acaeum). After driving around in circles for a while I finally called him and got real directions. Together we then drove down to Champaign-Urbana, where we were to stay the night. The plan was to meet up with fellow Guild-Friends John Barnes and Jeff Rients for a memorial dinner and game.

John called us from Champaign-Urbana while we were still several hours away; with the intermittent reception we were able to determine that he was in town early and checking out the hotels. We told him we’d call him again to make final arrangements of where to meet when we were about a half-hour out of town.

Of course, Shane and I were jibber-jabbering incessantly about Bob, Judges Guild, the adventure games industry, and everything related, and failed to notice when we were getting close to Champaign-Urbana. Then another call came and that’s when I noticed a sign stating that we were only 16 miles out. D’oh! Poor John probably thought we’d forgotten about him, but in truth (as he found out later) there’s something about my car that makes people just talk on and on and on…

So eventually after the long drive (that seemed much shorter thanks to yakking away) we met with John at the hotel, checked in, and called Jeff to arrange where to meet for dinner. We decided on a Cracker Barrel one exit down the highway, and so set off to meet him.

And of course, we got lost. Now with three, the jibber-jabber effect was magnified, and we totally missed the frontage road and the Cracker Barrel sign set off slightly there from. So we drive south, halfway into Champaign-Urbana before deciding we missed it, then turned around and went the same distance north of the highway, missing it again. We all concentrated on finding it on the return trip south, and so 15 minutes after first turning off the exit ramp, we find the restaurant… 100 yards away from the exit ramp.

If it had been a dragon, it would have killed us and eaten us before we knew what hit us. And people complain about surprise segments… sheesh.

So we finally get to the Cracker Barrel and order drinks while waiting for Jeff. The strawberry lemonade there was fantastic; I think I drank a whole California county’s worth of strawberries while there. Jeff arrived with his daughter, and soon thereafter his lovely wife joined us, and we ordered.

I’m not certain how the butter-fried chicken tasted, as I was still possessed by the spirit of the car, and got to jawing on about this, that, and the other (ranging from Bob and Judges Guild to the OGL/GSL situation, to the future or lack thereof of D&D 4E, and everything in between). By the time we pushed back from the table, the chicken was long cold and untouched, though many a lemonade made a valiant sacrifice for that repast.

We then followed Jeff to his apartment where we played one of the best OD&D game sessions I’ve ever had the honor of participating in (surpassed only by the venture into the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk at the table of Gary himself). Jeff has a fine run-down of the session on his blog, including the introduction to the adventure, here: http://jrients.blogspot.com/

It was past midnight when we completed the quest to recover the Silver Volume, and so with much regret we left Jeff’s fine game table and even finer game mastery to retire for the night. Wouldn’t do to drive all this way and miss the services!

The next morning, bright and bleary (some more bleary than others; poor Shane bore the full brunt of my notorious snoring, while John seemed to be blissfully immune to it somehow), we set off for Decatur, and got to the church a full hour before the services were to begin. There we first met Debi (Bledsaw) Summerlott, Bob’s sister, and then Bob Junior arrived with his family. I spoke briefly with Bob Junior as he, of course, had to greet incoming mourners. It was a truly bittersweet moment; we had talked extensively over the phone during his father’s illness, but this was the first time we truly met face-to-face (other than a brief “hello” in passing at Gen Con many years ago).

The church slowly filled up; it was a good showing, though I think perhaps the three of us were the only Guild-fans to show up (there were a few others in the back that might have been, but I never got a chance to speak with them).

The ceremony was lovely, traditional Nazarene I suppose, with several hymns and two songs by live singers (one a very talented young girl who knew Bob and his father, the other I believe was Bob’s daughter-in-law). The only hiccup during the service was that the pastor thought Bob was involved in computer games; he apparently mistook Bob’s love of playing online games for his career of publishing tabletop games (an honest mistake that most of my family makes of my own career to this day). At the end everyone filed past the family in the front pew and offered condolences.

We then all got into our cars to drive to the cemetery for the gravesite service. Bill Owen, Bob's original partner in founding Judges Guild and the Llangwellen the Blue, joined Shane, John, and I in our car (we were fourth in line, IIRC). On the way we discussed Bill and Bob’s work and friendship together.

At the gravesite the officiate chanted a hymn (reminded me of an old Anglo-Saxon dirge), and then played a song on a boom box while releasing white doves. Interestingly, after the doves flew off together over the crowd, one made off on its own path… how very true to form.

After the gravesite service, Bill again joined us on the return trip to the church. On the way we stopped by one of the old Judges Guild offices, now home to a YWCA annex. I took a few pictures, which will be posted on the AGP site and likely Acaeum JG Sub-Web soon.

The luncheon was very nice. We sat with Bill and Sam, Bob Junior’s middle son. Sam informed us that he was planning to study art when he goes to college next year; Sonny (Bob III, Bob Junior’s oldest boy) is about to finish his engineering studies (following in Bob’s footsteps), and Martin, the second-oldest, is studying computers. Sounds like the Bledsaw clan will soon be able to put together a game company on their own!

The luncheon wound down, and it was time to be moving on. I spoke again briefly with Bob Junior (whom I am going to have to get used to referring as “Bob” now, I suppose), and handed to him several special pre-production copies of the Rhadamanthia Continental Map (about 98% complete, and based on Bob’s maps and notes that he sent me several years ago). I had several copies made up for Bob’s sons and for Bill; unfortunately, Bob himself never got to see the map, as I sent it on via e-mail only the night before he passed away.

It was during the drive to the gravesite that Bill mentioned how unfortunate it was that we would never get to see the expansion of the Wilderlands that he had spoken of with Bob during the last several months. He was pleasantly surprised when I handed him his copy of the map on returning to the church after the gravesite service. Bob Junior, too, was very pleasantly surprised, as was Marc Summerlott, former Judges Guild employee and Bob’s brother-in-law, who saw the map as I was passing it to Bob. I felt it a great honor to hand to Bob’s sons and friends a physical representation of the world he had created.

Bob (Junior) and family then left, and we were, as the first to arrive, almost the last to leave (reluctantly). As she was the first we met when we arrived, so Debi and her husband Marc were the last we saw when we left. We spoke with Marc a bit and, I am sure, found a fast and firm friend who would look out for Bob’s legacy as strongly as we.

Shane and I in my car, and John in his, we then went to Bob’s house on Walnut Grove; we planned to take a picture, but a family already lives there, so thought discretion were better.

We then went to the Sunnyside Road location, the last and greatest Judges Guild office, the “old schoolhouse,” today… a church! As there was only a groundskeeper there mowing the lawn in back, we quickly took some pictures while marveling at how big the offices were for the day (at the time, almost as big as TSR before the move to Sheridan Springs Road). At that point, close to the highway, Shane and I parted ways with John, who drove off to his home in Ohio. As we left we paid our last farewells to Decatur, and to Our Guildmaster.

The drive back to Madison was quiet and uneventful. Shane finally got some long-delayed sleep. Good time was made. After dropping Shane off in Madison the last, lonely leg of the journey seemed the longest, though of course it was in fact the shortest.

When I arrived in Stevens Point I stopped to tank up, and noticed my rear driver’s side tire was almost flat; as the drive down had been fine, and the drive up to Madison okay, I figure I picked up a nail somewhere north of Madison. I pumped up the tire in the dark, then drove the last few miles home, hoping to avoid a blowout or flat. Luck was with me and I made my saving throw vs. Flat Tire, and got home in the early hours of night.

The love of my life was there, ready with gifts to celebrate the delayed birthday. I was home.

The Future
One of the things discussed by Shane and John and I during the trip was the future of Judges Guild and, more specifically, the future of Adventure Games Publishing. At this time, all things are continuing as they had under Bob; Bob Junior and his brothers are determined that their father’s legacy will live on. Necromancer Games will continue on with Tegel Manor for 4E; AGP will continue on with the Wilderlands of High Adventure for Castles & Crusades and the Wilderlands of High Fantasy for OGL d20 ver3.5. No changes are planned at this time. And there are still plenty of firm friends among the old Judges Guild crew. Once the family has had time to mourn, only then will business be discussed. Whatever happens, the Wilderlands, and Bob’s legacy, will live on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gary's Greyhawk Campaign: Session 2

Session 2
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Party
Adamond Bigtoe (CN male Velunan halfling 1st level thief)
Elyas (LE male Aerdy human 1st level assassin)
Friar Pudge (NG male Velunan human 1st level cleric of Pelor)
Kor the Woodsman (LG male Highfolk human 1st level fighter)
Mort de Magus (CN male Velunan human 1st level magic-user)
Orid (NG male Highfolk high elf 1st level magic-user)
Tarnish (CN male Geoffite human 1st level fighter)
Twidorek (CG male Welkwood gnome 1st level thief)

Freeday, 21st of Harvester, 579 CY: Return to the Moathouse
Reinforced with several new friends, the party returns the next day to the ruined Moathouse. From their vantage point upon the trail, the Moathouse looks the same as they left it.

Unfortunately, as they approach the drawbridge, they discover that not all things were as they left them. For six giant frogs leap forth from the morass and muck next to the trail and immediately attack! Though hard-pressed, the party deals heavy damage to their attackers (especially as both magic-users rolled magic missile for their offensive spell), slaying three before the other three frogs flee the field.

Mort de Magus, whose arcane knowledge includes the enlarge spell, successfully harvests the pituitary glands of two of the dead giant frogs to experiment with them to see if the glands of the magical mutants might provide some additional energies to the spell. The rest of the frogs are put to good use, as a fire is lit and the party feasts on giant frog legs.

Thereafter, the thieves scout out the bailey of the Moathouse, and find it as empty as it was yesterday. The party then proceeds into the Moathouse, and the thieves again check the door to the Black Chamber. They neither see nor hear any sign of the bandits through the door or keyhole, and when the door is opened, they find the bandits have absconded (merely within the last hour, as they saw the party coming and felt it would be too close a battle for their tastes). The party noted that there had been some sort of treasure chest buried in the rubble of the southeast corner of the room.

From there, figuring the bandits were probably the only intelligent dangerous creatures in the ruin (at least on this floor; I forgot to note that in the first session, the party overheard the bandits speaking with one another after the battle with the snake, and the leader told one of the bandits to “go downstairs and report their losses to the boss, but be careful of those damn gnolls and the green slime,” so the party knows that there is *something* and *someone* down below).

They check first the snake’s lair in the south wing, and Tarnish finds the jeweled dagger. They then waste time searching through the empty bed chamber, but have some luck in the ruined conference room, where not only do they find the head of the slain giant snake amidst the rubble, but also find a fine broadsword hidden behind a shelf. They then check out the salon across the hall, and disturb there a swarm of bats. Everything in the room is covered inches-deep in guano, which Mort de Magus scoops into a large pouch, mindful of its uses in spellcasting. He is the only one who braves the nasty mess in the room and for his troubles finds a silver mirror atop a ruined dresser.

The party then checks out the west wing, first double-checking the kitchen to make sure nothing has changed. They check out the room opposite, and intensely investigate everything there except for the torch stub sitting in the wall cresset (pointedly mentioned to them three times no less). When they search the trophy room next door, Friar Pudge is pushed to righteous indignation when they discover human and elven heads mounted as trophies upon the wall. He takes them down and burns them, using the cleansing fires of Pelor to free the troubled souls (nice bit of role-playing there). Otherwise the only item possibly of worth is a bearskin, which they take with.

They break down the double doors at the end of the western hall, and find beyond a partially collapsed chamber. There they notice the roof is rather rickety, and also spy a large chest in the southeastern corner of the room. They completely fail to notice the giant lizard in the rubble in the southwestern corner of the room, and are attacked as they go to check the chest. A short battle ensues, but the giant chameleon (for such it must have been, that they did not see it) was vanquished in the end. Friar Pudge soothed several wounds with his healing magic, and the party rejoiced at the treasure discovered in the chest—a light crossbow, 24 bolts, a scale mail suit, a dagger, and 33 pennies. Mort de Magus uses this opportunity to see if any of the treasure is magical, and finds that the dagger from the chest is indeed enchanted (a dagger +1). The party also decides to skin the giant chameleon, hoping to find a buyer for the unusual skin.

All decide that enough has been done for the day, and a return to Hommlet before nightfall is in order.

Gary's Greyhawk Campaign: Session 1, Part 2

Here's the quick and the dirty; I've unfortunately no time to write more of my ham-fisted gamefic, let alone worthy prose...

We've had two sessions since, also shortly to be listed here. The campaign is going well so far.

Session 1, Part 2

They investigate first the Great Hall, finding nothing there, the halfling thief carefully checks the door to the Black Chamber, and through the keyhole spies upon the bandits. Just then they hear some footsteps from the main stairs.

Finding discretion to be the better part of valor, they ducked down the western hallway and through a door, into the old kitchen. From there they hear two additional bandits joining with the bandits in the Black Chamber; apparently the bandits had spied the party from the main gate, and mistook the party for the reinforcements, for one of the bandits asks after the “smaller fellow” that he thought he saw… and that is the last the party hears of them, as they all go into the Black Chamber and out of hearing range.

In the old kitchen Friar Pudge seeks food to no avail. Kor checks the inviting cask, and a battle ensues between the party and the giant tick that laired therein, the tick being sliced in twain and the party victorious.

Adamond then goes and scouts out the Great Hall, to see if the brigands heard anything; they did not, fortunately, and are all still in the Black Chamber. Adamond then decides to scout down the south hallway, all the way to the open chamber at the end. There he disturbs a giant snake, and runs from it, screaming all the way to the Great Hall with it in pursuit, then silently running to the kitchen. The bandits pour out of the Black Chamber just as the maddened snake arrives, and chaos ensues. At least one of the bandits dies in the fracas, as one bandit is heard to cry out amidst the screams, “Fritz! Damn you serpent, you killed my brother! You killed Fritz!”

After the sounds of combat cease and all the bandits are heard to leave the Great Hall, the party retreats from the Moathouse, deciding to seek reinforcements themselves to further explore the ruins…