Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Monster to Eat Children: the Rawhead

Rawheads are a hideous form of undead created when a particularly vile wizard or warlock dies before their familiar. If the body of the caster is left too near the familiar, they will fuse together in death, creating a strange hybrid with the bones of the caster topped with a rotten and bloody version of his familiar's head.  For some reason unknown to all this process also enlarges the creature, making it 10-15' in height.

They sustain their putrid unlives with the flesh of liars - preferring children to all other prey. Their ability to sense liars and mimic their loved ones means they typically act as ambush hunters, and their invisibility allows them to hide in a wide variety of environments.  However, they rarely go further than 6 miles from where they had their lair in life.

Monday, December 23, 2019

FLGS Nightwick Session 12: Can't Save them All

Characters Present
Mrs. Claus - a human druid dedicated to some weird combination of Father Winter, St Santa Claus and the Krampus (level 2)
Gwenifer Nighthawk - another druid and member of the Circle of the Moon (level 2, now deceased)
Paul - a frogling barbarian from Unknown Lands (level 2)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish human rogue (level 3)

Decenber 13, 1395

  • Flint probably remained in Knightpath to distract his fellow members of the Order of the Elk while the kidnappers made good their escape. 
  • Mrs. Claus and Gwenifer elected to head out in the night, after a spot of freezing rain had turned the little snow fall into a nasty mush.
  • Adran was able to spy some deer-men and an elk-ogre up the road, and a debate began about how to deal with it.
  • Ultimately, partly due to Gwenifer's insistence, it was decided they would fight these creatures.
  • Mrs. Claus and Paul turned the cart the kept the children upside-down in to offer them a modicum of protection. Mrs. Claus then stayed with them to make sure none were endangered (or escaped).
  • Adran set himself up in a nearby tree, trapping the area around it, and made ready with his crossbow to snipe at oncoming deer-men. Poul waited next to the cart.
  • Gwenifer surprised everyone by turning into a strange, spider-like creature unknown in the whole of the World of Nightwick. She lept towards the deer-men but was soon surrounded and knocked unconscious. The elk-ogre then smashed her unconscious body with a huge club, killing her.
  • During this time Adran's shots were hitting with good effect, but the monsters had focused on the spider because his great adeptness at hiding meant he remained unseen.
  • Paul arrived in the melee just before Gwenifer died, and was able to begin slaying the creatures she had softened up. Mrs. Claus aided with a few eldritch blasts.
  • Once the creatures were dead, the party retreated and encamped in the shadow of Knightpath, hoping they would not be discovered.
  • They weren't, and the next day they made their way towards Frogguts.
  • About an hour outside Frogguts, the children (who were separated into two enormous roughspun sacks) began arguing about whether the priest of Nightwick or Knightpath was more holy. When Arnest, one of the boys from Knightpath, said his priest was a saint a strange sound was heard.
  • It turned out to be the swift approach of a Rawhead, who became visible just long enough to grab Arnest and disappear again, leaving the living party members stunned.
  • Once in Frogguts they found the town completely deserted, except for a mother and daughter hiding in a building. The mother informed them that they had been assailed by that creature ever since her daughter lied to some 'likely bandits" about how many were with them. The bandits had tried to slaughter the beast and died.
  • Paul, who lacks the moral complexity of some of his human company, knocked the mother out and then replaced Arnest in the bag with the daughter - who had lied and therefore was naughty. Mrs. Claus was able to figure that the Rawhead had just eaten a child and would likely be sated long enough for them to make their escape.
  • They then pushed on to the outskirts of blackleg, where, exhausted, they stayed at a small inn. In this inn, Adran and Mrs. Claus met a set of dwarfs who said they had no work in the mine since it was shut down and would be willing to lead the party to the shrine of Knecht Ruprecht for a fee. They agreed.
  • They also picked up two new naughty children - one who had traded his parents magic beans for a cow, and another who had min/maxed while playing imagination games.
  • When Paul came back from fetching these children, he noted that the "dwarfs" were obviously not dwarfs, since his frogling senses paid attention to aspects not obvious to humans. They were extra hairy, possessed of even more pointed ears, and wore no shoes. These, it seems, were knockers.
  • The knockers, realizing their child eating plan was up, enlarged to great proportion and attempted to do battle. However the work of Paul, who was able to more or less keep the creatures in place, and Adran who ducked and weaved about them stabbing at their vital bits made short work of them.
  • The next day the party made their way tot he shrine, based on information they had gotten from a pagan in the outskirts of blackleg. At the shrine the children were purified by the sacred switch of Knecht Rurpecht.
  • Ruprecht's switching had disloged something from one of the children - a hellish larvae the size of a massive grub. He placed it in a jar and gave it to the characters, along with a bevy of magic items (described below).
  • With that, Mrs. Claus declared her work done and separated from the party for the foreseeable future.
Monsters Killed
6 Deer-men, 1 Elk-ogre, 3 knockers

Treasure Gained
1 magic switch, 1 magic shield, 1 magic bow, 20 silver arrows, a magic horn, a silver dagger, and a potion of healing.

Xp Per surviving player

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Languages of The World of Nightwick

The ones listed here are only those that may be encountered in the Dark Country - even if only in very unlikely circumstances. Those of the same language family typically use the same or similar script and are usually mutually intelligible. A roll is required to avoid certain grammatical fuck-ups, especially in things such as business deals. However, non-native speakers cannot mutually understand languages in a family different from their native one. 

A person from the Realm can understand Zenopolitan, but if he learned Novgovite he could not understand Bogdani without learning it.  Conversely a person from Novgovy could understand Bogdani, but if they learned common they would still need to learn Zenopolitan separately.

Westron Language Family - Languages that descend from High Westron, the language of the now extinct Empire of Man. The script for this family resembles the writing in the Voynich Manuscript.
  • Common - The language of the Realm of Man and most of its subsidiaries, including Averois, Karse, Attalia, and the Seven Cities of the Dark Country.
  • Zenopolitan - The language of the Zenopolian people and most of the inhabitants of the Desert Lands. Those south of the Desert Lands also often know how to speak this but non-natively. It is more directly like High Westron than is Common.
  • Lazarene - A form of High Westron perverted by the inhuman Lazarenes who dwell near Ruined Acheron.
Eastron Language Family - This family was spoken by barbaric peoples who invaded the eastern lands of the Empire when it collapsed. In those spaces it is largely replaced by Common, but in their homelands the languages live on. It's script resembles the Gothic alphabet of Ulfilas.
  • Novgovite - The language of Novgovy and Muscorod.
  • Bogdani - The language of the native people of the Dark Country. While there are White and Black Bogdani "accents," they are mutually intelligible even to outsiders.
Croakish Language Family - This family can be approximated by the mouths of other creatures, but is only truly spoken by Froglings. It borrows its script from the Westron family.
  • Croakish - The language of Froglings.
  • Bullywug - The perverted language of Bullywugs.
Dwarfish Language Family - This family is spoken by dwarfs as well as the other stolid sorts of fairies. If it is related to the Languages of Fairy, that relationship is entirely undetectable to anyone but the fairies. Dwarfis script is runic but often involves very phallic symbols, leading to certain jokes among Dark Country denizens.
  • Dwarvish - The language of the Dwarfs, Knockers, Gnomes, Mine-monks, and other such dwellers in darkness.
  • Goblin - A diabolic dialect spoken by Goblins as well as those of other races who are their allies.
The Languages of Fairy - These languages are spoken by the Old Gods and their servitors. They do not have a script, but some have attempted to approximate it using other alphabets.
  • High Fairy - The Language of the Old Gods themselves, used only by them and their highest ranking cohorts.
  • Elfish - The common tongue of the servants of the Old Gods, though rarely taught to humans.
  • Druidic - A fully debased from of Elfish taught to humans so that they might be able to communicate with the human servants of their gods.
Languages of Heaven and Hell - These languages are unrelated but are similarly cosmic in their implications. Enochian and Crowleyan each have their own script.
  • Proto-Ur - The language of the God of Law Himself. Said to be understandable by all creatures, though currently at best only heard as a deep thrumming in space.
  • Enochian - The language of angels, first learned by the men of Acheron to control them. Now used by the Church of Law for certain rituals.
  • Crowleyan - The language of devils and demons. Like Enochian it was first learned in Acheron, though it was given to them willingly by the fiend Armadeus.
Dead Languages - These languages are no longer spoken in the World of Nightwick, but can be found in the written form.
  • High Westron - The language of the Empire of Man, replaced by the Common tongue of the Realm of Man.
  • Old Nothron - The language of those barbarians living in the Realm, Karse, and Averois before the uniting of the Empire. Its script is sometimes used in ancient texts to represent the Languages of Fairy.
  • Acherontic - The tongue of Ruined Acheron. Most similar to Lazarene, though with obvious difference. Its texts is similar to the ancient Phoenician.
Most monsters in the World of Nightwick do not have the internal lives they have in other settings, being only a parody of civilization. As such, when they speak it is in one of the tongues mentioned above. When among each other they usually do not speak.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Ruined Acheron

In time out of time, before St Gax wrote down the Law as dictated to him by the Lady, before the tribes of Man came to the lands that would one day be The Empire and the Realm, perhaps before even the Kingdom Under the Mountain had reached its greatest heights (or depths), there was Acheron. Built by black-hearted men near the very edge of the World such that their sorceries could drink from the magic of the Styx, Acheron was the greatest city ever built by men.  It was there that men first heard the deceptions of demons.

What race of man first settled there, no one knows.  In fact, scholars even disagree if there were permanent settlements before Acheron.  It is certainly true that once its vast empire stretched across the whole of the world, few structures were made that did not emulate in some way the architecture of that accursed city.  In this empire there was the seed of the Law, but only as perverted by the whispers of Armadeus and his ilk. Indeed, in those ancient days it was said that Armadeus was far stronger than he is now, and that he made his form known in the World as a well-muscled scholar whose skin, eyes, and even teeth were black as the space between the stars.

From Armadeus they learned the secret names of demons and angels and set them to work. They were the first to construct the sky-ships sometimes used now by the Lazerenes.*  They reached out into the black and found the planets of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air and named them for their heathen gods - false names given to them by Armadeus.  They called creatures out of the Pit and down from the Sky to be their architects. They enslaved all manner of mortals and immortals and did many wondrous and wicked things.

But as all men do, they grew prideful, and sought to turn their magics and secrets of binding against their dark masters, the princes of hell themselves. It is said they imprisoned some, though who and where it is not known, but it was there attempt to harness the power of Great King Moloch that undid them. He appeared among the city with but one of his legions.  He toppled their high towers, gored their great sorcerer-kings, and then when all this was done he rent the earth with his great horns and pooled the blood of his victims in the Blood Red Sea. Thus was the greatest city of men destroyed.

But there are some, mostly elves, dwarves, and others who are biased against the greatness of men in the eyes of the Law, who say that these early works were not done by men at all. Acheron, they say, was the product of a different race, long destroyed.  On the few occasions when they can be called upon to name this race, they call them the Star Lords - likely an allusion to their mastery of the heavens.  Those beings more long-lived than men say this race, if it exists in any form, wallows even now in a hell made for them by Moloch. Surely the men they see upon the world now could not be the inheritors of such mighty sorcerers.

*They were also likely the source of this hideous race, as they became changed by the demonic energies they dealt with.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

FLGS Nightwick Session 11: Suffer Little Children

I have elected to do my own recounting of events for the last session because I think relying on Chris's was making me lazy.

Characters Present
Mrs. Claus - a human druid dedicated to some weird combination of Father Winter, St Santa Claus and the Krampus (level 2)
Gwenifer Nightwick - another druid and member of the Circle of the Moon (level 2)
Poul - a frogling barbarian from Unknown Lands (level 2)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish human rogue (level 3)
Flint Lichtbringer - Dwarfish paladin and member of the Order of the Elk (level 4)

December 10th, 1395

  • Mrs. Claus and Gwenifer, while on the road to Nightwick, encountered a strange, masked Elf riding a reign deer.  His mount suddenly pitched and he fell, clutching his chest.  As they went to investigate, he stood back up and asked them if they were children of the Old Gods. They replied in the affirmative and he said that he felt a servant of Father Winter perish and placed on them the duty of rounding up naughty children to be taken to be punished by Knecht Ruprecht. Knecht Ruprecht must punish the children, absolving them of their naughtiness, so they are not taken away by fouler creatures in the winter.
  • Adran and Flint were looking for new room-mates when they met Poul, a frogling of martial aspect, and later the two druids. These seemed suitable companions to the twain - Flint's order has not the hatred of Paganry found in other Lawful sects.
  • Gwenifer turned into a potato bear and perched herself on Mrs. Claus shoulder as she went to ask a group of old women about children in the village.  Asking around they found out about a "knitting club" of old women where much of the gossip of the town was discussed. Mrs. Claus found this delightful and made her way there.
  • The knitting bee as held in a largish peasant hovel made quite smokey (and warm) by a great fire. As the two druids had guessed, these women were of pagan persuasion and quickly knew their business (and saw through Gwenifer's disguise). They learned that there were three notably naughty children in the village - Elbel, a weird boy who flies kites at night and whistles near the Fog-bound Forest, Czylle who refuses to help her mother clean, and Bartke who "ate a grub" in the Fog-bound Forest and now only says "the name of the Devil."
  • The party then split up to acquire these children. Mrs. Claus and Poul went to get Elbel, Gwenifer and Adran went after Bartke, and Flint went to acquire Czylle.
  • Elbel was outside a wood cutting camp at the edge of the woods, whistling while the woodsmen shook their heads in sadness. Mrs. Claus decided to tempt him with cookies and then to have Poul strike him with a club if necessary. They found that Elbel only whistled aggressively when talked to, and that he was one of those little boys who is always wet. After some attempt with the cookies, a frustrated Poul hit him with a stick and stuffed him in a bag.
  • Adran and Gwenifer found that the mother of their quarry was quite willing to get rid of him, and that he was clearly possessed. He would only intermittently scream "Armadeus, Moloch, Furcas," etc.  His mother was very sad, but was happy that a pagan woman had come to help as she did not trust the Church of Law.
  • Flint found Czylle alone on the stoop of her house, and was able to convince her to wear a pair off manacles "so she could be a famous actress."  "It's all for a part, I promise."
  • The party then tied them all in a large bag, put it in a newly purchased cart, and made their way to Knightpath.
  • On their way they found a troop of dogheads picking over the remnants of a frogling caravan. Battle ensued, with Gwenifer changing forms twice - first assuming the form of a great bear and then again turning into a hideous spider. Mrs. Claus spent her time watching the children while the others did battle, occasionally attempting to convince Czylle of some fact about dragons that was completely preposterous. Czylle, for her part, simply said "uh huh" over and over in rapid succession.
  • Once in Knightpath, they were directed to the village midwife, one of the few women left after the ravages of recent warfare. She was able to point them to three more children - Ute, whose mother is convinced is a lying changeling, Arnest who throws sharpened sticks at people, and Fricz who "killed a bird in an unsavory manner."
  • The druids went after Ute, finding that there was a case of mistaken identity involved. Ute's brother, Dompring, was bright green and had huge, almond eyes. He was chasing his sister about with a rushlight while their mother, in a dull monotone, insisted that "you have to let your brother set your hair on fire. You're just a changeling." Realizing the issue, the druids snatched up Dompring and left before the mother could protest.
  • Adran and Poul found Arnest in the middle of the village, chewing on sticks like a beaver. Instead of debating a method of capture, Poul simply asserted "worked last time" and hit the kid with a stick.
  • Flint found Fricz playing with his kill while his mother cried. Fricz had made a marionette out of the bird, insisted that he was "birdie the bird" and made sure to shove the dead creature in Flint's face as much as possible. Flint continued his lie about being a traveling entertainer, and noted that he needed a puppeteer for his troupe.  Fricz mother merely stared into the middle distance as her boy was taken away...
Treasure Gained
Some goods I forget how much and Chris didn't write it down.

XP Gained

Monday, December 16, 2019

Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy!

Characters Present
Uein, Fighting man from Nordovulgaria
Stavros, Fanatical fighting man and devotee of St Deodat
Frederick Bull, Fighting frog in the service of the van Toad house
Abraham Nermal, graverobber turned landowner
Johanna d'Ligne, Averois cleric and devotee of St Santa Claus

December 13th 1395
Five of the members of the leadership of the Howling Kommandos, including Stavros, Abraham, Uein, Joahnna, and Fredrick, marshaled an army of mercenaries and made their way to Knightpath. Their army consisted of the Howling Kommandos themselves, the Company of the Goose, The Corbies, the Company of Devils, and a small troop of knights temporarily donated by Paladin Lord Fitzgerald.  In Knightpath they met with a meister of the Order of the Elk that had been informed of their mission by Fitzgerald. He was also able to convey to them that Blackleg was also currently in the hands of his order, but that Frogguts was mostly abandoned and Road's End may be so ruined as to be impossible to tell there was a village there.

The next day (the 14th) the army made their way into the Fog-bound Forest, with the troop of the Order of the Elk acting as the vanguard, the Corbies, Howling Kommandos, and Company of the goose in the main, and the Company of the Devils in the rearguard. As they went into the forest the weather grew colder until they reached a mysterious, ring-shaped weather pattern of snow. Beyond it the air was so cold that all moisture was in the form of snow and ice on the ground.

Abraham, unused to scouting ahead for such a large force, was unable to ascertain the full strength of the enemy before the army arrived, meaning they drew up into battle formation not aware of each other's total strength.

Uein and Abraham detached themselves while the armies drew up and went to find Randulf, who had incited this rebellion and sought to destroy Lawful civilization in the Dark Country.  The plan was for the two of them to act as a sniper/spotter team, and it worked as Abraham was able to fell Randulf with two bolts covered in driffit poison.  This only served to anger his men - a mix of picked rangers and peasant rebels - but Abraham felt this would still be a blow none-the-less and the two returned to the command area of the Howling Kommandos.

Then the battle began in earnest. Johanna embedded herself among the members of the Order of the Elk and they charged a group of Elfish cavalry - apparently on loan to the rebels from the White Lady. Abraham then took his position among his honor guard - the Devils - and charged into Randulf's rangers.  Frederick croaked an order to the Corbies to attack a group of pig-men that seemed to be coming up from the river to attack the infantry, but the dense forest made their charge ineffective.

The biggest problem facing the mercenaries was that they were outnumbered - primarily by a huge group of untrained peasant rebels.  These attempted to attack the Howling Kommandos and Company of the Goose, and indeed nearly destroyed the Goose while the cavalry attacks were indecisive.  However, the Corbies, after reforming from their failed charge, were able to unite with the Devils and destroy Randulf's Rangers and then move to attacking the peasants, sending them running.

The Howling Kommandos received strange ailments during the battle, and during the fight with the Elf Knights Johanna was able to observe a group of witches performing rituals on the island that housed the Tomb of Father Winter.  She rode away from the swirling melee of Elk and Elf - back to the command area where she had left 5 geese she had purchased, knowing that Goody Gallows was terrified of them.  She then went to the Corbies with the goose and charged with them across the frozen river to the location of the witches.  Not only did the Corbies deal considerable casualties to the women, but those that lived fled before the face of the Goose.

The pagan army disintegrated. The idol they were using for Father Winter was taken by the army to be used in a chapel to St. Santa Claus. Stavros sought out the body of Randulf and found Mervyyn standing over him. Mervyyn expressed sorrow that the man met "a bad end" but provided the party with milk and sweet cakes to bring before the body of Father Winter.

Abraham and Johanna descended into the tomb, found Father Winter's enormous, drawn corpse, and placed the milk and cakes before it.  In but a brief passing of seconds, the body swelled and took on the likeness of a huge china doll of Father winter - complete with rose red cheeks and nose.  He then thanked them for stopping the ritual, froze off Johanna's zombie arm, and replaced it with a porcelain one with the uncanny ability to move like a regular arm.  Father Winter, who Johanna was convinced was the "reborn" Saint Santa Claus, twinkled his nose and went up a ceremonial chimney to spread snow and frost throughout the Dark Country. Abraham opined that "our presents must be at home."

Treasure Gained
110pp, 4000gp in goods (mainly incense), statue of Father Winter made of Ebony Wood (1000gp), Quiver of the Old Gods, Gauntlets of Ogre Power, Robe of Useful Items, Potion of Greater Healing

Xp Per Player

Friday, December 13, 2019

News from the Dark Country: A Battle Looms

1395 has been a year of battles. Two already have been fought between the forces of Man and the forces of the White Lady - in fact I was in the middle of describing one of those campaigns - and two more between the forces of Bishop Notker and Arnawald of Waldheim.

Now this evening, a greater battle will be fought - or at least one of more numinous importance: a battle for the soul of Christmastide! Even as I write a coven of hags, led by the infamous Goody Gallows, has aligned itself with Yimsleyite rebels and the forces of the White Lady. Their goal: to awaken a terrifying and vengeful aspect of Father Winter that they believe will freeze all, saving only truehearted pagans.

Even as they do this the Howling Kommandos make ready for war! They prepare to leave for the Fog-bound Forest to do battle at the very foot of the Tomb of Father Winter itself. Can they stop the long winter? Which of the forces truly represents the will of St Santa Claus?  Will it finally be a Merry Christmas in the Dark Country?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Witchfort Campaign Part 3

Paladin Lord Fitzgerald, Leader of the Order of the Elk

The party was then invited to meet with the leader of the Order of the Elk, Paladin Lord Fitzgerald. Stavros had been under the impression that he was "fake," a kind of scapegoat meant to tie the Order of the Elk to Yimsleyite Rebels (who sometimes use the initials PLF for the Pagan Liberation Front). During the meeting, Fitzgerald revealed that the Knights of the Elk had captured a spy belonging to Arnawald the Black Eagle of Waldheim and that he was going to encourage his men in the south to rebel against Bishop Notker in tandem with an invasion by Arnawald around September. Fitzgerald's men had sent a false spy in his place in order to convince the men that their rebellion should happen earlier and were even now raising an army to go crush it in order to foil Arnawald's plan.

Arnawald wished to declare the Bishop a heretic for not yet killing the infamous Stavros and Kozel and martial in open war against him. Fitzgerald believes that Arnawald is himself a servant of Armadeus due to his missing eye. The party seemed swayed by this theory.  They agreed to let the Knights of the Elk take over the Witchfort, relieving it from the mercenaries. In return Fitzgerald agreed to provide them with a group of siege engineers, needed for attacking a fort, but lamented that he could not provide more aid as he was preparing to attack the army in the south.

The leadership of the Howling Kommandos then went to rest outside the city walls with their men.  The morning they were meant to leave, they were greeted by a parade of guards, clerics, and froglings.  Among them was none other than Bishop Notker the Unshaven himself, who made it clear to the Howling Kommandos that the fort would revert to his hands if it were recaptured, though he did so in an extremely passive aggressive way.  Once his intent was made clear he blessed the party. The van Toad Trading House also provided a group of Frogling gunners for the campaign.

The party then made their way south, camped once again in the ruins of Vollage, and then prepared to spend the next day in the Witchwood...

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Witchfort Campaign Part 2


Once at the city's outer walls, they found that a number of mercenary companies were encamped, though these all seemed to be about to leave because the Bishop felt he had recruited all the troops he needed with other mercenaries and the Knights of the Elk. Whelp, a former associate of the Howling Kommandos who had helped him against the cultists/bandits organized under Big Jean many years ago, met with them and helped them in negotiating the aid of the Company of the Goose. In private Whelp and Stavros began debating how they might gain some dominion over the goose, hoping that at some point the party's cleric, Johana de Ligne, might eventually be able to control animals. Whelp was also able to inform them that the time he had spent in the Witchwood had made him realize that time passes differently under its eternally autumnal boughs. They would need to make sure they had knowledge of how to get to the Witchfort from some expert scouts who had been in the forest many times.

The party then negotiated contracts with all the remaining companies, with Stavros planning to keep on both the Company of the Goose and the Corbies while Abraham took the Company of Devil's on as his personal man catchers for the jail he has been constructing. The other companies were signed on temporarily, with most agreeing to help take the Witchfort and to hold onto it only for a month. Abraham also gathered together a number of camp followers to serve as cannon fodder.

The party then made its way into the city where they interrogated some of the Bishop's guards. They were able to determine the layout of the fort as well as the fact that it had an escape tunnel they may be able to use for a commando raid. Thus the party formed a plan: the mercenaries would assault the fortress proper while the Party would enter the escape tunnel and seek to gain access to the fortress interior and either make off with the captives or open the gates to allow their forces inside. The Brown Company would follow after them to create chaos and perhaps open the doors while they secured the prisoners.  Stavros had made friends with Fulk, the Brown Company's commander, after besting him in a brawl.

Then they made into the city itself...

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Witchfort Campaign Part 1

The following is the first part of a recap of the last several months of play in the online Nightwick group. One may notice a tendency for the narrative to focus on Stavros and Abraham, which I think is due to the fact that they were the two players who showed up to 100% of the sessions.

The Brambles of the Witchwood

In the spring of this, the 1395th year since the revealing of the Law to the Lady, a terrible battle took place in the ruined Hamlet of Vollage. The forces of Lychgate were soundly defeated by the White Lady and many of the knightly caste of the bishopric were taken hostage. Through some mixture of experience and intuition, Stavros Chrysophylax Balsamon, the fanatical and heretical leader of the Howling Kommandos, guessed Sir Albrecht of Nightwick was among their number and that they were taken to the Witchfort.

Despite Abraham the hunchback's warning that Albrecht had been involved in a scheme to see Stavros brought up before an inquisition, Stavros believed that saving him would greatly benefit the Howling Kommandos as he would be in their debt. Stavros and the other members of the command of the Howling Kommandos sought a meeting with Grumpke, Albrecht's wife.  Seeing that she was quite distraught with the loss of her husband, Stavros promised to rescue him but also made sure to integrate members of her guard into the Howling Kommandos and vice versa. He also made sure that his offer included a number of veiled threats to reinforce that it is the Kommandos who control Nightwick.

The leadership then left the Kommandos under the command of their lieutenant, Fingers, but that tale is told elsewhere. They made their way up the Long Road to Lychgate, pausing a while in the ruins of Vollage where they met a nervous but ultimately amiable group of Frogling merchants. From them they learned that Lychgate had reoriented it's trade such that it was receiving aid from the down river city of Nunhead, and that the Order of the Elk had even made a deal with the Bishop to bolster his army, despite the Bishop's previous belief they were in league with the Yimsley rebels.  

After breaking camp they made their way to Lychgate...

Monday, December 9, 2019

Who's Who in the Howling Kommandos

I was planning on doing a few recaps of the past months of play in Nightwick with the online group, but it made me realize without some background on them you would be unlikely to know what's going on. Here are the PCs I refer to as the leadership of the Howling Kommandos:

Abraham Nermal is a grave-robber turned landowner. He is also a hunchback, as is traditional in his original line of work. He owes his immense wealth to Nightwick Abbey, which he hates. He "knows" the Abbey is alive and continues to adventure there due to his hatred for the thing. He has taken a shine to Aythe, Halfdan the Black's daughter, but the necromancer has urged his daughter to rebuff any of Abraham's advances. Abraham bears a striking resemblance to the King of Karse, which is immediately noticeable to any Karslishman. He is an 8th level rogue.

Stavros Chrysophylax Balsamon is the de facto commander of the Howling Kommandos, ever since Sergeant Udo disappeared several years back. He has adventured in Nightwick since 1389, and on his first outing to that terrible dungeon he was dealt a mortal wound. A cleric named Deodat, now deceased, saved him from death. The combination of this miracle, Deodat's own untimely death, and the horrors of the Abbey have driven Stavros mad. He sometimes manifests a second personality - St. Deodat - who is quite fanatical in his heresies. He is a 7th level fighting man.

Frederick Bull is a fighting frog who, in addition to the Howling Kommandos, often serves as a guard for the van Toad Trading House. He is known for his gaudy Sword Brother plate which depicts the various torments of the Pit - custom fit to him by local blacksmith Duncan. He recently returned from a stint in Hoppland where he had some amorous adventures, and is a bit upset that he missed out on much recent action.

Johanna d'Ligne is a cleric of the Law from Averois. She is giant in stature, towering a head above the rest of the Howling Kommandos, and is known for her great strength. Her ability to locate object recently proved very useful during the campaign for the Witchfort (summary posts coming). She lost her left arm due to a conflagration created by a member of the Cult of the Ever Watchful Eye. Since then she has had it replaced with a franken-arm made by Halfdan, only later realizing that he was a vile necromancer. She is a cleric of 5th level.

Uein of "Nordovulgaria" is a folk hero and exile from the land of Vulgaria. Formerly the land was a group of petty princedoms called the Iron Kingdoms, but recently a High King was elected and united the land. Uein refuses to recognize this blackguard's claim to the throne and so has made his way to the Dark Country to avoid persecution. He is known as a leader of men, often advising Frederick and Stavros when to strike rather than attacking himself. He is a Fighter of 6th level.

Janos Balazsfi is a foul changeling who has renounced his fairy lineage - which he has good reason to resent - and instead become a warrior priest of the Law. He is a servant of St. Gax who has come to put an end to the evil within Nightwick Abbey. He is a cleric of 2nd level.

Whelp is a friend to the common man and musician of great skill. He was there at the founding of the Howling Kommandos - when the then unnamed party slew Big Jean in the Great Swamp near Lychgate and captured the initial recruits - however, after a trip to the Witchwood with former member Flint of the East Wood (now deceased) and another potential recruit, he was lost for many years. After recently aiding the party with gathering their forces to retake the Witchfort, he has hit the road again and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Kozel is a cleric of the Law who has dedicated his life to the cult of Saint Santa Claus. He has done quite a bit of mental gymnastics to justify his favors for the Old God Father Winter - who he believes to be the Saint - and his servant Knecht Ruprecht. He has also played a part in foiling various invasions by Arnawald the Black Eagle of Waldheim, first by awakening Father Winter and then again by placing his name back on the Naughty List. His being part of the Eastern Church allows for more leeway with these heretical acts, though puts Bishop Notker the Unshaven in an awkward position since he has yet to try him for this heresy. Kozel's level is unable to be currently determined as his whereabouts are unknown.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

FLGS Nightwick Session 10: TPK -1

Not... exactly...

Characters Present
Ermel the Dagger - Karslish Human Ranger 3 (Deceased) (writer of the recap)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish Human Rogue 3
Lucius Winterfell - Fair Changeling Warlock Hexblade 3 (Deceased)
Arcturus - Dwarven Rune Knight 3 (Deceased)

26th of November
Delegation of elves, small, came to Nightwick to talk to knights and one stayed in Nightwick after, asking for Lucius. Name's Sugarplum. He's in a hut on the edge of the Fog-bound Forest. He wants Lucius to gather bad and naughty children and put them in the pear wiggler for their sings [sic]. Later we follow a druid named Mervyyn to Nightwick Abbey! We go to 2nd floor (B). We find a room that appears to be an employee's room for devil-men and we leave there and find another room with papers on the floor with 2 cultists licking red blood from the wall. We then go to the other side of the devil-men congregation and Arcturus asks to the see the manager. The manager comes...

[Text ends here, as does the journey of Ermel the Dagger.  How Adran Wildedagger - the only survivor - got the text out is unknown.]

Treasure Gained

XP for the Surviving Player

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Iron Squire

A Fisher of Hell constructs an Iron Squire

Iron Squires are a form of undead created for Armadeus by one of his mortal servants. Some say that it was the Baroness of Averoigne, who is well known for having created many other forms of undead. Still others say these creatures predate her, as they are not found in her demesne, and while there is evidence of the Sword Brothers conduct rituals for their creation they seem unconnected to her presence. Some even rumor that their creation was first done in ruined Acheron before that terrible city was destroyed. Whoever the mortal creator was, they were certainly inspired by Duke Valax, the Master of Things Hidden and one of Armadeus's chief lieutenants.

The creation of an Iron Squire requires a man who has never known or renounced the Law - including satanists, heretics, and pagans - to be sealed completely in a suit of iron filled with spikes, blades such that his flesh is slowly destroyed and his blood drained. The victim may be willing or unwilling, and some maddened human servants of Armadeus have committed themselves to undergo the ritual. At the end of the ritual, all that remains is a skeleton sloshing around in its own blood and viscera inside an iron suit of armor it cannot remove. They are animated solely by the will of Armadeus, his lieutenants, or the peerage of Hell that serves fealty to him. The victim's will is utterly destroyed.

Iron Squires are often in the service of Knights of Hell. Perhaps this is the origin of their name. In combat they wield longswords with deadly accuracy and also may spit up their own steaming viscera, heated to boiling by the fires of the Pit.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Mercenary Companies of the Dark Country

What follows is a list of mercenary companies for use in my Dark Country campaign. All present here have seen action in play in some form or another (posts coming soonish). The prices are for Matt Colville's warfare rules.

The Badgermen/Badder's Boys
Seasoned Medium Crossbowmen
Cost to Hire: N/A (Indefinite contract with Bishop Notker the Unshaven)
Leader: Unknown (Formerly Badder)

These ruthless mercenaries have long served as the enforcers of Bishop Notker throughout the bishopric of Lychgate. Often times they have served as guards in the various villages in the bishopric, including Nightwick.  Recently their number was greatly diminished at the Battle of Vollage, and a few of their number were integrated into the Howling Kommandos. However, a small core may have made it to Lychgate to continue the legacy of the company, and their commander may still be alive somewhere in the Witchwood. 

The Company of the Goose
Green Light Crossbowmen
Cost to Hire: 185 (370)
Leader: Gunther, an oracular goose

A group of Realmish peasants from a small town whose lieutenant is believed to be gifted by the God of Law with the ability to interpret the divine will of St. Gunther, a local goose.  As geese are "ornery beasts given to bellicosity and a warlike spirit," the lieutenant immediately realized the creatures desire for them to head to the Dark Country to enjoy the martial lifestyle.  They were trained in crossbows as part of the levy system used within the realm. Gunther's ability in battle has yet to be determined.

The Corbies
Regular Medium Cavalry
Cost to Hire: 365 (740)
Leader: Sir Gaunt of Fatstaff

This band is a group of knights, squires, and sergeants who dress in all black, blacken their armor, and among the knights have gilded hounskulls over their black bascinets (in appearance of a beak). They have a reputation for not taking any prisoners if a man should take up arms against them but allowing those peasants who do not fight to walk away free.  Rumor says this has caused a schism between the Sir Gaunt of Fatstaff and his lieutenant, since the Corbies never make money from ransoms. Gaunt of Fatstaff is a wiry man of dower countenance, great seriousness, and great ability.

The Brown Company
Regular Light Infantry
Cost To Hire: 160 (320)
Leader: Fulk (Usually mispronounced)

There are few bands of cutthroats and murderers more base but reliable than the Brown Company. Originally formed by the remnants of other mercenary companies in the Borderlands, the Brown Company has fought in battles from Karse to Cuccagna. They are most used to serving as a forlorn hope, but have taken notably few casualties in their time. Fulk is a rough man who loves a good fight, and is known for constantly challenging his lower officers.

The Middle Sons
Green Medium Infantry
Cost to Hire: 160 (320)
Leader: Adolfus the Lesser

This newer mercenary company is composed almost entirely of the lesser sons of mighty nobles.  Not given an inheritance and thrown out into the world to make their own fortunes, they are a sour and caustic lot. Adolfus the Lesser constantly complains to the empty sky about his father, Adlofus the Greater, and his cousin Adolfus the Younger. More interesting perhaps is his lieutenant, Agnes the Loon. She is a woman obviously dressed as a man - with fake bear made of sack cloth. She attempts to maintain the charade despite her compatriots using her real name. She seems to do this out of a perverse desire to emulate fantastical romances.

The Rays of the Sun
Regular Medium Archers
Cost to hire: 395 (790)
Leader: Blind Notch

The Rays of the Sun are an extremely religious company of Archers who only take contracts against those they perceive as the enemies of the God of Law. Despite their name and heraldry they are not Solarists but instead view the Plane of Fire as a creation of the God of Law to shed light upon His enemies. Their leader, Blind Notch, was blinded while contemplating the son, but if told by his lieutenant the range of the enemy can kill a man by muscle memory alone.

The Company of Devils
Regular Light Cavalry
Cost to hire: 220 (440)
Leader: Ramwold Redface

The Company of Devils use devil-men as their mascot though they have never seen one in real life. They are known for immense brutality and the use of hooks fashioned in the likeness of those used by the minions of hell, but shortened for use from horseback. They occasionally moonlight as man catchers. Ramwold is a rowdy son of a bitch who resents his time man catching, but keeps doing it due to the advice of his lieutenant known as Doghead, who knows how their bread is buttered.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

FLGS Nightwick Abbey Session 9: In the Lady's Demesne

Characters Present
Ermel the Dagger - Karslish Human Ranger 3 (and writer of the recap)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish Human Rogue 3
Flint Lichtbringer - Dwarven Paladin and member of the Order of the Elk 
3Lucius Winterfell - Fair Changeling Warlock Hexblade 3
Arcturus - Dwarven Rune Knight 3

19th of November
The gold skull talks! His name is Edric! there are other pieces of him and none of us know this happened except Lucius. We furnished the house! We are now living in a rich burger class of dwelling! We go to the Abbey! We navigate ourselves back to the chasm and I fall in! Oops! Anyway Arcturus obligerates a door and uncovers cultists! Fight of them! Then five more!

***FIGHT IT OUT!!*** 13 dead cultists

We slew them mightily and then Arcturus decides to open up another door and there are nine skeletons!

***FIGHT IT OUT!!*** 9 dead skeletons

Broken bones. We collect 20 gold worth of precious metal plates from the table the skelemans were around. Arcturus kicks open the door the cultists were behind. There are stairs down and we go down them! Down there a scabbish wall with a black void hides within a sharp couple of rooms that are essentially safe room.s Lucius tries some magic things on the wall to no avail. We leave the safe room and go in the direction of voices which lead us to 6 devil-men who talk with us creepily before we engage! And then 10 more cultists

***FIGHT IT OUT!!*** 6 dead devil-men, 10 dead cultists.

After a rough start we prevail and uncover a chest with 1500sp and a potion of yellowish gold, also 2 [suits of] splint mail. We leave!

XP per Person

FLGS Nightwick Abbey: Session 8: Evil Takes Shape

Characters Present
Ermel the Dagger - Karslish Human Ranger 3 (and writer of the recap)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish Human Rogue 3
Lucius Winterfell - Fair Changeling Warlock Hexblade 3
Arcturus - Dwarven Rune Knight 3

12th of November [1395]
It's very cold in the Dark Country now so with the hardened ground there is more travel. A third of the townspeople of Nightwick are gone logging. We deal with the leper [sic] house belonging to the party now. We go to the Abbey! We go to the west [sic] tower and open door to the left. Lucius finds demon statues and nobody's what it means. We continue on to a large room with non-structural columns and alcoves. There's saintly depictions in the alcoves and one giant alcove with a depiction of the spherical God of Law but warbly and ruined.  One of the alcoves has a silver altar that Lucius takes and another has 200 silver pieces in their stone altar. We enter double doors and it's a spherical room! We have reflections and a couple attack us!

***FIGHT IT OUT!!*** 2 dead

They are vanquished by us and we leave the sphere room to enter another room with graphic depiction of a mouth on the floor and a sky in the ceiling. There are deer monsters!

***FIGHT IT OUT!!*** 6 dead

Dead deer, but there are more deer down this other hall! Seven of them.

***FIGHT IT OUT*** 7 dead

A hard-fought battle won and there are yet more noises in a door. There are piles of garbage with animl things under them!

***FIGHT IT OUT*** 5 dead

We killed the garbage beasts and found a trap pit and got across it. The room contains glass vials and a gold skull with ruby eyes. Then we found stairs to the second level of the Abbey! Then Adran finds another trap and disarms it. After an encounter with some baddies we turn back and hightail it back to Nightwick.

XP Per Player

Friday, November 1, 2019

FLGS Nightwick Session 7: Osculum Obscenum

Characters Present
Ermel the Dagger - Karslish Human Ranger 3 (and writer of the recap)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish Human Rogue 3
Flint Lichtbringer - Dwarven Paladin and member of the Order of the Elk 3
Lucius Winterfell - Fair Changeling Warlock Hexblade 3*

Arcturus - Dwarven Rune Knight 3*

29th of Shocktober
Prperations for the Halloween Muster are underway; no attacks from baddies just yet.  A noble wants to, rumor has it, setup a village in the ruins next to the Witchwood [Vollage]. Bad time to do it, since winter is arriving. But that doesn't concern us! Off to the Abbey! It has been raining so the evil kudzu is retreating because of the cold weather. We descend into the East Tower! We find a room full of broken furniture and deer velvet sheddings. The velvet is glowing and the room is breathing. Adran inspects a scab and it sprays him. We use the only other exit, a door that leads to a long hallway. We open a double doors and there are a bunch of 8 mites bowling!

***FIGHT IT OUT!!***

We mopped them clean. Then everyone but me picked up rocks that make them remember someone else's memories and age a year afterwards. Then we go to another door that leads to a bat squeaking and a door encrusted with bat guano. Adran lights the door on fire and we move on to the next door which leads to the room with MUNG written on papers and then the dancing room where we fought sparring skeletons. After that we find a room full of rusted weapons covering 1000cp. Adran collects it. We go back to the bat guano pre-room after it had burned.  In the post-guano room there is about 180 gold worth of silver slag which the two dwarves collect. The next door leads to a closed-off room that Adran explores and triggers a trapped lock. He finds a quicksilver potion and 250 silver pieces. We found ourselves in familiar territory so we go back to the sitting room and enter the door that was mysteriously a scabe beforehand which leads to stairs and a hallway that leads to more stairs and a door. Another room full of broken furniture and antler felt goop. The next room has the offending deermen in it.

***FIGHT IT OUT!!***

Six dermen down. We open a door into the sphincter room. We close the sphincter door and bar it closed. Unfortunately there are baddies!


After killing 4 time ran out and we left the Abbey!

Monsters Killed
8 Mites, 6 Deer-men, 4 Cadaverites

XP Per Player

* I let the two people who died from being lost in the dungeon remake at the same level they were (though with the base xp) because the lost in the dungeon table was triggered by my own physical malady.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

FLGS Nightwick Session 6: Lost in the Dark

Characters Present
Ermel the Dagger - Karslish Human Ranger 3 (and writer of the recap)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish Human Rogue 2
"Sir" Ginger van Evergreen - Frogling Cleric of St Santa Claus 3
Flint Lichtbringer - Dwarven Paladin and member of the Order of the Elk 3
Anastasia Romanov - Novgovite Changeling Warlock of the Archfey 3

(The other two players who had joined left to start a Pathfinder group due to a poor DM/Player ratio at the store)

22nd of Shocktober
Town pop has doubled almost! Mercenaries from Lichgate [sic] showed up along with a bunch of knights after campaigning against Witchwood. Lord Albrecht has returned! Adran and I did crime, and we failed but escaped ok. Anastasia was waiting for us to go to the Abbey. We decided to go to the graveyard again and the entrance we used disappeared behind us. We go into a room full of skulls and when Adran gets to the middle of the room there are wheel skellies!


We killed the wheel skellies but we get separated again. Trying to find our way around, we try to find our way back, ending up in another skull room; only rat skulls this time. Ginger and Anastasia journey on their own and find a room full of brokenup skeleton limbs. Insight tells both Ginger and I that scabs on doorways mean edges of the Abbey existence.  We encountered some more wheel skellies

***FIGHT IT - wait actually GM feels bad so time to roll to get out!

Adran, Flint, and I make it out.*

Monsters Defeated
"wheel skellies"

XP per Surviving Player

*Ginger was killed by monsters and Anastasia was possessed by a host of fiends and now wanders the dungeon.  I used this table, which I need to drastically revised given the amount of time it takes to make a 5e character.

Monday, October 21, 2019

FLGS Nightwick Session 5: The Anchorite

Characters Present
Ermel the Dagger - Karslish Human Ranger 3 (and writer of the recap)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish Human Rogue 2
"Sir" Ginger van Evergreen - Frogling Cleric of St Santa Claus 3
Flint Lichtbringer - Dwarven Paladin and member of the Order of the Elk 3
Anastasia Romanov - Novgovite Changeling Warlock of the Archfey 3

Vlad - "Priest" [Wizard] of the "One True God" 2
Aradon, Son of Evermore - Dwarven Barbarian 1

15th of Shocktober
[Aythe] lets us know that the dwarf barbarian that was with us is being held for ransom for 61 gold.* So we go to murder them. Off to the Abbey! A cockerel crows as we break through to the Abbey. Some creatures tell us the same thing as [Aythe], and Anastasia threatens them. One of the mongrelmen had some sass so we pin cushioned him.  The rest gather the barbarian and return him to us. We decide to follow the mongrelmen. We descend into the west tower and go into the left door. Flint licks a pulsing tumor with small creatures in them like tiny old men. After that he hacks at it and rouses it from its slumber.


... And it dies in one hit. We spend some time killing the rest of the tumor mens. We enter another door with the sound of crying behind it in a room full of paper detritus. Adran gets pushed in to check for traps and gets downed immediately by invisible claws.


They are victorious but the abbey changes, separating me from the rest of the party.  I head back to the entrance.  Meanwhile they loot the room that the baddie was in.  They get 2 scrolls (1 w/3 spells the other 1 spell), a chaise lounge, and a golden cross. There are goblins!


They burninate them and some stupid stuff happened that the Abbey rewinded and kept from happening** Friends, everyone.

There are goblins tending a jail!


They prevailed after some pratfalls against the goblins.

We go back to Nightwick, Anastasia leaves.

Monsters Defeated
A Lost Soul, the Anchorite, a bunch of goblins

Treasure Gained
180gp, chaise lounge, golden cross, 2 scrolls, 2 dogs.

XP Per Player

*The result of a roll on this chart.

** There was some player v player conflict that ended in a maiming and I decided to rewind time to not have things escalate in that manner.  It was a poor kludge.

FLGS Nightwick Session 4: Look Out Stomach...

Characters Present
Ermel the Dagger - Karslish Human Ranger 2 (and writer of the recap)
Adran Wildedagger - Karslish Human Rogue 2
"Sir" Ginger van Evergreen - Frogling Cleric of St Santa Claus 2
Flint Lichtbringer - Dwarven Paladin dedicated to St Richard the Prior 2
Anastasia Romanov - Novgovite Changeling Warlock of the Archfey 2

Rhiannon Fleetwood - Karslish Human Druid 1 (Played by my wife, who has played every incarnation of Nightwick)
Aradon, Son of Evermore - Dwarven Barbarian 1

8th of Shocktober
We leave the village about dawn for the Abbey.  This time we go towards the west tower! Flint kicks the door open, and then tries to stomp the trap door open, only to have his leg go through the door.  I help the dumb dwarf out of the door and the barbarian dwarf opens the trap door like a civilized being. Down into the trap door and into a room with flower columns [sic]! We open a door to noises and there are leather-face guys torturing some creature!

***FIGHT IT OUT!!***

We smushed um, but Flint accidentally killed the chimera that was being tortured. Rhiannon found a secret button on the St Gax column [sic]! It opens a secret door to a secret room.  There's another door with noises behind it. Time to immediately open it! There are rats with crow's heads!

***FIGHT IT OUT!!***

We kill the swarms and there are 100 silver and 4 habits. another door, another room with a pedestal and a book.  Anastasia picks up the book and blood gushes out. The barbarian tries to sunder the source, only to make it gush more.  Meanwhile, Ardan opens another room that yells "thief!" at him. "Liar!" at Ginger. The barbarian jumps into the blood hole and gets lost in space and time.  Anyway there are cultists!

***FIGHT IT OUT!!***

We killed 5 of them and the last one runs away!

Monsters Defeated
2 Berserkers, 2 swarms of Awful Rats, 6 Cultists

Treasure Gained
100 silver, 4 habits

XP Per Player