Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Product Half the Nightwick Regulars worked On

a portrait of the author('s character)

Michael, better known to Nightwick aficionados as Frederick Bull and those who follow the Tales from the Rattlebones Tavern as Annapurna, has recently released the adventure Oakfell Vale. It is published by Abraham Nermal Zzarchov Kolowoski and is dual stated for NGR and OSR games. It also features art by Uein Mundi/Konrad von Hexenzitsen Chris Huth, who y'all may remember as the guy who does the art and layout over at my patreon.

I also play-tested it with a lot of the other Nightwick Regulars (and Huth double dipping). It's about druids and its got bees!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Tales from the Rattlebones Tavern: Six Against Viridistan...

...or Beerbane's Bane!

Characters Present
Annapurna, 4th level Altanian  Ranger
Beerbane, 3rd level Altanian Berserker Barbarian
Ion Skamos, 4th level Tiefling Cleric of Set
Sobek-Ra, 4th level Orichalan Dragonblood Sorcerer
Waq Awaqa, [3rd] Level Viridian Warlock
Hjoldahr Braveflight, 3rd Level Dwarf Fighter

Events
  • While resting at camp, Annapurna was able to spy a dwarven noble and his small entourage of three dwarven commoners walking through the Vapor Hills. She brought him back to camp and Waq Awaqa quickly took to this fellow noble, whose name was Hjoldahr Braveflight. 
  • They all agreed that a second attack on the Viridian camp was in order, with Hjoldahr's servants guarding the camp in the meanwhile.
  • They waited until dusk and again made their way to the strange cave which provides a back entrance to the complex the Viridian soldiers were exploring. 
  • Again Ion Skamos used the stormy  powers of Set to clear a path that they might pass through the room filled with poison gas.
  • They first attempted to explore beyond where they had fought the men of living metal, finding a room that appeared at first glance to be empty, aside from some strange discolorations on the floor and some ancient bones.
  • Sobek-Ra soon found the source of these discolorations, as a strange mechanism in the ceiling shot a beam of energy at him, nearly killing him. Annapurna, acting quickly, destroyed the mechanism with a carefully aimed bowshot.
  • Listening at the door exiting this chamber, the group heard the sounds of nearby Viridian soldiers searching through the complex. Not wishing to alert them they decided to double back to the poison gas room and take another route.
  • From this new route they soon found themselves in a grand hall marked by columns of the same dark metal found elsewhere in the complex. These pillars it seemed housed a similar trap to the earlier chamber, and one must know the proper direction to walk in order to pass them without being vaporized.
  • The party then used this to their advantage as they attempted to lure the soldiers they heard earlier into the trap. Unfortunately it seems the Viridians were already aware of the trap, though with some cajoling Sobek-Ra was finally able to convince one to get himself killed.
  • Battle was joined, and during this battle Ion Skamos used the thunderous power of his dark god. Unfortunately, this alerted the other Viridians in the complex and soon the whole unit was upon them, including trained Viridian archers, the captain Sobek-Ra had encountered earlier, and a conjurer of some skill.
  • The party retreated into a hallway in hopes they would bottle the enemy up, and at first this strategy seemed to work; however, when the conjurer came closer he loosed a fireball which incapacitated half of their number.
  • While the survivors were able to recover the body of Hjoldahr and even revive Ion Skamos, the conjurer then summoned great black tentacles from the depths of some nether hell, which rent Beerbane limb from limb.
  • Annapurna, realizing the situation was dire, produced the lamp which contained Salassim, and bade him to stop the Viridians. He responded "I shall try, Master. I shall try" and then flew into the grand hall.
  • Much of the ensuing battle was unseen by the survivors, though the combat could be heard as great blasts of flame leapt through the air.
  • Annapurna attempted to find the entrance on her own but soon was walking blindly without torchlight.
  • However her flight proved in vain as soon Salassim had routed the Viridians and flew into the air to smite the ones which fled into the sun from the heavens.
  • Soon the soldiers were dead and the survivors were able to lick their wounds. They agreed that they should commandeer the Viridian camp and its supplies. They hoped dearly that no reinforcements were on their way...
Treasure
600gp, salt fish (300gp), Jeweled turban (150gp), jeweled dagger (150gp), wand carved with image of Yezud
XP per Surviving Player 
730

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Tales from the Rattlebones Tavern: Men of Living Metal...

... or Dungeons are a Gas!

The Men of Living Metal

Characters Present
Annapurna, 4th level Altanian  Ranger
Beerbane, 4th level Altanian Berserker Barbarian
Ion Skamos, 4th level Tiefling Cleric of Set
Sobek-Ra, 4th level Orichalan Dragonblood Sorcerer

Events
  • Sobek-Ra returned to his compatriots and described the situation about the strange complex the Viridians were investigating. They debated what to do for some time, but the horrible thunderstorm they were in precluded their initial plan of setting fire to the Viridian camp, though each flash of lightning seemed to set off a cloud of methane within the Vapor hills in mockery of this fact.
  • Sobek-Ra also told of a side passage which led into a cave. They agreed that they should scout this out to see if it could lead to the rear of the Viridians, or perhaps to the "eye" they sought.
  • Using the cover of the pouring rain and the onset of dusk, the four made their way into the cave, which Annapurna was disturbed to find covered in a reeking fluid like the runoff from a mine. It seemed this fluid occasionally burbled up methane, which made the journey perilous and also meant that Ion and Sobek-Ra had to led their human companions closely.
  • Soon they found a large hall made of an opalescent black metal. This hall also contained a noxious gas, created - they soon learned - by the mixture of the methane and some strange components held within large metal boxes. This gas, unlike that of the cave tunnel, was not flammable, but burned Sobek-Ra's nostrils as he held his breath and tried to explore the room without suffocating.
  • Eventually it was decided that this room should be passed by, and the four all covered their mouths and hoped for the best, moving through it at great speed.
  • Further down the tunnel they came to a large chamber... filled with orange crocodiles! They seem to have been changed by bathing in the impure water of the cave.
  • Ion Skamos called upon the Slithering Lord of Darkness to cloak them in a cloud of fog, and they fled from the crocodiles, whom they worried would prove too much for them.
  • There was then some discussion of if the poison gas from earlier could be blown out onto the waiting Viridians, but Ion knew his spells well enough to know that by the time they made it to the camp he would've merely dispersed the gas until it was harmless.
  • So they decided to do a variant of this instead, blowing wind down the chamber to clear it of the gas. This was done easily and the party preceded to the first door within.
  • Beyond, they found a section of cavern with stairs added of the same opalescent black metal as the gas chamber.
a re-enactment* of the action
  • These they ascended and soon found themselves in combat with strange men made of the same metal! They knew quickly that these were no suits of armor, as blows through landed on neither flesh nor bone and no blood spilled from these strange beings.
  • Beerbane rushed forward to face them but soon found himself surrounded. Luckily this was quickly rectified by Ion Skamos who used a thunderous blast to send one of the metal-men flying backwards into a metallic chest which spilled silver coins everywhere.
  • Soon the metal men were defeated, with comparatively few resources used by the four adventurers; however, now that they had a fair amount of treasure, and since this was only meant to be a scouting mission, they decided to exit and make camp in the swiftly approaching night. 
the party's location at the end of the session
  • The terrible storm gave way in the night to an unbearable mugginess, common in the subtropical lands of the World Emperor.
  • Knowing that they would be unlikely to return to civilization any time soon, they decided they should bury the treasure they currently had. Since Annapurna is better versed in forests than in hills, they descended back into the Elsenwood for the burial. There they marked the spot by means Annapurna would remember.
  • They then made their way back into the vapor hills and set camp in mid afternoon, hoping to wait until dusk to again plumb the strange structure the viridians had found.
Treasure
4200sp, 2 black jade "crab men" statues (150gp each), 2 metal crates (100gp each)

XP Per Player
285

* I neglected at the time to take a screenshot, so I recreated it with the tokens I had to hand later. I also didn't make the tokens you see for the metal men until after the session when I found a Krull comic I could use.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Tales from the Rattlebones Tavern: The Story So Far

Today's post is from longtime player in my game Michael. He has helpfully provided an account of the campaign so far so I don't have to write it.

The wood-elves of Khaled, hearing tales of Annapurna's care in returning the body of her friend and compatriot Sweetleaf to the wood-elves living in the shadow of the City State of the Invincible Overlord, sent word requesting her help. They asked that she and a party of adventurers follow one of the now-frequent Viridian patrols that pass through their territory, perhaps signalling a coming assault on their beleaguered people.

Arriving in Viridistan, and finding rooms at the Rattlebones Tavern, Annapurna and her associates were approached by a strange man offering gold in exchange for one of the mummies of Ancient Kings vouchsafed in coastal cairns to the east of the city. Returning with one of these mummies, or a considerable part thereof, the party has now agreed to meet the strange man in a mysterious region to the west, where he posits to utilise the mummy in procuring an ancient stone of strange powers.

Annapurna believes there is a possibility that the Viridian patrols may lead to this same place in the west, perhaps with a corollary purpose. Thus, not wanting to delay their request further, and hoping to combine two tasks in one, the party has gone north to Khaled to meet with the wood-elves there and pick up the trail of one of these patrols.

Leaving the small woodland village of the elves, known as Khaled, Annapurna began tracking the Viridian soldiers who had passed through the forest the previous day. While she was gathering food as they travelled beneath the trees, the others were set upon by a fearsome demon. When she returned, the demon had moved on, but laying there, nearly slain by the creature, was someone she had not seen since her time in the distant City State; Waq Awaqa, the magician. Quickly reviving him, he told the travellers he had been following this demon when it attacked.

They bent their attention again to the trail of the Viridians, and were led from the forest out into open hilly plains, redolent with clouds of noxious gas. The journey was also plagued by a rolling thunderstorm, and they soon discovered the clouds of gas were highly explosive in the lightning. They gave the clouds a wide berth.

Scouting ahead, Sobek-Ra discovered the terminus of the Viridians tracks. Some thirty of their soldiers were camped on the weirdly spongy ground, their tents arrayed near a stark, blocky archway of square black stone set into one of the hillsides. Disguising himself with sorcery, Sobek-Ra approached the camp, and spoke with the leader. He revealed that they had sent at least one group of soldiers through the archway, delving into the depths below the hill. They sought for something the leader would not discuss; clearly the same so-called 'eye' we were seeking ourselves.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Concerning the Wilderlands

I've been thinking about making this post for a while. Some of you may be aware of the extremely vile statements made by Bob Bledsaw's son. As Rob Conley noted his attempts to clarify or apologize have not been any better. For this reason Conley has decided to terminate his business connections to the Judges Guild. Last I heard Goodman Games was still working them to publish works by Jennell Jaquays in order to do right by her even if the Judges Guild is run by a shit, and I respect that decision.

I have no financial ties to the company and merely have talked about how I like the setting (in both it's original and d20 forms) on this blog numerous times. I also often run it. For a while I thought I'd never run it again but as summer approaches I find myself again in the mood for Sword & Sorcery adventure in lieu of or in addition to my normal spooky affairs. I have, in fact, restarted a Wilderlands game (with at least two of the characters from the old Cutthroat Inn campaign returning). I've decided my connection to the setting outweighs my feelings on Bledsaw II's racism. I would likely feel different if I had been involved with the business as the aforementioned people had been.

Anyway, I wanted to start posting about the campaign here but I thought I should clarify that my still using the setting is in no way an endorsement of anything Robert Bledsaw II has said or done.

Oh, and if you want to read a post about how to handle social justice issues in your tabletop rpgs I highly recommend this post by Humza.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Saints will Eat You

  
The Sphere in Judgement, a common motif in the art of the Western Church, by Chris Huth

James at Grognardia recently made a post about his use of saints instead of gods in his Urheim project. I have, to some degree, done this in the World of Nightwick as well. Originally this was just a set of oddball references I used to fill out the doctrine of the Western Church, and in the form of St Santa Claus it became a running NPC/faction in the game. However, since I have switched to 5e for the two games I'm currently running, saints have taken increasing importance since they are a vector for mechanics: they provide clerics access to divine domains. Below is a list of the divine domains and their associated saints now that new ones have been provided in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything:

Forge - St Joel the Witty
Grave - St Ingels the Ghastly
Knowledge - St Simon the Wise
Life - the Lady*
Light - St Richard the Prior
Nature - St Simian the Fool
Order - St Toad
Peace - St Henrich Kiss Monger
Tempest - St Santa Claus
Trickery - St Ralph the Liar
Twilight - St Roderic the Sterling
War - St Gax Lawgiver

*The role the Lady plays in the Church is of paramount importance and for more information you should check out this patreon post.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Kommando Kronikles: The Sword


...kinda.

Characters Present
Sir Istvan the Vulgar Knight (Foul Changeling Fighter)
Sir Uein of the World (Human Fighter)
Abraham, Lord of the Prison (Human Rogue/Ranger)
Father Kozel of the Wood (Fair Changeling Cleric)
Mother Johanna of the Church of St Santa Claus (Human Cleric)
Frederick van Bull (Frogling Fighter)

November 27th, 1396
  • Uein had concocted a plan to defeat the last Hochmeister and gain the seals needed to open a door on the Baroness Level. They believed this door concealed either a relic cross or a powerful magic sword.
  • Entering through the graveyard entrance, the party soon found that the geomorph they normally enter through had changed orientation, meaning the way in was no longer the way out and led instead into a series of catacombs.
  • Heading into those catacombs, Istvan was able to see with his special eyes that there were a number of odd, hunched figures down one of the passages. 
  • The party planned to attack them, but the lighting conditions of the dungeon proved difficult to overcome, and in setting up they soon attracted the attention not only of the foes they expected (which turned out to be a group of ghouls) but also a formation of Blind Bruders.
  • This led to a combat on two fronts, with the clerics and Istvan heading to face the blind brothers and the two fighters engaging the ghouls. Uein was fairly significantly wounded but both battles went easily in favor of the Kommandos.
  • There was then some debate about which way to go, and as it was decided that north was the  proper way, the party was ambushed by a pair of broken dead. These too were fairly easily overcome, but there was a brief moment of panic as the creatures are often a great annoyance to delvers.
  • Making the way north they found an altar covered in offal and depicting dead beings dancing around a great sphere, rusted and pitted and covered in eyes. This they remembered from a  previous delve, but were at first convinced that it lay near the lair of Great King Death. Luckily Abraham was eventually able to remember that it actually lay near the Hochmeister they sought.
  • Their previous encounter with the Hochmeister had ended with them retreating for at the time they lacked clerics, area of effect spells, and blunt weapons.
  • This time, however, the creatures were easily dispatched due to the magic of saint Santa Claus and the potent sling bullets of Abraham.
  • The monster's lair was in a great catacomb, which the party spent some time exploring to find some treasure. This they did, though perhaps not as much as would normally befit such a potent adversary.
  • However, most importantly they found the fourth and final sword brother seal.
  • Uein realized that a simple walk west would lead outside the dungeon and that their best bet was to reenter through the East Tower in order to make their way to the Baroness level. Their current position on level 3 had no established root to that level, though previous outings showed it was possible to get there.
  • So they did indeed exit and return by the East Tower, soon finding themselves on the second level.
  • They passed through a portal of darkness and into strangely regular square rooms they knew to be associated with the God of Law, and to house the item they sought.
  • There was some confusion as to where everyone needed to stand to put in the seals simultaneously, but eventually this was sorted out and the seals placed and the door opened.
  • It revealed a two handed sword composed entirely of right angles - with a flat top, cubic hit, rectangular handle and guard, and a razor thin blade. Kozel was able to recognize this as a fabled "shard" of the God of Law, struck off him during the War in Heaven. He also determined the area they stood in was consecrated, though the sword itself seemed neutral in aspect.
  • Johanna and Uein then each toyed with it while it was still shoved in the dais. Uein ultimately pulled it out causing a thrum to emit through the room as though he had struck a tuning fork.
  • They then decided to make their way back to Nightwick village, to study the sword in greater detail.

Monsters Slain
19 Blind Bruders, 6 Ghouls, 1 Hochmeister, 2 Broken Dead

Treasure Gained
5,000sp, a suit of strangely spotless half plate of  great antiquity, a shard of the God of  Law

XP Per Player
875