Wednesday, 1 July 2020

The Almost Thief

For Session 10 of my Swords & Wizardry online game using Roll 20, I ran another of the Creation's Edge games adventures. This time I ran as written with no adjustments. Mainly, because one of the players did not show and the next adventure used his character as a hook. So I had this other adventure-ready as a back-up.

It is written as a short adventure designed to be handled in a single session. My players cut out early once they had the goal of the quest completed and were done the adventure in under 2 hours. So I can recommend this adventure for a single session or filler in a longer session.

Session 10: The Almost Thief
Players: Lakima (Magic-user), Eathwund (Fighter), Billy (Thief), Daen (Dwarf Fighter NPC).

The adventurers arrive with their cart full of dead kobolds before the East gate of Edgerton. The Watch Commander of the gate informs that they cannot bring a cart full of dead kobolds into the town. He listens to their arguments and agrees to sign a deposition stating to the contents as long as they get rid of the bodies before entering the town.

Once inside the town, Marta stops at the Church of St. Cuthbert telling them he will meet up with them later. The rest of the group head directly to the Inn of the Dancing Dragon and settle in for the night after a quick meal. The next day they spend some time to divide up the loot from the last few ventures. The gear that no one wants they plan to sell. They head over to Clearwin's Oddities and manage to sell one of the Continual Flame torches (the green one) they found in the last adventure. Billy tries stealing a grappling hook but is noticed and is forced to put it back. The next stop is the Merchant Adventurers Guildhall. They meet with the Guildmaster this time and receive the 3,000 gold reward for ending the Kobold threat.

Flush with gold the adventurers look for someplace to spend it. They settle on the most expensive Tavern in town. The Shining Sword. They manage to get past the dubious guard on the door. Inside Daen tells the waitress to give them one of everything. The food arrives and they demand ales for everyone at the table. The waitress comes back with the Tavern owner who politely asks for a deposit. They are getting looks from several rich merchants who are eating meals in the room. They put down the full cost of the meal and more and the attitude changes. Now they have two servers attentive to their every want. This goes on well into the afternoon. Eventually, they get bored and look for another place to drink.

Lakima suggests they try near the Southgate. Right at the gate, they find a promising Inn, The Bard’s Trousers. This Tavern is pretty lively and completely full. But for a silver coin, the waitress empties a table for them - chasing off some drunks. After a few rounds of ale, they are approached by a nervous young woman. She introduces herself as Rosa Raventhal, she has heard of their group (although she got the name wrong) and really needs their help.

Invited to sit she asks that they meet her outside - in a dark alley. They agree and follow her outside on alert. In the alley, she introduces them to her boyfriend Zane who is a ghost.

Zane cannot speak so Rosa explains that Zane wanted to get Rosa her grandmother’s silver ring back as a betrothal gift. Zane had been training to be a thief for more than a year without much success. Rosa feels that he must have tried to retrieve the ring anyway. The ring was taken from her grandmother unfairly by some trick, she does not go into detail. The ring was taken by Marian Evendal. When Marion died several years ago, it was buried with her in the Evendal Crypt. Rosa thinks that Zane will stop haunting her if they retrieve the ring. She offers them 100 gold she has saved. Lakima tells her that they do not need to be paid for such a simple task. She does tell them that there is bound to be a treasure in the crypt that they can take. After all, no one likes the Evendal’s anyway.

Rosa says goodbye and Zane’s ghost leads Lakima, Eathwund, Daen, and Billy to a graveyard near the Church of St. Aleena. The crypt of the Evendal family is the biggest in the graveyard. The chain locking the doors shut has been broken with a nearby rock. Inside they find stair leading to a pair of stone doors. The doors prove to be unlocked. In the chamber beyond, they find a grate covering a pit. Billy checks and tells them that the grate is a trap designed to swing open and drop people in the pit below. It is not well disguised. Looking down into the pit they see Zane’s bones. They are completely clean of any flesh which is strange if he just died a few days ago.

To the south, they find two bookshelves. At least fifty books are on the shelves. The first book they check has a name on the spine - Hunter Evendal. Several of the books are blank and have a name on the spine. They push open a pair of double doors headed east and enter a large hallway. Corridors head north and south and there is another pair of double doors at the far end. In the center of the chamber is the statue of a man on a pedestal. His hands are outstretched and holding a real book. They avoid the statue and head to the door. The door proves to be locked. Billy tries but is unable to unlock it. He does point out a keyhole in the eye of a skeleton bas-relief on the door.

The Heroes and the ghost examine the Guardian of the Crypt


Heading north they find four chambers blocked by Iron bars. Lakima casts Strength on Daen and tells the dwarf to lift the portcullis. Daen struggles and is unable to do it after a few tries. He is also unable to bend the bars. To the south, they find an identical room. Four more chambers behind bars. Behind the bars, in each chamber, they see an upright sarcophagus with a family name carved into the lid. The names are Alphonsina, Brookes, Caden, Deldodd, Erwin, Farant, Gigin, and Hunter.

They head back to the statue looking for clues. Eventually, Daen reaches up and removes the book. The pages in the book are blank and the spine says, “Guardian of the Crypt”. Eathwund has an idea and goes and gets the book from the earlier library that had Alphonsina on the spine. He places it in the statue’s hands. They immediately hear the portcullis opening to the chamber containing the sarcophagus with the name Alphonsina on the lid. Opening the sarcophagus they are attacked by a zombie holding a silver chalice. Daen and Eathwund quickly dispatch the zombie.

Understanding the trick of opening the sarcophagi, the heroes open them one at a time. In each sarcophagus, they encounter a zombie. Some have weapons or minor treasures. Each is dispatched efficiently. Finally, when opening the sarcophagus of Farant they fight a zombie with a silver key about its neck. They find that the key fits perfectly in the door lock and the doors swing open. Beyond is a chamber with two stairs leading down to the far side of the room. A bas-relief of a procession is carved into the walls. Hallways lead off to the south and north. Before the bas-relief is a marble pedestal with a silver ring upon it. Daen and Billy rush for the ring - Daen getting their first. A horrible smell emanates from a hole near the floor on the west wall. Two oozes come forth and move toward them. The smell from the oozes is that of rotting flesh. Lakima motions everyone to follow him quickly down the stair. The oozes slide down a ramp toward them and Lakima with everyone following - races around the chamber and up the other stair. The oozes slowly try to follow - but Billy closes and locks the door to the chamber behind them.

Then they quickly exit the crypt back out into the cold, evening air. No alarm has been raised and as far as they can tell no one sees them slip out of the cemetery. They follow the ghost to a small cottage. Rapping on the door, Rose answers, and they present her with the silver key. She thanks them and turns to Zane’s ghost. The ghost, smiles, turns to leave and fades from sight.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Sleepless Night

Session 9 of our Swords & Wizardry campaign was a little different. I mashed up two short adventures written for Swords & Wizardry by Creation's Edge GamesThe Restless Knight and Night of the Stirges. Both are short adventures that take place in an Inn. I mixed them together, made a few changes, and I used the Shady Dragon Inn from the old A-series module for D&D.

We also had a new player joining and this proved to be a good adventure for allowing this. I players had already stayed at this Inn once before in the previous session so their guard was down a little.

Session 9

The adventurers arrive at the roadside inn, the Restless Knight, the mule pulling a cart laden with the corpses of dead kobolds they need to collect a reward. The stable boy Ostin runs to get Tevan the Innkeeper. The Innkeeper is disturbed by the cart and tells them to unhitch it behind the stables.

They enter the Inn and speak with Tevan the Innkeeper to get a room for the night. Everyone is anxious to get a good night’s sleep in a clean bed. While they are enjoying their meal they witness a young traveler dirty from the road come in. He speaks with the waitress and asks for water. The young man looks underfed and has some scars on his face. Lakima tries to buy the man an ale but the man declines, happy to drink his water. The man then leaves the Inn and takes a perch on a barrel outside the tavern doors. Apparently too poor to afford a roof over his head.

Lakima watches the room, he sees the staff, he sees crazy old Hoffeg who was here the last time they passed by, and he sees a man who is eating dinner who looks like a caravan guard. He approaches the man and engages him in conversation. The man is a caravan guard returning to Edgerton to get another contract. Lakima asks if he is for hire and the man negotiates a price of 8 gold per day to guard them. The man introduces himself as Marcus Grest and the two shake on the deal.

They see a few more strange occurrences, a robed man enters and confronts Tevan out of earshot. The two have an argument. It ends when Tevan says something and then the robed man says, "at least give me a room for the night". Tevan hands over a key. They also witness Tevan arguing with a Halfling merchant later in the night. His curiosity aroused, Lakima comes over and questions Tevan about the arguments. Tevan tells him it is nothing, the halfling is just a Guild merchant determined to sell him lamp oil, He prefers to stay with his current source.

Lakima and Daen head upstairs to sleep. Marta and Eathwund stay down in the tavern drinking ale.

Well after nightfall, the thief Billy who is dousing on tops of an empty wine barrel, sees a man stagger out of the darkness headed for the inn. Billy does nothing but watches as the man staggers to the doors, throws them open, and steps into the tavern. Inside the tavern, Eathwund and Marta see the man take two faltering steps and then collapse face first. Tevan shrieks and runs into the kitchen. His wife Lotti runs out of the kitchen to see what is happening. Marta and Lotti rush to the man’s side. Lotti begins praying and casting Cure Light Wounds. Marta checks for vitals and tells Lotti it is too late for that. She casts it anyway but the man is dead. There are a half dozen stab wounds in his back. But the wounds are odd. They were done by a conical shaped weapon. Eathwund rolls the body over to search it. As soon as the face is visible, the barmaid Rosalee shrieks and runs into the back rooms. Eathwund searches the body, finding standard travel gear, some weapons, a few coins, and two wanted posters. Wanted alive for 500 gold. One poster looks a lot like Ostin the stable boy.

Marta heads upstairs to get Lakima and Daen. Eathwund helps Tripp (the cook) carry the body out through the kitchen door. They lay the body out in the grass to bury in the morning. By the time Eathwund makes it back to the tavern everyone is assembled except the halfling they saw earlier. Kendra has replaced Rosalee. Lakima asks the barmaid Kendra about Ostin and she says he arrived a few months ago, about a week after Rosalee arrived. Kendra confides to the group that she thinks Ostin and Rosalee knew each other before meeting at the Inn.

Meanwhile, outside Billy snaps awake as his arm grows heavy. He looks down and sees a bloated stirge resting on his arm, its proboscis impaled is his arm and sucking blood. Quietly, he gets up and slams the arm against a post on the side of the building dislodging the creature. But then he sees several more stirges headed toward him out of the darkness. Billy runs into the Inn and lets everyone know that there is a swarm of stirges outside. Daen peers out the Inn windows but reports he cannot see anything. The group leaves the Inn cautiously. Out of the darkness a swarm of stirges attack. Several of the adventurers are hit and some are drained of some blood. Just as they are finishing off the stirges a second-wave arrives. They beat off the second wave and see an even larger swarm of stirges headed their way. They decide they cannot fight off all of the stirges and run back into the Tavern.

Billy is attacked by Stirges


Trapped in the tavern they can hear the thump of stirges against the windows. Daen suggests building a dwarven siege cover out of two tables and making a run for the stables to get out of the area. But then Marcus questions how they will protect the horses? Danigal the mage (the man who argued with Tevan earlier in the night) says that he read that stirges hate sunlight.Lakima suggests putting torches at all of the windows and doors. Tevan is horrified, his Inn is made of wood after all. He proposes using tables and benches to barricade the doors and windows. Lakima becomes suspicious of Tevan and casts Charm Person on him. But it turns out he is telling the truth. Danigal immediately accuses Lakima of casting the spell. He is revealed to be a wizard and they notice now that he only has one hand. They agree to board up the windows and get to work. Lotti becomes very worried about her daughters who are upstairs. She asks for help getting to them. Lakima gets a bag of blood from the cook and tosses it out the front door to distract the stirges while Daen and Lotti run outside and upstairs to the owner's room. Daen tells Lotti to stay in the room until sunrise and barricade the doors. Then Daen runs back downstairs. He is attacked by Stirges but kills one and makes it inside to apparent safety.

The group and the tavern staff and guests decide to make themselves comfortable in the Tavern for the night. After an hour they hear alarming whinnies from the direction of the stables. Tevan shouts, “They are after the horses!”

The adventurers decide they have to head out to check on the horses. Hoffeg, Billy, and their new friend Marcus agree to join them. They head over to the stable killing a few stirges on the way. Inside they find Ostin using a pitchfork to fight off eight stirges. An all-out battle occurs in the stables. Several heroes are hit and drained of some blood. Old man Hoffeg is killed. Once the battle ends, Lakima questions Ostin, while Billy discreetly searches the old man’s body. He comes away with a piece of rope the man used to hold up his pants.

Ostin admits he is the man in the wanted poster, and the woman is Rosalee. They are on the run from Roslee’s elven father. The man must have hired a bounty hunter to find them. He tells them that the horses woke him. The stable door was open and stirges were in the stable so he tried to fight them off.

The heroes decide it is too dangerous to head back to the Tavern so they should stay in the stable. Marcus argues for returning to the stable and Danigal agrees with him. But the heroes tell them they are staying here. Marcus relents, apparently unwilling to try to make it on his own. They set watches. Marcus offers to take the first watch. He says he cannot sleep anyway. Eathwund tells him he will stay up. He wants to keep an eye on Marcus.

In the small bed-chamber attached to the stable, Ostin falls asleep. Billy, who is sleeping in the room, takes his rope and tries to tie up Ostin quietly. But he wakes the man up immediately. Ostin asks, “What do you think you are doing?”
“Just making sure you are comfortable”, Billy replies.
“Just go to sleep!”

Things are quiet at first then Marcus indicates he can hear something. He motions Eathwund to be quiet. Eathwund tries to hear at the door but cannot hear anything. Marcus says he heard a woman scream and then a lot of shouting. He tells Eathwund that he is going to the tavern. Eathwund sighs and wakes everyone. It is decided that everyone, including Ostin will head to the tavern. They make a dash for it and make it before the stirges can attack. In the tavern, they find Lotti and her twin daughters.

Daen is exasperated that Lotti disobeyed his instructions. But Lotti says three stirges got into the room upstairs through the window. She grabbed her kids and ran for it. She had been unable to completely block the window. Marcus says, ”I knew I heard a scream” And then he says he is going to check the doors in the back.

Eathwund says that is a good idea and he goes to check the door and windows in the main tavern. Lakima confronts Rosalee about the wanted posters. She confirms the story that Ostin told them. Lakima tells her that she had better leave the area tomorrow because when he gets to Edgerton he will tell the watch commander about her.

They start to settle down, everyone is present except for the halfling who is presumably upstairs, and Marcus who went to check on doors is present in the tavern. Tripp comes into the tavern from the kitchen, screaming about stirges. Three of the creatures come in after him. Soon they are followed by more stirges.

Lakima, yells at the cook for letting the stirges in through the kitchen. But Tripp says they came from the back hallway. Just then Marcus enters from the kitchen pursued by six stirges. Then they realize that the stirges are not attacking him.
“That’s right,” Marcus says. “I let my friends in the back door.” “Now I can have my revenge, on you Tevan, and you Danigal and finally you Lotti.”

Tevan and Danigal shout together, “Kellis?”
“I was Kellis, but not anymore, you made sure of  that my old friend!” With that Marcus starts to transform. Bat wings sprout from his back, his head elongates into a long proboscis and his hands become claws.

A dozen stirges fly into the tavern. Lotti grabs her daughters and runs for the fireplace with Kendra. Rosalee and Ostin try to protect them. Tripp tries to round the bar but he is attacked and killed by stirges. Tevan and Danigal back away together toward one corner. It is soon clear that the stirges and the creature are concentrating on attacking Tevan and Danigal.  A few attack Danigal but he uses Mirror image to good effect.

Billy races out the Tavern doors and runs for the stables. He is attacked by a pair of stirges but kills them and makes it to the stables safely. In the Tavern there is desperate fighting. The creature grapples Danigal and begins drinking his blood. It ignores Daen, who leaps on it from behind stabbing it with his magic sword. Blood and ichor splatter all over the floor. The creature drops Danigal to the floor, the mage is clearly dead. He struggles to fly toward Tevan but Daen and Eathwund attack. Teven falls under a horde of stirges and dies. The creature cackles in delight and sends the remaining stirges off to attack Lotti and the children. Ostin leaps forward to defend them with his pitchfork. More stirges enter from the kitchen flying right past Lakima ignoring the mage.

Daen and Eathwund with help from Marta finally bring down the creature. After that, the stirges become confused and fly around without purpose. It does not take long for the adventurers to finish them off. Lotti is distraught and rushes to the side of Tevan who is dead. Kendra takes the children to her room and Rosalee helps Lotti upstairs. They lay out the bodies of the creature, who has reverted to the form of the man they saw before, Marcus/Kellis. They place Tevan, Tripp (cook), and Danigal’s bodies on tables. Lakima discreetly searches the body of Danigal but finds only a few coins.

Over in the stables, BIlly looks through all of the saddlebags trying to find something to steal. He finds a secret stash of gold and jewelry in a trunk in Ostin’s room and he takes it.

Back in the tavern, Ostin suggests that he will go over to the stables and get a few pitchforks to clear up the stirge bodies. Lakima suggests that a shovel would work better. So Ostin heads down into the cellar and comes up with a few shovels.

Everyone turns in for the night. Lakima notices that the door to one of the guest rooms is open. He investigates and finds the halfling dead in his bed. There are signs of a struggle and the window is broken. Under a bed he finds, Danigal’s possession. Not much money but there is a spellbook.

Daen, Marta, Lakima, and Eathwund lock themselves into their room. Eathwund takes the first watch. Once everyone else is asleep he hears footsteps on the platform outside the room. He wakes Daen for the second watch and tells him of the intruder. They listen together. It sounds like someone in platemail armor is pacing outside. They know that the only people with platemail at the Inn are here in this room. Daen says, "let's investigate". He is less than enthusiastic. They step outside letting Lakima and Marta sleep.

Out on the platform they see a ghost. The ghost is wearing platemail armor in the style of a Knight of St. John. The ghost seems non-threatening and it beckons them to follow it as it sinks through the floor into the tavern. Eathwund and Daen follow the ghost into the deserted Tavern. Only a few lanterns are lit. The corpses rest undisturbed but it is apparent that Ostin cleaned up the stirge bodies and disposed of them.

The ghost leads them into the kitchen and points at the trapdoor to the cellar. Then it descends through the floor. They open the trapdoor and climb down the ladder into the cellar. The ghost is waiting and pointing at a wall behind some old, rotten crates. The cellar is disused and stinks of mold. Daen and Eathwund get to work moving the crates and then tearing wood off the wall. They find a concealed door behind the wood. The ghost passes through the door. They open the door and find a natural stone chamber. There are a pair of bookshelves with only a few books on them, a chest, and in one corner they see a pentagram painted on the floor. A long-dead demon lies in the pentagram. In another corner is the dead body of the knight. Holding a sword and a shield. Then the body of the knight steps forward and moves to attack. They strike it several times. It lets out a blood-curdling shriek that seems to sap their energy. But they land several blows. As it is weakened the ghost reappears and grapples the corpse. There is a flash of light and the corpse turns to dust the weapons falling to the floor. The Ghost turns and salutes them and then disappears.

Eathwund and Daen face off against the Tsohg


Eathwund and Daen take the books, the sword, and shield and carry the chest upstairs to their rooms. They wake Marta for the third watch and fill him in on what happened. Marta listens calmly and then pushes his bed to barricade the door.

Very early in the morning, Billy sneaks into the inn and searches for something valuable. He robs the corpses of the cook and the innkeeper but finds the wizard has nothing. He searches the kitchen, the pantry, and then the back rooms. He can hear a woman in one room so he checks another. Finding the cook's room empty he searches it and steals some coins.

As morning breaks everyone assembles in the tavern. Kendra cooks a passable breakfast. Lotti angrily yells that her husband’s purse is empty. Daen knowingly looks at Billy and demands he return the money. Billy pleads his innocence. But Daen threatens to shake him upside down and Billy eventually relents, returning a portion of the money. Lotti seems to think everything was returned. Lakima asks Lotti what she plans to do now that her husband is dead. She says this inn was Tevan’s Dream so she will make a go of it. They offer to purchase the inn or become partners but Lotti says she needs to think about it now is not the time. Daen puts Billy to work digging graves outback with Ostin.

Lakima has a talk with Ostin and Rosalee suggesting they take the Halflings pony and leave the area. The two nod agreement. Rosalee apologizes to Lotti and goes back to pack her things. The rest say their goodbyes and saddle their ponies and horses. Billy accepts the offer of a ride in the cart all the way to Edgerton.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Just Kobolds you say?

We played session 8 on the weekend. A long session. I had hoped to give the players a few choices in the next adventure but they have been moving quickly through adventures and only one was completely ready to play. I converted The Transmuter's Last Touch, a D20 system adventure from Goodman Games to Swords & Wizardry. I made a few minor changes to the plot, no major changes. It ran fairly well. The augmented Kobolds gave me a chance to use one of my favorite D&D monsters one more time before they become too low in level.

Session 8: The Catacombs of Soleth
The adventurers leave the Crypt beneath the Church of St. Bethesda with six robbers in custody. They almost immediately come across the Town watch. The watch recognizes some of the robbers so everything goes smoothly. They then return to the Crypts to retrieve the wormwraith's coffin which is a Chest of Preservation. The next day they find a merchant willing to purchase the strange item.

Their companion Raeish decides to leave the group now that he has a sizeable stack in gold. He says his goodbyes and heads home.
The player of the character joined the chat and said he was dropping out. He was not happy with playing a fighter-magic-user Elf. The advancement of multi-classed characters in Swords & Wizardry is very slow.

The remaining heroes split up to do some shopping. Eathwund goes looking for armor and Marta directs him to the shop where he got his armor a week earlier. Eathwund sells his old armor and buys a custom-fitted suit of plate mail. They meet up in the Town square. On the message board is a notice from the Merchant Adventurers Guild offering a reward for a task.

After a brief wait in the Merchant guild offices, they meet with the Secretary of the Merchant’s Guild who tells them of attacks on independent merchants traveling on the wilderness road. Some of the attacks have been less than one day's ride from Edgerton. The few merchants who survived the attack say it was kobolds led by a four-armed creature much bigger than a kobold. The local militia is patrolling the road but has not been able to put a stop to the attacks. The merchants will pay 3,000 gold to any group that can put an end to the problem.



The four adventurers set out the next morning. They have no clear plan other than to head east on the trail and look for signs of an attack. On the first day, they meet a merchant with one wagon guarded by a mercenary. The two men tell them that they come upon the aftermath of an attack a few hours east of the waystation. They mention that the waystation is an inn. They buried two bodies at the site of the attack.

At the end of the day, the heroes make it to the Restless Knight Inn just as the sun has set. They meet the innkeeper Tevan and a few patrons. A tinker they meet mentions that he also came upon the recent attack site. He says it is 2 hours to the east.

The next day they mount up and head east. After a few hours, they come across an overturned cart, some debris, a pair of graves, and they find a trail leading north. They follow the trail for two hours and discover a stone doorway in the side of a  cliff. The door is carved with the disturbing image of a robed man pouring a liquid into the mouth of a corpse. There are bas-relief carvings to either side. They notice that one carving of a robed skeleton has an open mouth. Lakim a pours some water into the mouth and the carving swings back revealing a secret door.

They enter the dark passage. Lakima lights his lantern. Immediately they feel a heavy atmosphere pressing against their heads. The sound seems to be deadened. Lakima asks Daen if this could be a type of rock or natural phenomenon. Daen is doubtful. He believes it is magical in nature.

In the first room, they come to they have to fight six kobolds. There is also an alarm gong in the chamber but they keep the kobolds from ringing it. A sleep spell makes short work of the kobolds. One is awakened and interrogated. They learn that the kobold leader is called Drask the everchanging.

Marta casts Detect traps. He immediately comes across a trap on a stone staircase headed down into a room. They grab a kobold corpse and throw it down the stairs. It triggers the trap causing the stair to become a slide and blades and spikes to spring out of the walls. They decide to head the other direction. They pass a striking bas-relief of a skeletal man. Marta surmises that it is a depiction of Soleth, the God of Peaceful rest. He says a prayer before it and they move on. They come to another stone stair that leads into a chamber where the far end of the chamber is blocked by a 15 tall wall of wooden and metal debris taken from merchants. Kobolds can be heard on the other side.

Lakima comes up with the idea to sound the gong to get the Kobolds to reveal the method of passing through the wall. But with the magical quiet in the catacombs, the banging on the gong is not very loud. Eventually, the constant banging does get the attention of the Kobolds. The kobolds attack and reveal the passage through the debris. They dispatch the kobolds but one gets away. Daen chases it and finds an area lit by the greenish light of a continual flame torch. The kobold is there as well but now its eyes are flaming orbs and smoke pours from its nostrils. It yells at Daen and charges. A gout of flame spouts from its mouth burning Daen who clings to life. Eathwund comes to Daen’s aid and kills the kobold.

Everyone is a little perplexed and shaken by the behavior of the kobold. Marta casts Cure light wounds on Daen. But they pause to remove the magic iron torch. Marta searches the dead body of a mercenary they find slumped against the wall. It was being used as target practice by the kobolds. He finds a potion in a metal flask. He learns later that this is a potion of heroism. After removing the torch from the wall bracket Daen realizes he has been enchanted. His eyes glow red and he can breathe fire! Everyone is mystified as to what is going on.

They pass another shrine of Soleth. This time Marta does not say a blessing and a trap is triggered casting a sleep spell. Daen and Marta fall asleep. Lakima wakes them up and everyone (with the exception of Daen) suddenly gets enchanted with a Haste spell. They are not certain what happened but they suspect a magic trigger on the floor did it. In the area ahead of them they come across three kobolds. In a flurry of attacks, two kobolds fall dead. The third turns and runs into a chamber with a chasm. A rickety rope bridge crosses the chasm. For everyone except Daen the kobold is moving incredibly slowly. Daen struggles to keep up as the other three heroes race ahead killing the kobold on the bridge. They see more kobolds on the other side. The kobolds take turns jumping onto a spot on the chamber floor and soon each is surrounded by mist making them hard to see. The heroes, minus Daen who is still huffing and puffing well behind, fight the three kobolds but struggle to hit them. Finally, Lakima kills two with expert dart shots hitting them in the eyes. As the Haste enchantment finally dissipates Daen finally catches up. They all head back and step on the spot on the floor where they saw the kobolds step. All of them become surrounded by an obscuring mist.

The Rope Bridge over the Chasm


Past the chasm, a stair heads down further and they enter a wide hallway of alcoves. Sarcophagi stand upright in each alcove. The entire area is lit by a flickering bluish light from another of the continual flame iron torches. Lakima casts Detect Magic and finds that the torch is magical, as is the air and stone around them, and several specific areas on the floor. They make note of those areas and avoid them.

The head north, take the second magic iron torch and head-on coming directly into a kobold village. More than a dozen kobold warriors are suiting up preparing for a fight. Apparently alerted somehow. They see tents and kobold females and younglings. The kobold warriors form up into ranks and block the way into the camp. Daen leads the attack leaping into the kobolds. The heroes are still augmented by the mist around them and the kobolds are unable to hit them. In two short flurries of action, ten kobolds are killed and only two remain. Than Lakima calls a halt to the fighting, shouting “Parlay” in common. The kobolds apparently understand and throw down their weapons. They ask to be allowed to leave with the females and young.

Lakima agrees if they tell them where the leader is at. The Kobolds do not apparently have much respect for this leader and tell the heroes where the leader’s secret chambers are located. Lakima asks for a guide and the kobolds wave over one of the smallest of the young. The young kobold Smit leads them to a sarcophagus in an alcove and pushes a trigger revealing a secret door. They let the kobold run away. Feeling this could be the big battle, they prepare and Marta tests and then drinks a potion of heroism.

However, the secret passage leads to an empty room. There is an eight-foot-tall statue of a mage made out of tarnished bronze. It is badly dented and seems immobile. Lakima detects that it is magical. Also in the room is a magical mirror that allows them to see through stone into the hallway of sarcophagi. Overhead there is a 10-foot square cube of glass hanging motionless in the air. A passageway leads further west. They follow the passage and confront Drask. A mutated, five-foot-tall kobold with four arms and a mutated tail. Two of the arms are furry and have large claws. He is holding a battleax. Drask gloats at them daring them to stand against him. Drask is standing atop a dais that is glowing red and pink in undulating waves. They move in on all sides and attack Drask. Drask strikes back hitting Marta and nearly killing the cleric. They continue to attack making several hits. Just as it looks like they are close to killing the mutated kobold, he laughs and fades from sight!

Lakima crushes some chalk and throws it in the air suspecting that Drask has gone invisible. But the chalk does not reveal any invisible creatures. They do see a huge pile of gold, silver, magic items, and other valuables. Lakima stirs them into action and pulls out several large sacks. Soon they are all loaded down with gold and silver and struggling to walk. They drag themselves out into the other chamber. As they are passing through, Drask, fades back into sight and attacks Daen and hits the dwarf. Then he vanishes again.

Frustrated the heroes pick up the sacks and again start dragging them out the way they came in. They take advantage of the misty augmentation again near the bridge over the chasm. Weighted down they are concerned about the strength of the bridge. They decide to cross one at a time. Marta goes first. As he reaches the other side, Drask appears and strikes him for a grievous wound. Before the others can arrive to help, Drask is gone. They note that Drask also looks healed from earlier wounds.

Marta is anxious to keep moving and draw out more attacks but he is convinced by his companions to cast cure light wounds twice on himself before continuing. They reach the chamber with the barricade. As they pass through the narrow passage, Drask appears and attacks while they struggle to move. He hits Marta again. Marta is urged back by his friends and retreats reluctantly. Drask taunts Marta calling him a coward. This angers Marta who moves through the barricade to attack again but supported by Eathwund. As the two attack Drask moves to attack Eathwund and leaves an opening for Marta who strikes the kobold solidly in the head with the mace. Drask yells out, “No, it cannot be!” He starts to fade but then solidifies and falls to the ground dead.

They search his corpse and find a pair of empty potion containers and his battleax but nothing more. They drag Drask’s body and a few kobold bodies out to the road along with all of the treasure. It takes two exhausting trips. At the road they make use of the overturned cart, righting it and hitching it to their mule. They load up the cart and head to the Inn of the Restless Knight. Entering the innyard they quickly attract a crowd with their cart full of kobold corpses.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Dashing through the Halls

I have run a total of seven sessions now on Roll20 using the Swords & WIzardry rules. I am running a series of old school dungeon adventures that started with In Search of the Unknown. Before the sessions started I thought it might be cool to have no VTT maps and let the players map the dungeon. I did create a few one-room battle maps so that character placement during combat would be clear.

But then I bought some highly-detailed VTT maps for In Search of the Unknown and I wanted to use them. So the rest is history. I love creating maps so I do not mind that the players do not have to worry about mapping.

But I have found that I am struggling to keep up with the players. I don’t know if anyone else has encountered this phenomenon. It never came up in previous online games I played as a player. As soon as I reveal 60 feet of the corridor the players race their tokens to the end of the corridor. If I reveal a room they all race into the room.

The problem is trying to keep up with them. If there is a trap in the corridor keyed as room 21 and I still have the adventure open at room 12 I could miss it. I have taken to scribbling a lot of notes on the GM layer of the map. Short notes so I know that something is coming up and I can stop play. Usually by saying “freeze”. Then all of the players stop moving as they know they have run right over a trap.

I had one trapped hallway with three separate spear traps at 10-foot intervals. I revealed the entire hall from the fog of war and the lead character moved his token right to the end of the hallway. I was charitable and had him move back to the first trap that he triggered.

I do not have the time to write original material but I am re-writing everything we are playing so I think a few more hallway traps are going to come into play.

Anyone else experiencing this phenomenon?


Thursday, 11 June 2020

In Search of Adventure

Another Swords & Wizardry session. We are up to 8 sessions if you include session zero. This session did not go as I had expected. The players left the dungeon without finding the object that was the intended goal. I had a short adventure set ready for the urban setting and was able to slide it right in. They then proceeded to run through the short adventure in less than an hour.

The Monstery of the Fire Opal was the adventure they left without finding the noted Fire Opal. There were multiple clues but they missed all of them. They did search the correct room but rolled poorly. The final goal was hidden behind a secret door. This is the reason why placing the end item behind a secret door is dangerous. Putting a bonus treasure behind a secret door is fine. But if you put the end goal behind a secret door there is a chance the players will never find it.  The heroes cleared the second level of the dungeon of every creature but one and they found almost no treasure. In fact, they devalued the one item of treasure they did find by breaking it.

Session 7: Leaving the Monastery
Players: Marta the Chaste (cleric), Raeish Farstrider (Elven Fighter/Magic-User), Eathwund (Human Fighter), Lakima the Grey (Human Magic-User), Daen Shieldbreaker (Dwarven Fighter/NPC).

In the last session, the heroes had narrowly escaped a dead-end trap with a "fake" fire opal gem. They had just noticed a secret door held closed by iron spiked.

The heroes investigate the secret door and find that there are 3 iron spikes holding it closed. Raeish struggles and is unable to pull them from the wall but the sturdy dwarf Daen manages to do it without too much effort. Beyond is a 5 foot wide narrow passage. As they follow the passage they come across the remains of two monks who appear to have been eaten a long time ago. The passage ends in another secret door that exits into a storage area. Raeish finds several crates and opens them to fine ceremonial gear and robes. One of the crates is covered with what looks like yellow mold so they avoid it.

Continuing south they are ambushed by two more manes. During the fight, a young man dressed in dark-blue robes appears beside them and throws darts at the manes. They are surprised by his appearance but press the attack against the mane's first before dealing with the newcomer. After the manes are killed they stop to interrogate the man. He tells them he is Lakima (the grey) and says that he has been following them while invisible. He is a little vague about his reasons. Saying that he is interested in magic so that is why he was in the monastery. Raeish asks why he revealed himself now and not earlier and Lakima says that he wanted to be sure they were trustworthy first.

After some discussion, they decide to accept Lakima who explains to them that he is a magic-user. Marta decides to keep an eye on Lakima. They come to an area that is a maze of passages. In one intersection three more manes attack them but they are able to destroy the demons. Nearby they find a monk's room that was the scene of a battle, the door to the room hangs limply on one hinge. Raeish finds a lever in this room that opens a secret door. The door leads to a small ten-foot square room that is deserted. They decide to close the secret door and take a rest in the enclosed space that they believe has only one entrance through the secret door.

While resting Raeish studies the walls of the chamber and notices a protruding stone in the wall opposite the secret door. When the rest is over Marta casts Cure Light Wounds on Raeish and Daen the two most badly injured.

Raeish goes over and presses the stone he noticed. Another secret door opens. In the room beyond, they see the strange sight of a mane seated on a stool before a writing desk. It is scratching away in a book with an ink quill. They step in the room and the mane completely ignores them. Its dull grey eyes fixed on the pages in front of it.

Raeish spears the mane, and it steps up from the desk to defend itself. All five of the adventurers attack and bring it down. Lakima examines the book. It is a large volume, quite heavy. The ink is still wet on the open page. The writing is indecipherable to him but he surmises it is in Infernal. Lakima decides to take the book and he puts it in his backpack. Marta looks on with disapproval but holds his tongue for now.

The Infernal Monk


The heroes head north through more corridors and find three more manes, each working alone in a cell writing in ink in books. The writings are all in the strange infernal language. The pages do not seem the same. One is even drawing diagrams on the page. They kill all of the manes and everyone except Marta slips a book in their pack.

The heroes backtrack and head south. Raeish is taking the lead and rushes ahead down a corridor when he triggers a pressure plate on the floor and three spears launch from the wall. One hits Raeish and he is badly wounded. The rest of the heroes arrive and Daen takes the lead carefully tapping the floor with the haft of his battleax. Two more traps are triggered. The hallway ends in a dead-end, but Lakima is certain that there must be a secret door and Raeish finds it. Beyond a short passage leads to a brightly lit shrine to evil. A blood-splattered altar sits in the center of a round chamber. Against the north wall are two piles of rubble from two broken statues. Daen steps over to the rubble to examine it and the piles form up into a pair of roughly human-shaped creatures made of rubble. The creatures cannot move but they do throw large stones and the heroes. They find their edged weapons are doing little damage but Marta’s mace is effective and the cleric smashes one of the creatures. The other is brought down by an attack from Raeish’s magic spear.

They search the chamber carefully certain that there must be something interesting here. Nothing is found. Marta does a blessing at the altar in an attempt to remove any evil. And with Daen’s help and a few hammers they break the altar apart. They search one final unchecked passage that leads down a few steps to a carving on the wall of a demon. They do not find anything. Certain they have checked everywhere they go over a plan of action. They are certain the orange opal they found earlier is not the fire opal. It is just an ordinary opal. Lakima suggests to Daen that maybe there is something hidden in the opal. Daen agrees to try and break it apart and he does manage to break it in two but there is nothing inside and now the opal is just about worthless.

With seemingly no inhabitants left in this part of the dungeon, Raeish goes over areas they checked before to see if he can find anything suspicious but to no avail. After two hours of searching, they decide to call it quits and leave the dungeon.

They exit to the swamp and signal for Hamish to come to pick them up. The evening is approaching. Hamish arrives and is surprised to see Lakima and not Gaeleath or Manny. He asks after the halfling woman and they inform him that she did not make it out. Hamish questions them about their adventures and they tell him of fighting the dragon and show him the dragon head. He is impressed. He rubs his hands together and says, “So you must have quite a haul of treasure then? Right?”  His comment is met with stony silence.

Back at Hamish’s cottage, they set up camp. During the night during Daen’s watch, he hears some suspicious whistles. He wakes everyone up and they ready their weapons in the darkness. Four lizardfolk leap out of the reeds silently but are met with a surprise attack. One of the lizardfolk drops from Marta’s attack and the rest are put to sleep by Lakima.

Marta drags the dead lizardfolk away to a pit and tosses it in. Meanwhile, Raeish drags the sleeping Lizardfolk away telling Marta he will leave them in the open nearby. But instead, Raeish kills them and then tosses them in the bog.

The next day dawns with some mist but soon they are out of the moors and on the wilderness road. The sun burns away the mist. They meet a boy named Chert leading a wagon of logs to Edgerton to sell to a charcoaler. They decide to escort the slightly nervous boy into Edgerton.

In Edgerton the heroes go back to the Sign of the Dancing Dragon inn and settle in. Lakima buys a round of drinks for everyone at the table. They begin telling the story of their adventure in the monastery. When they get to the part about the dragon a few patrons look at the heroes skeptically. Then Daen dumps the dragon’s head out onto the table. Several barmaids shriek and run out of the room. The owner, Morton Bray, comes to the table and demands to know what is going on. But he is impressed by the dragon head and the stories. He is also impressed by the growing crowd around the table in the common room. He pays for the hero's drinks for the rest of the evening.

After telling the tale a few times through, and improving it with each telling the heroes tire. Raeish suggests to Morton that he should buy the dragon head for the Inn. But Morton is uninterested. The inn sign shows a happy, dancing dragon, not a beheaded evil dragon. Another patron suggests they get it mounted and he knows just the guy to do it.  The local leads them to the poor quarter of the town, an area called Mirdton, to the shop of a taxidermist named Wyston Ridley. Wyston is impressed by the dragon head and agrees to mount it. Before he can name a price Raeish drops 100 gold coins on the table and tells him to be sure to use gold and ivory trim on the mounting.


The Crypt of St. Bethesda
It is late and the man who led them to Mirdton had left some time ago so they make their own way back toward the Market common. Heading down an unfamiliar street they hear a man cry out in pain. They are not sure which direction the scream came from so they continue on. Rounding a corner into the next street they see a large, boarded-up church and in the alley, a body slumped near the wall. They approach and check the body and see strange lavender worms wriggling around on the body near still steaming acid burns. The worms leave a trail across the street and into an open sewer grate.

As they stand there pondering what happened Raeish drops down into the grate. Several members of the Town Watch approach and shout out for them to halt in the name of the watch and drop their weapons. After a moment's indecision, they all follow Raeish into the sewers.

The sewer grate leads directly into a room cluttered with debris. They figure from the church pews and chairs that they are in the crypt of the abandoned church above. Two passages lead off from the chamber. One leads to a storeroom full of wood boxes of moldy hardtack and empty barrels of wine. Raeish searches about and finds a loose set of stones behind one barrel. Pushing the stones out of the way he finds a crawlway through to a corridor.

The corridor heads east passed a pair of doors. The first door opens into a room choked with enormous spider webs. Raeish splashes some oil in the room and throws in a lit torch. They hear the roar of flames and a chittering noise. Reopening the door causes smoke to pour into the hallway. Beyond they see charred spider webs and a burnt giant spider. They close the door to prevent the smoke from spreading.

The next-door opens into a cave of stalactites and stalagmites. The walls are roughly hewn stone. A pair of low, narrow passages head south. Daen crosses the chamber and a pair of ghouls leap out and attack him. There is a brief exchange of blows and then Marta steps forward and rebukes the ghouls who turn to flee into the tunnels. One ghoul is killed before it can flee. Raeish chases the other into the tunnels crawling on his hands and knees. He traps the ghoul and stabs it repeatedly with his spear killing it. They find two exits from the tunnels that come up in a small, courtyard graveyard.

They go back to the corridor and head north. They find a cunningly made stone door that opens out into the corridor. Opening the door they see an enormous garbage pile. Fresh garbage falls out of openings in the ceiling onto the growing piles. They turn about and continue to the east. The corridor ends in a door leading to a cleaner looking room that contains an enormous altar. On top of the altar is a sigil. Marta examines it and tells them it is the symbol of St. Bethesda. A patron saint of healing the sick. Lakima examines the altar and finds the top is hinged. Flipping it up he finds a knob underneath that can be depressed. He does so and it clicks and stays in the lowered position. They do not note that anything happened. They do a quick search of the room and Raeish finds a secret door to the north behind a frayed, moth-eaten tapestry.

To the north is an intersection of passages with the statue of a matronly woman in robles standing in the center of the passage. Marta tells them that this is St. Bethesda. Meanwhile, Raeish is pointing down the east passage. They can just make out a large chamber, an ornate sarcophagus, and a trail of lavender colored worms leading to it.

The heroes make a plan quietly and then silently stalk into the chamber. They encircle the sarcophagus. It is a beautiful ornate coffin made of expensive wood with silver brackets. Gems are inlaid into the lid of the coffin. Daen lifts the lid of the coffin and they look inside. A corpse with clearly life-ending open wounds lies in the coffin. Lavender worms can be seen moving about in the open wounds. Suddenly, the things eyes open and it sits straight up in the coffin.

Not surprised everyone attacks, Daen chops it with his ax, Marta strikes it with his mace, Eathwund hits it with his magic shortsword, Lakima strikes it with two darts, and Raeish stabs it with his spear. Everyone hits the creature in a flurry of blows opening up more wounds in its chest and neck. More worms pour out of the open wounds. The creature hisses at them and worms pour out of its mouth. Then it strikes back at Daen, Raeish, and Eathwund. Tentacles of worms pour out of its open wounds and one from its mouth. Daen and Raeish are both take hits but for little damage. The worms also leave acid stains on their clothes and they hurriedly have to back out of the battle to take off the burning clothes.

The remaining heroes attack again but miss and the creature makes another attack. This time it misses them. When they attack it again they strike it multiple times and it collapses in a heap of worms. They tilt the coffin up and dump the body and the worms on the floor. Just before they are about to hack the gems out of the coffin Daen and Lakima stop them. They think the coffin is magical and worth a lot of gold. They settle the coffin back down and begin to discuss how to move it. Marta looks it over and sees sigils of St. Bethesda on it. He suggests they look to return it to the church but his suggestion is not received well.

Sarcophagus of the Wormwraith


They decide to leave the coffin for later and continue exploring the crypts. To the north, they stop at a door. Peering inside they see a clean camp, with a fire (smoke going up through some holes in the ceiling) and several pallets of blankets. A man snores noisily while sitting atop a wooden chest. They sneak up on the man and Raeish puts his spear to the man’s throat. He motions to the others asking if he should kill the man. Marta shakes his head sternly. They wake the man up with Raeish’s spear at his throat. The man, who tells them his name is Hayes, claims to be minding his own business. The trunk holds only his laundry he says. They threaten him but the man sticks to his story until Lakima casts Charm Person on him. Then Hayes tells his good friend Lakima that this is the hideout for a group of thieves. The rest of the thieves are out on a heist. The chest holds their treasure but the thief's leader, whom he calls Reimer, has the only key. Hayes tells them they should wait. His friends will be back soon.

The heroes set up a trap with Hayes in the far corner, the fighters by the door that Hayes tells them leads to an abandoned shop. He also helpfully tells them that the other two doors lead to traps that the thieves set up.  After waiting for an hour they hear the noise of several men approaching. The men are not trying to be quiet. They are talking loudly and laughing. As they open the door both Lakima and Raeish hit them with Sleep spells. All of the thieves fall to the floor asleep. Hayes asks his friend Lakima what is going on, as the others tie up the thieves. They find a bag of loot on one man and a key on another. The key fits the lock in the chest and inside is another haul of stolen goods. The heroes have a brief discussion about what to do with the loot. Finally, they decide to take the untraceable coins and bring the rest, along with the gang members to the City Watch. They agree to return later for the ornate sarcophagus.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

That did not turn out like I planned

One of the odd and fun things about solo play using a GM Emulator like Mythic is the completely unexpected stories that develop. Mythic sometimes sends you off where you did not expect to go. In my case, I had 2 sessions complete with Jorgin Taw journeyman wizard in Shadow River on Uresia and had begun to lose interest.

I conceived of this solo campaign as a city campaign in Uresia. The city of Shadow River is one of the few detailed parts of the Campaign setting and I thought an urban campaign would suit a wizard character. But after two sessions it was becoming Jorgin Taw runs errands for his master. So I decided let's just kill him off. I will send him out in the wilderness on his own and let the fates (Mythic GM Emulator Deck) decide what happens. If he gets killed as expected then I move on to something more interesting. So with those dark gritty thoughts, I delt the Mythic cards and came up with a fun trip from Shadow River to Cedar Vale where the hero met some trolls running an inn/boarding house and a talking bear.

It is still the player who is creating the story from the suggestions of the emulator. For some reason, these story ideas were what popped into my head. Someone else would come up with something different.

SESSION 3: TROLLS FOR LUNCH AND A TALKING BEAR

Expected Scene: Jorgin reports to his Master and is initiated as a Journeyman. Does the scene occur as expected? Interrupt. NPC Action, attains their dreams.
Expecting some sort of grand ceremony, Jorgin is disappointed when Olbrich just thrusts a scroll at him. Opening the scroll Jorgin sees it is a duly signed certificate noting him as reaching journeyman status with a modest increase in wages. Olbrich tells him to tidy up the component storage closet and then he can go early for the day. Jorgin goes to the Gilded Lily Inn, a popular inn for mage school students to see if he can impress anyone with his new status. He is unable to enter as there is a private party going on for his rival Egbert Schonfinkel who has also just reached Journeyman level and has been appointed to a position at the Mage School.

Can Jorgin sneak into the party? (Unlikely). Exceptional No.
Jorgin tries to sneak into the party at the Inn through the kitchen entrance. A troll bouncer grabs him by the collar and tosses him on the street into a puddle of offal. On the balcony above, several party guests including Egbert see his predicament and break out in laughter. Jorgin shuffles off to his
tenement in anger.

End Scene.

Expected Scene, Jorgin tells Olbrich that he is off to the countryside to seek his fortune! Occurs as expected.
Jorgin packs up his meager belongings. He spends 40 silver coins at the market on foodstuffs for the road. Then he goes to Master Olbrich to inform him of his decision to head out on the road. Olbrich, in his study, glances up at Jorgin and states’ “All set for the road? Well, good luck to you and don’t come back until you have learned something.” A little deflated, Jorgin heads out the west gate into the countryside looking for adventure. Not really sure where to go. Jorgin heads south following the trail along the Shadow River. A signpost tells him that someplace called Cedar Vale is 24 miles to the south.

Does Jorgin have an encounter along the road? Likely. No. Does he come to an Inn or Village to stay at for the night? Likely. No.
Jorgin walks all day, a few merchants and fellow travelers wave to him as they pass him headed for Shadow River. But the road is quiet. Several riverboats do pass him. As it starts to get dark he realizes he is going to have to make a camp by the side of the road. This was not part of his plans. He has no shelter and no fuel for a fire. Jorgin wanders off the road to what he thinks is a likely spot under a pine tree. He tosses down his blankets and goes to sleep.

Is Jorgin disturbed during his sleep? Likely. Yes. Is it by the weather? 50/50. Yes.
During the night a storm rolls in and it starts to rain heavily waking Jorgin. He sets his back to the tree and puts a blanket over his head trying to stay dry. But he is soon soaked. As the sun comes up, Jorgin is wet and miserable and has not had much sleep. His boots are full of water. But he is determined to continue on.

Does Jorgin find a village on the second day of travel? Likely. Yes. Describe the village. Kindly, abnormal.
It is still raining the next day but only lightly. Jorgin again sets out to the south. A few hours after noon he sees that the road passes through a small village of five buildings. A signpost reads, Leeside. As Jorgin enters the town a large troll emerges from a building. She is dressed in a bright pink and yellow dress and wearing an apron and a bonnet. She waves at Jorgin and ushers him out of the rain. The woman asks Jorgin’s name, where he is from, and where he is going and she yells for someone called Tusk to prepare a room and a hot bath. Jorgin barely has time to mention his name before she has whisked him into a room with a steaming tub of hot water. Another troll, this one an enormous male is pouring hot water into the tub. He waits patiently for Jorgin to speak. Unsure what to do Jorgin just stares.
“Take off your clothes, man. I will get them tried while you soak!”
Baffled Jorgin complies. He is soon resting in the heavenly hot, clean water. He looks about and is suddenly aware that he is naked in a tub of water in a strange building run by trolls.
“Hello? Ahh, I think I need to be on my way!”, Jorgin says.
The door opens after a moment and the female troll enters with a bowl of soup and some crackers. “Here you go, small human. Enjoy. Tusk will have your things dried out in a few hours. You can wear the robe until then”, she gestures at a brown robe hanging on a nearby hook. Jorgin stammers his thanks and is reluctant to ask what all of this is costing him.

Do Trolls mean Jorgin harm? Very Unlikely. Yes.
Jorgin gets out of the tub refreshed. His skin smells of garlic? He wonders if the water was seasoning him for a meal. Jorgin puts on the robe and casts Mage Armor just to be safe. Then he casts Disguise self to appear to look like the medusa sage he saw earlier. He steps out of the backroom into the main room of the home. The female troll is there and she drops a platter of food on the floor in shock.
“Where did you come from!” she shouts. Then turns and runs out a side door. There is a lot of shouting and Jorgin hears the exterior door slam shut. He goes looking for his clothes and finds them in a heap in another room. Along with the clothes of other travelers. The pouch with his gold is missing.

Does Jorgin find his gold? Investigate at DC 15. Yes!
Jorgin finds a pouch hidden behind a counter that has 100 gold coins in it. Picking it up he hurriedly rushes out the front door stuffing his clothes in his pack. He walks with as much confidence as he can muster out of Leeside. Once he is well past the village and the disguise spell ends he stops and gets dressed and arranges his pack. He puts 20 gold in his pouch and hides the rest in various places on his person.

Does Jorgin make it to Cedar Vale today? (50/50). Exceptional No.
After a few hours, the track that was following the river swings off to the west to go around an area of sharp cliffs that the river has cut through. Then Jorgin is confronted by a fork in the road. An old signpost lies on the ground. One direction says, Cedar Vale, and the other says Dry Wood. But it is not clear which trail it means. So he picks the one that looks more level.

As it starts to get dark Jorgin realizes he has made a mistake. He is entering a darkened wood. The forest closes in and it becomes really quiet. The canopy overhead is thick and he is finally out of the rain. When he spots a simple wood structure and firepit at the side of the road, Jorgin stops to make camp. The structure is just two walls and a partial roof but it is dry. There is a pile of dry firewood so Jorgin sets up a fire and casts prestidigitation to spark the fire and get it burning. He cooks some meat and potatoes over the fire and enjoys the meal. Despite the eerie silence in the woods, Jorgin feels like he is finally getting the hang of traveling.

Does Jorgin encounter anything during the evening? 50/50. Exceptional No.
Jorgin sleeps soundly. In the morning the campfire is cold and his body feels a little achy but he passes the night successfully.  Jorgin decides to use up Prestidigitation again so he can get a fire started and cook a hot porridge breakfast.

Is anything drawn to the camp by the smell of food? Likely. Yes. What? Slowly amusing.
Jorgin is just about to eat his meal when there is a disturbance in the bushes. He shouts, “Who goes there?”
A brown bear emerges from the bushes. It is comically wearing a patterned vest and a red hunter’s cap. The bear approaches and sets down a longbow.
“You wouldn't happen to have any honey, would you?” the bear speaks in a deep, growly voice in perfect common. Jorgin closes his gaping mouth and looks in his pack.

Does Jorgin have any honey in his provisions? 50/50. Yes.
Taking out a clay jar of honey he shakingly hands it to the bear. The bear nods his thanks. Then opens the jar and proceeds to lick the honey out the jar with a long tongue. Once the bear has emptied the jar he lets out a contented sigh.
Then the bear looks at Jorgin again. “So where are you headed?”
Jorgin explains that he is on his way to Cedar Vale. “Well, then you have headed the long way around, lucky for you I know a shortcut. Come on!”

The bear gets up and picks up its bow. It waits and looks expectantly at Jorgin.
“Right, just a moment!”, Jorgin says.

Jorgin quickly clears up his campsite and puts out the fire with some sand. The bear nods appreciatively. Then with the bear leading the way. Jorgin heads out through the forest off of the path. Jorgin becomes aware that they are moving at a high rate of speed. Some magic is being employed. After an hour they come to the edge of the forest. The bear points to a village down below on the shores of the river. “There is Cedar Vale. Good luck human.” The bear turns to leave. “Wait, I never got your name!” Jorgin says but the bear has disappeared into the woods.

Jorgin heads out at a leisurely pace for the nearby settlement.

Pardon me. Do you have any honey?