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.

Nolenor Journal updated

Our Roll20 game continued last night with the inclusion of a new player, Rik. We’ve played together for a long time through various play by post forums, but it is great to have him join us on Roll20. If you are not familiar with online gaming via Roll20, you would benefit in trying it. Send me a message if you need more information, tips, game experiences, etc. I’m not an expert on it by any means, but I do use Roll20 and find it really useful.

Our updated Nolenor campaign notes are here.

Day 50 at the Keep

Photo by Lars Stuifbergen on Unsplash

Arden and Company walk through the Keep gates by midmorning. The sky is cloudy but no rain. The company is greeted by the guards and residents. The site of a cloak wrapped body astride one of the horses causes all to pause. Guards stand at attention and merchants doff their caps.

Sir Kent meets with Arden, Martin, and Sgt Tenning. The sergeant corroborates Arden’s retelling of events in the Caves and the orc encounter. Sir Kent is sorry to see a good man die, but this is a painful reality on the borderlands. Knowing that a warband of orcs has been routed gives honor to the fallen soldier. A military funeral will be held in three days in his honor. Arden asks if the man had family at the Keep. Sir Kent replies no, but he will send a letter to the Duke of Dent describing the orc attack and the fallen soldier. Arden asks Sir Kent what the man’s monthy wages were at the Keep. It is 10 pieces of silver per month. Arden offers Sir Kent 120 silver pieces to be sent to the man’s family. Sir Kent thanks Arden and asks him what he would have done if many more soldiers had fallen? Arden doesn’t know, but the soldier was brave and should be rewarded.

Notes–In all, there were 1,548 sp recovered. [I converted gold to silver since my campaign is on the silver standard.] The four principals of the Company will receive 206sp each and the henchmen will gain 103sp (a half share). The archers are paid for their service by Sir Kent, but Arden will give them some silver for their good service. Each PC earned 180xp and the henchmen 90xp. No xp for Sir Kent or the archers. Overall, I thought it went rather well. I really wanted to ignore the high roll for numbers of orcs appearing, but I didn’t. The battle looked grim but Arden and Company managed to best them. There are multiple threads to follow now that the PCs have made it back to the Keep. I look forward to playing soon.

Great news! I almost forgot to write about this, but Arden and Company’s henchmen have earned a little more than 100 xp and now I feel justified in converting each of them into true character classes. They will all be getting a big increase in hit points and should be much better in combat.

More to come…

Midfall, 3rd Week (Day 49)

Photo by Lou Levit on Unsplash

Arden set to the grisly task of sawing the chieftain’s head off. The hobgoblin had many features of smaller goblins he had encounter, but much larger. The brute was taller and heavier than Arden and certainly stronger. Sgt. Tenning and his men were reliving the moment they pincushioned the hobgoblin leader. Arden thanked the soldiers for the good work and made it clear that the leader had been wounded by his company moments before. He promised each man additional silver for finishing the job. (Then he quickly took the hobgoblin’s gem studded belt for the company!)

The chieftain’s head was placed on a spear in front of the hobgoblin’s entrance to the Caves of Chaos. Arden wished this didn’t need doing, but the message would be plain for all to see. Hopefully the remainder of the hobgoblin tribe will move back into the mountains.

The remainder of the day was spent in searching the hobgoblin lair, moving any valuables and guarding the operation. They encounter no hobgoblins, but Arden knew that as the sun went down, the company had best be out of the area. They were taking a great chance now that Corwin’s spells were exhausted, but much was gained today.

A large trove of armor and weapons were found in the lair. The company made several trips in and out of the Caves. They tied as much as they could to their horses and hid the reamaining weapons in the forest near where Egg Barkley quartered the horses.

The evening found Arden and Company many miles from the Keep and in need of making camp. A decision was made to set watch and build several fires for a short rest.

Martin heard the noise first. A movement through the woods on the north side of the Old Trade Road. Quickly the men retreated back a dozen yards from the fire as out of the forest poured a large war party of orcs! The horses whinnied in fear as three score of orcs slowed at site of the fire and then fanned out.

With the river at their back and the orcs in front of them. Arden commanded the company to fire at will. [Question-is the moon full tonight? FU die roll=6 yes! I rule -1 to hit with missile fire, but no penalty during melee attacks.]

Some of the orcs carry shortbows but will be at a disadvantage due to long range for the first round. The company have longbows, so Arden’s men will have no penalty for range.

Round1 The orcs volley first with shortbows. They have darkvision, but still are a fair distance from Arden and Company.

I rule that 1/3 of the orcs have shortbows…so 20 shots are fired with target number of 10 to hit (-1 for range). The orcs score two hits, but one is a critical! The critical hits Goat Bentley in his leg. He will be -1 to attack for the remainder of the battle. The other arrow strikes Martin’s armor (-2 pts).

The company returns fire…attack roll needed is 10 (-1 for darkness but nothing for distance due to longbows)

Sgt. Tenning and 12 archers fire…wounded a lone orc.

The rest of the company fires but all miss.

Question-do the orcs charge this round, FU result=1 No. They will fire again.

Round 2 One orc breaks his bow string! Ha! But three of his brothers hit. An arrow hits a soldier and cuts his bow string in the process. Meklin and another soldier are hit.

Arden and Company return fire. Soldiers hit with four arrows but Arden and his comrades miss. One orc is hit in the leg. In total, five orcs are wounded.

Round 3 Orcs will volley once more! Three orc arrows find their mark!

Catamont takes an arrow, Handsome Brune takes another, and a soldier is hit for second time! [I statted the soldiers as 4/+2 hit points]

Corwin is wishing he had one spell point left!

Arden and Company return fire scoring six hits (two criticals!) Three orcs have taken mulitple shots and lie dead! [57 remain!]

Question-do the orcs charge now? FU Die=5, yes!

Round 4 As the orcs move forward, the company lets loose more volley. Six orcs are hit! One orc is killed! [56 remain] As the orcs approach, Arden orders swords drawn!

Reroll Initiative….Orcs=1, Company=4

Round 5 Arden looks for the chieftain…can he spot him in the moonlight? FU die-1 modifier=4, yes, but he has some orcs in the way! Arden screams a battle cry and wades towards the orc leader! Catamont is right behind Arden, and Martin and Thane are on either side. Corwin prepares oil and torch and stays back. Arden hits an orc but only wounds him. Egg Barkley kills a wounded orc! [55 remain]

The soldiers attack with handaxe or sword. Three orcs take wounds and one more orc is killed! [54 left]. The soldiers bunch together and are surrounded. [I rule that each of the company will be attacked by two orcs and the orcs gain +1 to hit for this. They now need an 8 to hit.]

The orcs are quite efficient in close combat. They wound Arden, Thane, Egg, Corwin, Catamont, and ten of the soldiers. One of the soldiers has fallen! [He will bleed out in two rounds due to his chainmail.]

Round 6 Thane kills an orc and Arden kills another opening a path to the leader. Catamont, Martin, and Meklin also dispatch a foe. Corwin throws oil on an orc, dousing him soundly. Sgt Tenning wounds one and his soldiers wound two more. [49 remain]

Orcs continue to gang up on the company. The orc leader has moved towards Arden. He has two burly bodyguards flanking him. All three wield heavy two handed axes. Arden is slashed by one of the bodyguards. Meklin is battered by an orc and falls! [He has two rounds before bleeding out.]

Thane receives a wicked cut but stands strong. Egg is slashed but not beaten. [Sorry, I couldn’t resist.] Sgt Tenning and five of his men take wounds.

Arden and Martin focus their attacks on the orc leader hoping to break their morale.

Round 7 Arden and Martin both spend luck points to hit the orc chieftain. They manage to cut through his armor and begin to bloody him.

Corwin throws a torch and luckily finds its mark, setting an orc ablaze. (He had to spend one luck point to hit!) The orc runs off to die!

Handsome hits an orc and wounds it. [48 orcs remain and the leader is injured]

The chieftain and one of his bodyguards both cut Arden. Martin, Catamont, Goat, and Thane are all wounded. Egg takes a serious cut that lays him low! [Egg has chainmail and will die in two rounds].

Two more soldiers fall and six more take wounds.

Round 8 Arden and Company attack, hopefully for the last time!

Arden misses and is out of luck. Martin spends a luck point to do extra damage on the leader. The orc staggers back, reeling from the blow, but still has a little life in him.

Thane throws his magic handaxe at the leader…[roll=8! +1 magic=9!] The chieftain is hit hard by the dwarf’s handaxe and falls dead! [He was a level 3 orc with chain and large axe, 7/+1 hp]

Catamont and the soldiers wound four more orcs. With their leader slain and 12 of their tribe killed, the tide turns! The orcs retreat, howling back to the forest!

Meklin is tended to by Corwin, barely saving him. Egg and two of the other soldiers are bandaged and will survive, unfortunately one soldier has died.

Considering the situation, they are very fortunate. Another lesson is learned…Corwin needs to have some magic in reserve. He doesn’t know what magic the wand holds but will examine it closely in the immediate future.

One horse snapped his lead and ran away. The remainder are safe. Arden and Company set a watch and tend to their injuries. Martin will look for the horse in the morning.

In the morning, Arden and Company break camp. Martin finds fresh tracks of the missing horse, but it leads off into the woods. Returning to the Keep is the most important thing to do now. Wounded and weary, the company begin moving west to the Keep.

More to come…

Day 48 Hobgoblins!

farmerownia (www.farmerownia.pl) (www.faun-forge.com) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s good to get back to my Perils on the Borderlands solo game. It is a labor of love and I’m thankful there are no deadlines for continuing the game. I’m happy to say that I’ve been getting a lot of time at the table via our weekly Fatbeards Roll20 game and also the game club I started this year at my school. The Roll20 games run the gamut from Boothill to Odnd. When I take a turn behind the screen, I like to run Pits and Perils and sometimes Risus. We change up the games a bit, but it is always a great time no matter what the rules. During our Game Club, the students always look forward to playing Basic Fantasy after school on Thursdays. They are exploring the old fort near Morgansfort as an introduction to BFRPG. I’m really energized by their enthusiam. They are loving every minute of it.

Now back to the Perils on the Borderlands…

Day 48

Arden and Company break camp and move towards the Caves of Chaos. Egg Barkley settles the horses down and makes a base camp nearby (in a secluded area). He will tend the mounts and keep watch for anything moving along the road.

Arden and Company return to the Caves and enter the goblin caves. Sgt Tenning and a dozen archers wait outside. They are ready with longbow and also carry chainmail, shield, and sword. It is large enough force to make any group think twice in engaging.

The company moves carefully through the goblin holdings and in one chamber to the west, they encounter two hobgoblin guards. They quickly dispatch the guards and move on.

In a torture chamber, two more hobgoblins are met. The also fall with little injury to the company.

Arden meets their first real resistance in what appears in a dining hall. Nine hobgoblins attack the company. Corwin uses a web spell to slow the hobgoblins assault. This is followed with a fire bolt to kill several in the chamber. Arden and Company slay many of them and leave the female hobgoblins alone.

Alarmed has been raised by sounds of the battle. Reinforcements meet Arden at the top of a stairway. The hobgoblins fire crossbows and rush to attack with maces. Once again Corwin casts a fear spell, causing the attackers to retreat in several directions. One hobgoblin decides to flee out of an entrance. He meets a quick death by Sgt. Tenning and his archers waiting outside.

The company moves farther into the lair. They find three hobgoblins cowering in fear. Corwin requests they be left alone for now. The spell will wear off in a little less than an hour.

Arden is met by the remainder of the hobgoblin tribe–a large brute in platemail and shield, four large body guards, and four females that are looking for a fight. Corwin unleashes his last fear spell and the hobgoblin’s clan deserts him. The big chieftain decides to flee as well, but not before he his fallen upon by the company.

Battered and bloodied, the chieftain makes a desperate escape through a secret door. [Note–I used the pursuit houserules by Abraham Gray. He has an excellent site filled with Pits and Perils goodies.]

The hobgoblin chieftain rushes through the goblin lairs (empty now) fleeing from Arden and Company. He runs out of one of the entrances and is met by the archers. Two volleys of arrow fire and he is riddled with arrows. He had been bloodied before and is now a pin cushion.

Arden and Company make a careful search of the hobgolin lair and find a trove of loot and weapons including a magic wand of paralyzation and a vial of poison. The will return to the Keep with as much as they can carry. The rest, they will remove from the Caves and make a cache of equipment to recover at another time.

Solo play continues to be a great diversion for me. I sit at my desk and watch as the scenes unfold. It continues to be a worthwhile way to adventure game.

More to come…