Day 61 ~ Owlbears and Ooze!

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Note~I’ve adjusted all the henchmen’s hit points to reflect their new status as 1st level henchmen. Also, I was wondering about exceptional abilities. In reading the Complete Pits & Perils rulebook, I noted that 2-in-6 peasants have some exceptional ability. I rolled this for each of the henchmen and the results are…

Goat Bently…is hardy…he has the constitution of a goat! He is older than the others in the company, but one tough old fellow.

Catamont Beerling is wise…he had the wisdom to leave Coot’s Mill behind, especially the evil influence of his mother. She works the tavern in Coot’s Mill and has connection to bandits in the area.

Meklin R’bonic is also wise…he is a mysterious foreign born warrior, older than the others but not as old as Goat. Dark skinned and quiet, he has the wisdom to observe quietly and act when the time is right.

Egg Barkley and Handsome Brune have no special abilities, but they are loyal and true companions.

So I will add these abilities to our current company…

Arden, a charismatic fighter, Martin, a wise cleric, Thane, a clever dwarf, and Corwin, a clever magician.

The group is lacking a real sneaky thief, but Thane is doing his best.

Day 61~Arden and Corwin do some trading with the merchants in the Keep. They decide to offer the sable coat to Sir Kent. It is a valuable prize and the Castellan is quite impressed with it. Corwin had the smarts to get it cleaned! Sir Kent will offer this as a gift for his wife, Lady Amy.

A few days pass and Arden and Company rest again and make preparations for their next adventure.

Martin offers 55sp more for the church he is building in Coot’s Mill. I estimated that a two-story wooden building would cost approximately 1500sp. [I am using a silver standard, so just substitue gp whenever I mention cost.] The building of the church hit a snag. The workers were needed to help their kin folk attend to harvest chores.

Day 65~Arden hires a wagon and horses and makes a foray to recover the weapons cache they had hidden. It takes two long days to get the weapons and return. No monsters were encountered and all came back safe and sound.

The total cache of weapons and arms were sold in part to the Provisioner and to the Castellan. [I figured resale of the items at 50% of their original price.] The company nets 838sp!

Corwin spends some time trying to read the cursed blade. He is still unaware of its curse but has learned that it is a magic item. He decides to offer it to any member of the company that wants it. [This won’t go well.]

[An interesting side note…when the cursed sword was found, I figured that Thane would be the first to handle it. I rolled a saving throw for him and he passed it! I also rolled saves for Meklin and Corwin and they both passed their saves! So, the cursed sword didn’t latch onto anyone just yet.]

Handsome Brune takes the sword. He will find out how bad the weapon is soon.

Day 68 ~ mild weather.

Arden and Company leave early in the morning with Sgt Tenning and the archers escorting. All are on horseback.

Encounter during the day? No.

They camp once again at the Overlook.

Night encounter? No.

Day 69 ~ The company approaches the Caves of Chaos. Egg and three archers guard the horses.

Encounter? Yes! In the dappled shade of the hillside, the company run across a small group of skeleton warriors! Their armor hangs from their raggedy frames. The company is surprised for a moment by the silent warriors. The skeletons close and attack with their rusted swords and spears.

Perhaps they sense the power of the cleric, but three of the skeletons move towards Martin to attack! One stabs at Martin hitting his armor!

The skeletons win initiative and Martin is struck once more!

Martin holds his holy symbol in the air and the skeletons flee from the company.

Question-Does the Company pursue the skeletons? No, but Martin will make preparations back at the Keep to confront them next time. Stocking up on holy water and asking the Curate for any other help they may give. The Company watches the skeletons flee up the hill and into a cave at the far end of the valley.

Under the stand of trees, they find another cave entrance on a lower level near the valley floor. Corwin decides to send Nicodemus into the cave to scout ahead. The familiar sneaks into the dark opening.

Nicodemus hears noise from the left tunnel–snapping sounds and perhaps gulping. The cat decides to go the right tunnel first. In this cave is a pool, the drip of water is heard. In the pool, Nicodemus spies several blind fish swimming lazily. He bats at them just missing one. Immediately, the cat hears a wet sound and jumps back as a gray sheet of goop falls from the ceiling. It strikes Nicodemus as it lands but fails to grab ahold of the cat. Nicodemus takes a heavy blow from the ooze. [Doing 2 points of damage!] The cat scats back out of the tunnel before any more things fall on his head.

Corwin observes this with a magical link to his familiar. Nicodemus shoots out of the cave and runs past his master to climb up a tree and sulk.

Corwin relates the events to the others. They will explore this cave very cautiously.

Thane and Arden enter first and listen. They also hear a noise from the left tunnel. They post Catamont and Meklin at the cave entrance with torches and oil just in case the ooze creeps their way. The others move down the left tunnel. Bones and dead leaves are scattered about in this area. The stench is overpowering. They decide to move on.

As they move farther into the cave, they hear a loud roar. In the torchlight, they see a hulking form that looks like a great grizzley bear covered in feathers. It stands on its hind legs and brandishes sharp claws and snaps with a vicious beak! An owlbear!

Arden and Company are ready for it! Thane throws his magic axe of returning…a critical hit! The axe bounces off the owlbear’s head causing the owlbear to lose it’s next attack!

Arden throws his spear…11! Arden adds a luck point to make it a 12. The owlbear takes two more points of damage.

Goat fires an arrow and hits the creature for two more points! The cavern is large enough for Arden to use his greatsword. They spread out as the creature charges. It targets Thane and attacks with claws and beak! One claw and the beak hit the dwarf. Thane takes 4 points of damage!

Arden swings his greatsword…but misses. Thane chops with his handaxe…misses. Handsome attacks with his cursed sword…hits! Surprisingly! Martin swings his two-handed morning star…misses! Goat readies an arrow but will wait, not wanting to hit the others. Corwin prepares a fire bolt spell but will also hold.

Intitiative…PCs=5, Owlbear=2

Handsome and Meklin both strike the owlbear. It is starting to bleed heavily, but has a little life yet. It strikes back at Handsome…only its beak hits the warrior. [2 points damage]

Initiative…both rolls are 1…simultaneous!

All of the Company hit! The owlbear strikes at Handsome…both claws slash the fighter [doing 4 more points! Handsome has 2 hp left. Good thing he wore his chainmail shirt!] The owlbear shrieks one last time and drops to the cave floor. It shudders once and is dead!

Martin heals Handsome, restoring 4 hit points.

The Company moves farther into the cave finding the owlbear’s nest. They find the half eaten corpse of a gnoll and searching through the nest they uncover a scroll. It is a scroll of protection from undead. Corwin will keep this, but the scroll is written to allow clerics to use it as well.

Question–Do any of the gray oozes leave their pool to investigate? FU die=2, thankfully no!

The Company search the other areas of the cave system for secret doors and find nothing, so they return to the entrance.

Question–Does Thane or Corwin (both are intelligent) have any knowledge about slimes or oozes? Thane has heard tales of them, but doesn’t know their weakness. Corwin does not know either.

In the torchlight, Thane can see three distince gray blobs. One hanging from the ceiling and two others near the pool. One begins a slow crawl towards Thane. The company launches oil and torches but the ooze crawls right through it. Arden throws his spear but misses. Thane throws his handaxe and it misses as well. The creature moves quicker towards the Company and Arden takes a swing at it with his greatsword. 12…a critical! He cuts it into it doing 3 points of damage. Arden looks in dismay as he holds up the smoking ruins of his greatsword! The creature’s acid melted the blade!

The creature rears back and slams at Arden barely missing him.

The rest of the Company retreat as Arden tries to slow the creature. The ooze strikes at Arden once more…an 11! Arden wisely spends 3 luck points to keep the creature from hitting him! He then turns to run out of the cave, but the ooze lashes out one more time battering his chainmail [doing 1 point of damage]. Arden rushes out of the cave and the others strip him out of his chainmail. The metal quickly liquifies before their eyes. His armor is ruined.

Thane notices that the stone of the cave didn’t appear to be damaged by the acid. He keeps this bit of information tucked away for future reference.

The Company decides to return to the Keep. Arden needs new armor and a new weapon. The Caves will still be here when they return another day.

Game notes–not much treasure gained this time, but some valuable information. The Company now knows of undead in the area and the cave they came from. They gained a valuable scroll of protection from undead and killed an owlbear. XP=70xp for the owlbear and 75xp for 5 skeletons. Total=145xp.

Day 58 Gnolls and Cursed Swords

Arden and Company leave the Keep and travel to the Caves of Chaos. They encounter no creatures and make camp at Overlook Hill. The night passes and nothing disturbs their slumber.

Day 59~After a hot breakfast of eggs and sausages, the company makes their way toward the caves. They tie off the horses on the east side of the road. Egg stays behind with three archers to guard the horses.

Sgt. Tenning and eight archers accompany the adventurers.

Question–Do the hobgoblins return to their lair? Roll the FU die=result is 2. No, the hobgoblins have pulled up stakes and moved elsewhere. It won’t be long before the caves are filled again.

The company looks at some of the other unexplored caves. [I randomly choose a new cave for their exploration and result is cave J]

Arden and Thane approach a cave entrance higher up the hillside. Two gnolls come out and shoot arrows at them but miss. The company archers return fire, riddling the gnolls with arrows, killing them.

Arden and Thane move into the cave and are attacked by two more gnoll guards. The guards put up a fight, but are quickly cut down. Thane finds 17sp and 24cp on them. The rest of the company joins them as Sgt Tenning and his archers stand watch outside.

The cave tunnel continues as a long corridor with a flight of stairs going down. Thane moves first down the stairs and into an intersection. He attracts arrow fire from more gnolls. [Thane has the combat manuever “Cover” which keeps him from being hit by missile fire as long as he does not attack. His movement is limited to 10′ per round while using this.]

Thane moves back up the stairs, luring the gnolls. Three gnolls rush forward and are met by arrow fire from Goat and Meklin at the top of the stairs. Two gnolls are wounded.

Arden and Thane defend the top of the stairs. [I give them a tactical advantage for this, +1 to hit.] They cut down many gnolls but man and dwarf are injured in the battle. The corridor is only 10′ at this point and I rule that Arden does not have room to swing a greatsword with Thane beside him. Arden has switched to spear for this fight.]

The gnoll chieftain, his two sons, and four more gnolls rush the stairs. Martin heals Arden while he is in battle. Even so, Arden has to pull back and let Meklin fight in his stead. Thane injures one of the sons and Meklin kills the chieftain! The other gnolls retreat back to their common room to make a last stand.

During the battle, Thane had rolled two critical misses! I roll on the critical miss chart and it shows that his magic handaxe is sundered. Since it is magical, I roll a save. It passes the first save, but fails the second time. I rule that the axe is not completely broken, but loses its +1 to hit. It will still return upon throwing it. Thane will have to have the magic restored somehow. That will make for another adventure sometime.

Martin gives healing herbs to Arden, Thane, and Meklin. [Each are restored one hit point.] They find two silver armbands on the chieftain. [50sp each] and 37sp in a pouch. The company stands guard near the common room. The gnolls stay put, preferring to defend the room. Martin, Thane, and Meklin move into the chieftain’s room to loot it. They find no treasure. [They also fail to spot the secret door and the treasure within. Boots of Elvenkind!]

In another guard room, they find a sable cloak among the furs. It needs cleaning but is very valuable. [450sp]. They also find a locked door which Thane prys open using his crowbar. Inside is a cache of weapons…7 shields, a suit of dwarven chain, 12 handaxes, 3 longbows, 5 quivers of arrows [100 total], and a fine longsword. [This is a cursed weapon, -1 to hit.] Thane finds a keg leaking ale. It is good ale and he takes some long pulls on it. [He gains another hit point but makes his save vs drunkeness!]

The company leaves the caves, taking the gnoll weapons cache with them. They hide these in the forest nearby, along with the other weapons they had recovered from the hobgoblins. Arden will need to bring a wagon to cart this haul back to the Keep sometime soon.

The company makes camp at Overlook Hill again. [No encounters] and make it safely back to the Keep the evening of Day 60.

Notes~With treasure and monsters slain, the company earns about 500xp for this trip. Corwin gains a new level. He is now a 4th level magician. The cursed sword is an interesting development…

More to come…

Perils on the Borderlands~Day 50 Return to the Keep

Note~I have decided to try something a little different. In the Collected Pits & Perils rulebook there is a variant for hit points. In this session of my game I have converted all the PCs to the variant hit points rules. It reduces the hit point total by approximately 50% for most classes, but much more for magicians and elves. This makes for more fragile players to begin. Additional hit points are +1 for each level. I want to do this, not in order to hasten the death of any of the PCs, but to increase the tension during combat. Pits & Perils characters are very robust and can take a lot of damage. It lets the players spend more time exploring, instead of tucking tail and running. The most fun for me occurs when the characters are close to death. Tactics can make all the difference in that case. So, I’m going to try it and see how the variant plays out.

Day 50~Martin, Goat, and Handsome wander the forest near the Keep looking for healing herbs. Martin finds two bunches but the other men find none.

Egg Barkley makes preparations for the company’s next trip to the caves. His job is quartermaster, teamster, chief cook and bottle washer. Egg has recently sent a letter to his wife and is expecting her and their daughter to travel to the Keep within the next month. They are living in Haversham in the County of Dent to the south.

Thane, the dwarf, continues to “relax” at the forge. He makes several more caltrops and repairs the dings and dents in the company’s armor. When finished, he sharpens and oils all the the blades. Work makes him happy and when the forge grows cool, he can head over to the tavern for ale and roast beef.

Corwin studies the rope they found in the caves. It is magically and Corwin takes time to learn of its secrets. Through experimentation, he finds that the rope will obey commands. It can tie, untie, knot itself for climbing, snake up a wall to fasten onto a point, and all manner of remarkable things. Corwin will carry this item in his backpack.

Arden meets with Sir Kent, the Castellan. The company will give 120sp to the fallen soldier’s family. Sgt Tenning has 11 archers now.

A week passes at the Keep as the men unwind and rest. Martin finds two more bunches of healing herbs. Arden finds quarters in the Keep for some of the company. It is a larger apartment and can house Thane, Corwin, and himself. Martin is staying at the chapel of the Keep. Egg, Goat, and Meklin are staying in Coot’s Mill. Catamont is now a henchman and not just another paid meatshield. He stays on with Arden and the others, not burdened by debt, but by loyalty.

Ant Wand

Cornwall the Odd brushed the last remnants of the honey cake from his robe. “It is always a pleasant treat to visit you, Zultan.”

“Perhaps if you had let me know of your visit, I would have set a larger table,” the small wizard said without a hint of sarcasm.

They sat outside of the wizard’s house beneath the shade of a blue petaled spiderwort. The wildflower was enormous…or rather the two wizards were very, very, small. A chittering and clicking sound came from around the side of the red toadstool. The tough, woody stem had been carved into a comfortable hut. Inside could be found chairs, a table, several large cupboards, all of which were smaller than a thumbnail.

Zultan Vee had learned long ago that his fondness for solitude did not require solid towers or a crocodiles filled moat. Instead, he simply made himself very inconspicuous.

Cornwall lifted his feet high into the air as a black ant ran under the table. “This is most unbecoming for a wizard of my stature!,” Corwall shouted as the ant quickly cleaned up the crumbs of his honey cake.

Zultan Vee couldn’t help but burst out laughing. The ant was the size of a hound and it was greedily lapping up crumbs of the cake.

Cornwall examined the mandibles of the ant. They were the size of daggers. Zultan Vee had indeed shrunk to the size of an ant, but now he had an army of insects at his beck and call.

The two wizards finished their discussion as the lazy afternoon wore on into evening. As they parted, Zultan produced a curious object for Cornwall. It was a segmented stick that looked strangely enough like an ant’s antennae. “Here’s the ant wand you wanted. Be careful with it and return it to me when you are finished.”

Game Notes~~The ant wand is actually a giant ant antennae, enchanted to allow the user to communicate with any insect. The user may be able to persuade the insects to assist him [with a sucessful saving throw]. Otherwise, the user can spend one charge of the wand to bend the insects to his will for a short amount of time [DMs discretion on just how long this may be]. The ant wand will have 1d12 charges when found and may be recharged.