Day 80 ~ The Temple Falls

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Thane paused to catch his breath. Blood trickled down his arms, some of it his own but much of it his enemies. “Look at the gems! They are the size of quail eggs! It wouldn’t hurt to take just a few, no?”

“Help yourself,” replied Martin, “but there’s a good chance that eternal damnation accompanies anything of value in this hole.”

The dwarf pulled his calloused hand back a bit. He had witnessed too much damnation for one dwarf’s lifetime today. The evil priest of the temple had been captured but more trouble loomed on the horizon. Two score of undead were at this moment shambling back to the temple. Their leader, the evil priest lay in the corner, battered and tied with rope. No one could say what control he might still have over his undead minions.

Arden and Company were battered themselves. The taking of the temple was a brilliant tactical move. They had raced down the Trade Road, pushing their mounts to near exhaustion, arriving at the Caves of Chaos just hours before the evil priest and his men who had taken a route through the forest.

Arden had bet that the evil priest’s legions of undead would move even slower, and this was exactly how it went.


The Company snuck into the temple and found little resistance, two adepts and a handful of undead guardians. One adept was killed but the other fled into the crypt area. Fortunately, Nicodemus, Corwin’s black cat familiar, spied the adept and they trailed him.

The adept met his end but not before freeing a medusa who was chained in a cell. Arden and Thane bravely battled the creature and killed it. Arden was poisoned by a viper’s bite. The medusa attempted to turn them to stone, but both men averted their eyes just in time. [Both saved vs her gaze!]. There was more to explore in the crypt but that also would have to wait. The Company killed a gelatinous cube that blocked one hallway. Fire, arrows, and a well placed sword cut ended that problem.

Nicodemus had been sent to watch from a tree near the entrance. He alerted the Company when the evil priest and his men approached. Thane covered a hallway with caltrops and laid oil in a great pool near the spot where the Company waited.

In a short time, the tunnel erupted in flame and arrow fire. The evil men-at-arms pushed forward, but the Company was ready on both sides of an intersection. As some of the evil priest’s men fell, he moved up to use his snake staff on Arden. Corwin cast fear and many of the men fled, including the evil priest! Arden, Catamont, and Meklin all reached for the priest and grappled with him, pulling him back to them. Corwin used the robe of climbing to magically bind the priest. One adept and a handful of men-at-arms fled out of the temple, but the priest was captured!


Corwin scratched Nicodemus under the chin, “You’ve earned a week of fish dinners when we get back to the inn!”

Sir Michel stood nearby, his bravado gone and his armor filthy with gore. “Master Corwin, how long do you think it will take Sir Kent and the soldiers to get here?”

“We left in quite a hurry, young knight. I don’t believe they will be here before the horde returns.”

Arden pulled the evil priest to his feet, “That is why we are leaving too. Martin is exhausted, you are also drained, Corwin. If we are attacked in force now, we wouldn’t win. Let’s move out of here and gather our horses. They are tired as well. We will walk a little way towards the Overlook with our prisoner. With good fortune we’ll meet Sir Kent before that damned army of dead.”

“I just hope that he isn’t a magnet for that army,” Corwin whispered to no one in particular.

Game Notes ~ My goodness! The battle in the temple was a narrow victory. Corwin’s last spell, fear, helped rout the evil priest’s men-at-arms. They were well armored, the priest and the adepts had cause light wound spells, but nothing put the good guys down…close…but not down. There is still much more to explore in the temple, but the Company will need to rest awhile. I was thinking the evil priest would be fleeing, but the dice said he was going back to the temple once more. I imagined his adepts would be packing his bags for an escape when he returned. It was a surprise for him to see Arden and Company waiting for him in his temple!

More to come…

Sir Michel’s Terrible Night ~ Day 79 Continued

The young knight turned in his bed. The straw was too full in one place and too sparse in others. He made mental calculations about how long the church would take to build and laughed. If the carpenter didn’t come back, the knight will need to carpenter himself.

His man-at-arms, Gerard, lay snoring in another bed. The carpenter had an unused room that he normally let out to travelling workers, but they were the only two now.

This all came about from Sir Michel’s challenge to the templar. The religious knight bested him in single combat and as a result Sir Michel would help build the church. The young knight was brash and cocksure. He’d never been beaten since he had earned his arms. He felt the lump on his head and the pain in his shoulders. The templar could certainly swing a deadly morning star.

The knight lay in the cool darkness, thinking of the combat, and then he jumped out of bed. Even before the alarm bell pealed, he knew by the rider’s pace that trouble was looming.

Sir Michel threw open the door of the cabin and saw dozens of shambling shapes in the moonlight. “Gerard! Up! Sword and shield! The enemy comes!”

Grabbing his arming sword and heavy shield, the knight knew he had no time for armor. He yelled to the carpenter an alarm and then heard the bell in the village ringing wildly. Gerard was ready in an instance and Sir Michel kicked the door open to meet their foe.

The village was in chaos. Flames lept up from the buildings to the east. Four creatures spied the knight and man-at-arms and walked with jerking motions towards them. They spoke no word but moved forward slashing with rusted sword and axe.

Sir Michel positioned himself beside a wooden fence to keep them from surrounding him. Gerard readied himself behind the knight.

Two against four. The knight and his man held their ground with shield and sword. Two skeletons arrived first, moving faster than the slower zombies. Eyeless sockets stared at Sir Michel as the creature stabbed at him with short sword. Sir Michel’s shield held, but the knight could not land a telling blow on the creature. Gerard was having better luck and was able to cut the head from a skeleton’s body.

The slower zombies joined the melee. Sir Michel and Gerard were able to best them but not before being cut. [Gerard was down to 1 hit point! Sir Michel faired better, but lost a few hit points.]

As the two stood back to back, swords covered in rotting gore, they saw many of the other undead turn back as if heeding their master’s call. In the distance he could see perhaps a dozen black clad men spurring their horses northeast towards the forest.

A few moments later, mounted soldiers from the Keep thundered into the village. Some of the slower moving zombies were engaged and destroyed before the knight could get to them.

He raced for the stables to find his warhorse. The knight pulled open the doors and many horses raced out of the burning stable, his own as well.

Martin, the templar, found Sir Michel shortly after. He said to him, “the church is burned to the ground. I have nothing for you to work on now.”

Sir Michel stood tall and said, “my sword and shield are at your disposal. Let us cut the head off of the snake.”

“Aye,” said Martin, “let us do just that.”

Game Notes~I had forgotten that the knight was still at Coot’s Mill. Instead of having him flee to safety, I had him risk combat with some of the undead horde. He and his man-at-arms did well. They took a few lumps, but it helped thicken the plot.

Day 79 The Undead Horde

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Day 79 Arden and Company arrive back at the Keep

Arden, Martin, Thane, Corwin, and Sgt. Tenning immediately report to Sir Kent. The Curate and the Advisor sit in on meeting. Sir Kent agrees that action must be taken against the evil temple.

Martin suggests guards be posted on the road in case of attack. Meklin guards the road that night.

During the night, Meklin spots movement in the fields to the north. The moon is waning, but he sees figures moving through the wheat fields. The enemy has moved through the forest instead of the road!

He rides to Coot’s Mill and rings the alarm bell to awake the villagers and signal the Keep.

[In 6 rounds the undead horde will arrive at Coot’s Mill. Mounted troops will arrive from the Keep in 12 rounds. That means 6 rounds of action by the undead horde!]

Mecklin is able to get most of the villagers moving and fearing that they may run into undead by moving to the Keep, he directs them to run for the mill near the river. There is a ford in the river that they can cross and hide in the woods.

About a dozen villagers remain behind, either too scared or drunk to move quickly.

The zombies and skeletons flood into the small village. Behind them the evil cleric, his adepts, and the evil men-at-arms have lit torches. They systematically put the buildings to fire while the horde attacks the villagers.

Meklin is no fool. He tries his best to get the other villagers moving but is attacked by two skeletons. They both hit. Meklin rides off to follow the other villagers to the mill.

In the smoke of burning buildings, the undead seek out humans. They tear at doors and windows using their weapons and filthy claws.

Some villagers that were hiding in their homes make a break for freedom. A few succeed, but many are cut down by the horde.

Before the soldiers can arrive, the evil cleric and his minion make their escape. The evil cleric calls his horde to follow and they do his bidding.

The mounted soldiers gallop onto the scene and are able to destroy eight zombies and three skeletons. The others have shambled into the darkness.

In all, nine villagers are killed and 11 buildings burnt, including the church that Martin has been building.

Arden and Company were not among the first defenders to get to the village, but they arrived as quickly as possible. Arden will need think about the company’s best response to this. Needless to say, no one will be going back to bed tonight!

Game notes~this was the evil cleric’s shining moment. I tried to think what the evil cleric would do after his temple was attacked. I figured that he wouldn’t just wait until the company returned with more forces. Instead, he took the battle to them. He knows that the temple is not safe anymore and I suspect he will be looking to move to a new location for now.

I thought the scene played out really well using the Pits & Perils rules. I had no rules for burning the buildings, but when in doubt, I threw two dice and made a ruling. It was simple but effective and I really enjoyed the game.

More to come…

Day 77 ~ Assault on the Temple of Evil

Arden and Company ride out of the Keep on the Borderlands on Day 77 in the 3rd week of Late Fall.

Corwin rides quietly along. The night before he imbibed the potion of prophecy given to him by Aster of the fairies. His dreams are a mix of dark dungeon scenes and walking dead. Corwin sees black armored men and dark robed adepts. An evil looking priest in red robes is waving his arms in ritual. This and more does the magician see and Arden and Company are caught up in the thick of it. Zinnea, the missing fairie is nowhere to be seen. It is all quite puzzling for Corwin and has taken a toll on him. He rides quietly, trying to put all of it into words.

Encounters during travel on Day 77? No.

The company takes rest once again at the Overlook. Egg makes a hearty meal of fried bread and sausages. The company is quieter than usual, each man thinking about what the next day may bring. Arden, Thane, Martin, and Corwin discuss the visions that the magician had last night.

Encounters during the night? No.

They break camp early in the morning and ride to a spot near the caves where the horses are quartered. Egg provides bread, meat, and cheese for them all to eat during the ride. Arden is surprised when Egg declares that he will accompany them this time. “You may need a good cook!” he grins. They tie the horses to a picket line and feed them well.

Sgt. Tenning and 11 archers accompany them to the Caves of Chaos.

Day 78 At the entrance to the Shrine of Evil

An overwhelming feeling of evil emanates from the cave. A stone corridor 20’ wide runs north and south. Dim lamps hang in sconces. Thane listens carefully and decides to head south. The others follow carefully behind. Their footsteps echol off the highly polished floors even though they step lightly.

Thane listens at a door to the north. Another door is to his left. The dwarf hears nothing. Arden kicks the door open…it doesn’t budge. He tries a couple more times and finally gets it open. Inside are four evil acolytes. Arden, Thane, and Meklin rush in to fight them.

The acolytes fight with maces and wear chainmail under their robes. Battle ensues and Thane takes a couple hits, The noise f battle attracts 8 zombies from the south. Corwin casts a web spell across the corridor trying to block them. Two of the zombies are able to tear their way through the webs but the others are stuck. Egg, Catamont, and Meklin face the two zombies.

Corwin moves back to aid Arden.

Arden, Thane, and Martin are having a time trying to defeat the acolytes. Corwin casts another web spell catching three of the acolytes. Arden kills the other acolyte.

The battle alerts more cultists farther into the temple.The evil cleric begins gathering his undead horde to confront the attackers. 7 of the men-at-arms and 2 adepts run into the corridor to spot the company. Two crossbow men try to shoot Goat and Corwin. Corwin spends a luck point to keep from being hit. Corwin casts a fear spell and the 9 cultists flee.

The evil cleric, his 3 zombie bodyguards, 2 adepts, and 4 men-at-arms gather together. The cleric commands his undead horde to move ahead of them towards the PCs. 40 undead (20 zomies and 20 skeletons) shamble towards the PCs!

Thane throws down a line of caltrops and Egg pours oil on the floor near the entrance.

Martin confronts the undead horde as they turn the corner. He makes his save and causes them all to flee! [Pits & Perils rules state that if a cleric makes his save, all undead of the clerics level or lower are turned. ]

The evil cleric and his men-at-arms move cautiously around the corner, unnerved by all of the undead being turned. As they reach the line of caltrops, several of the company fire on them with longbows. One man-at-arms steps on a caltrop! And another is hit with an arrow.

Corwin races out of the caves to alert Sgt Tenning and the archers. Arden and the others flee the cave while Thane remains behind to light the oil.

Four of the men-at-arms jump the flames and take no damage (they all make their save). They run out of the caves and are met by a line of archers and Arden and Company all launching missiles at them. Two of them die and the other two retreat back into the cave, severely wounded.

Arden and Company make a hasty retreat back to the horses. They will need more help to defeat the cultists.

Game Notes~that was quite an adventure! There were a lot of things going on at the same time and it was uncertain how it would end. The PCs were outnumbered by far and Martin saved the day by turning the horde of undead.

In all, the company killed 4 acolytes, 2 zombies, and 2 men at arms. Many more await them next time.

More to come…

Day 70 Continued~Chaos Arrives at the Keep

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Martin puts the knight to work at the church. The carpenter and his assistant are helping out with farm chores for now, but there is much to do on the building. Martin speaks with Wendrig about work needed done and sets the knight to task. The knight can lodge with Wendrig or spend his own silver to stay at the inn at the Keep. The knight’s man-at-arms looks sullen. He has been conscripted by the knight to work with him.

Martin then seeks out the Curate’s advice on combating the skeletons the company encountered. The Curate can offer no advice, but tells Martin to keep faith in Eos and your path will be shown. The Curate gives Martin a vial of holy water. Martin wants nothing more than to snuff out the undead at the caves. Their existence is an affront to all he believes.

Arden seeks out the Provisioner in the hope that he has a suit of chainmail. The Provisioner does indeed have a chainmail suit. It will need a little bit of modification for it to fit properly, Arden knows that Thane, the dwarf, will be eager to work on the suit. Any reason to work on the forge, is reason enough.

Arden also needs a new greatsword. He is considering finding a smaller weapon and shield to fight in the cramped cave tunnels. The greatsword is hampered by the narrow spaces. He still wants to carry one though. Arden decides to carry spear and shield and strap the greatsword to his back. The Provisioner has a greatsword but it is dull and needs some repair. Thane will have another project to work on.

Thane is busy at the forge repairing arms and armor. During the week he fits Arden’s chainmail and repairs the greatsword. [Rolls a 9 and I rule that this is an easy task for him.] Thane also has Handsome and Meklin cut some quarterstaffs to use in case they run across more oozes. They cut six of them. Thane saw the damage the acid did to Arden’s sword. He hopes that wood may be more resistant.

Corwin waits for the clerk at the bank to end his day and approaches him. Trying to be convivial, he offers to buy the clerk supper at the Traveler’s Inn. The clerk politely refuses. He is guarded and Corwin thinks there is some mystery about the man. Corwin does get the man to have a drink at the tavern. [I rolled a “no” for the meal, but the man did have a friendly reaction to Corwin.] In a dark corner of the tavern, the two spell casters talk. Corwin tells the clerk of their latest adventures in the caves. The clerk doesn’t say much about his arcane studies other than he learned a little magic in the course of studies as clerk and scribe somewhere in southern Eyre. Corwin asks the clerk once more if he would let him copy a spell from his spellbook. He would share his own spellbook in return and offer any fair amount of silver. The clerk is still adamant in his refusal. He is cordial, but seems nervous discussing it, and changes the subject. Corwin accepts this failure and figures that the man is hiding something. There is more to the man’s story. Corwin decides to leave it alone. He orders another round of wine and the two men talk about the Keep and what merchants have been coming north.

Handsome Brune woke up in a sweat. He had dreams of fighting the owlbear but he was all alone. He pulled his sword and it burned like fire in his hand. But the fire didn’t hurt him, it somehow made him stronger. When he awoke, he sat up and reached for the blade hanging on his bedpost. He pulled the sword from its sheath. The blade was polished and he could see his reflection. Handsome actually looked more handsome in the reflection, not the scarfaced ugly warrior he was. He had spent much of his time cleaning the blade ever since Corwin gave it to him. Handsome swung the sword overhead a few times. There is nothing I can’t do with this sword in my hands, he thought.

Catamont had seen a change in Handsome after getting the sword. He seemed different now, maybe a little more cocky. Catamont wasn’t sure, but it worried him.

The evil cleric is not at the Keep. [I rolled to see if he was here and also if he would return this week. No for both questions. I figure he is at the evil temple in the caves.]

I rolled a Rory Story Cube and the symbol that came up was a multi-direction arrow. This represents chaos to me. I thought about this and it represents some event at the Keep connected with the evil cleric. He is planning something and it means additional troops to serve him at the evil temple. 11 evil warriors come to the Keep in the guise of merchant guards. They stay at the inn one night then leave early the next day. They will head to the caves to rendevouz with the evil cleric. Two of the men wear black leather and have crossbows. The others are in black plate and carry swords. Their leader is a weathered, bald man with an evil face. The men have been quiet at the inn, taking their meals in silence. They have put the innkeeper on edge and he is glad to see them leave.

Question–Did Arden speak with any of them? No, he hears about them from Goat, but they are gone before he can see them.

More to come…

Day 70 ~ A Knight’s Challenge

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The Company leaves the Caves of Chaos and camps at the Overlook without incident. During the morning of Day 70 they are nearing the Keep and meet two riders. One is a man in leather armor and the other is knight in full plate and shield. He blocks the road and views the Company as they approach.

[I rolled this on my new encounter table. The table is for the area around Bree, a small town to the south, but it works well enough for now.

Here is a link to the encounter table if you’d like to modify it for your own game. Random Monster Encounters Table ]

Arden spoke with the knight, but he was in no mood to talk. He issued a challenge for single combat until one of the combatants yielded.

The knight insulted the Company, remarking to his man-at-arms that only Martin, the templar, looked worthy of the challenge. Arden was unarmored and the knight felt the others were beneath him.

Martin was angered by the knight’s insults and felt justified in taking the challenge. He knew that the knight had better armor (Martin was in chainmail with no shield) but Martin had faith and a sturdy morning star.

The knight did offer one accord to Martin. He climbed down from his warhorse and foot on foot. His man-at-arms tied the horses off and stood a short distance away with his arms folded.

“Tis early yet in the day, templar. But this may be the only sport I have today. Yield when you feel you have had enough. I’ll spare your life.”

Martin clenched his teeth and said nothing to the brash knight. He did whisper a prayer to Eos and tightened the grip on his morning star.

The rest of the Company stood in a loose circle around them.

The knight charged and narrowly missed Martin with his longsword.

Martin stepped aside and swung a heavy blow, catching the knight on the back.

“Hitting a man in the back?! Not fair, not fair…” he laughed mockingly.

Martin replied, “My apologies, but your back appears to be all you want to show.”

That seemed to strike a nerve and the knight swung viciously at the cleric, narrowly missing once again.

The two men circled each other and Martin received a couple minor blows but his armor withstood the blade. [Martin has 4 luck points and I spent them all to either avoid damage or bringing his own attack roll to 12]

The knight stopped bragging and rejoined combat in earnest. He hit Martin again but not hard enough to put him down. Several heavy blows by Martin left the knight stunned and down on the ground.

“I yield!” the knight yelled, a look of shame on his face.

“I yield and offer my arms, armor, and horse to you, sir.”

Martin knew he could take the knight’s possessions and then sell them, but he had another idea. “Keep your possession, Sir Knight. As you have yielded, I ask of you one task. You will labor on the building of the new church in Coot’s Mill. When it is complete, you will have fulfilled you honor bound duty.”

The knight knew that Martin had him over a barrel. If he lost his equipment, he would be hard pressed to gather the silver to purchase another.

And so, Martin solved two problems…one, the need for workers on the church, and two, teaching humility to an arrogant knight.

Martin laughed at the thought of this arrogant nobleman’s son taking orders from the village carpenter. He hoped the young man would learn a much needed lesson.

More to come…

Day 61 ~ Owlbears and Ooze!

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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.

Fairies and Prophecy, Day 47 of Perils on the Borderland

Arthur Rackham [Public domain]

It was early morning the 3rd week of midfall when Arden and Company rode across the heavy oaken planks of the drawbridge. Martin watched the treeline in the distance. A red-tailed hawk took wing from the nearby field, a mouse clutched tightly in its claws. The weather was colder than yesterday and the wind had picked up a bit. Thane tucked his beard into his belt and nicked at his pony to get in line.

The Company stretched out along the dirt cart path marking the Old Trade Road. Sergeant Tenning commanded his dozen archers, impressing on his men that they were mainly a bunch of layabouts and lacking any redeeming qualities afforded to humankind. His demeanor was different when addressing the principals of the Company. Arden was his junior by a dozen years, but the sergeant showed respect for the fighter. Arden had earned it as did the others who came back from the Caves with their heads still attached.

The castellan had made it clear to his men that Arden would be in command. The archers were to play a support role only. None were expected to enter the Caves. If the Company were pursued by hostiles, they would provide a volley of arrows and as a last resort, close combat with sword or axe.

The sergeant had seen combat in his day, but most often he and the troops would chase down bandits or other ruffians. Chasing was the operative word. Most bandits would flee in the presence of a larger force.

Egg Barkley was whistling a tune as he rode along on a chestnut gelding. He seemed in particulary good spirits this day. Corwin inquired on his disposition and Egg replied, “I’ve sent a letter down to Haversham. Me missus, is packing her things and bringing our girl up to Coot’s Mill.”

Haversham was the county seat of the northernmost county of the Kingdom of Eyre. The county proper was called Dent and the Duke of Dent had holdings in the town. Some of the lumbermen in Coot’s Mill have families there. Until the wilderness around the Keep can be settled, they have left their families behind in safety. Pay is better up in the logging camps surrounding the Keep, but bandits and other dangers make it an uncertain place.

The Old Trade Road is now little more than a trail that winds northward towared the great mountains called the Five Kings. Thane hails from Irendall, a dwarven kingdom in the nearest of the mountains. To hear the dwarf tell it, the mountainside is much more dangerous, that is if you stray from the guarded mountain passes that zig zag through the rocky terrain. Most dwarves would rather be deep in the earth, carving out vaults in search of precious ore.

Martin and Arden rode in the lead of the Company. They stopped for a break as they neared Overlook Hill. Martin noticed that the ground around the hill seemed greener today than elsewhere. Wildflowers bloomed on the green mound. Corwin tapped out the remains of his pipe and silently studied the ground. Of all the group, he was most likely to notice the signs of enchantment.

The chill in the air seemed to warm as the Company neared the hill. The sun poked out from behind the clouds and the wind settled into a gentle breeze as the sound of children came lofting down to their ears. The voices had a bell like ethereal quality that caused all listeners to pause in anticipation for more.

The green grass smell of spring came heralding the arrival of the fairies. Darting like dragonflies, they came. Three of them. One buzzed Corwin’s head, playfully pulling his hat off. They settled on a stone in front of the Company. One of the fairies spoke up, telling of their missing companion, a fairie named Zinnia. They had searched the forest and could only think that Zinnea had been captured by the wicked bugbears living in the Caves.

Corwin, the magician, knew that fairies were trouble, but their magical power made them prized captives for those that would do that. Rumors of granting wishes and treasure were often told to children at bedtime. Corwin doubted the wish granting bit, but fairies held deep knowledge of the land and would offer this up to those they favored.

Bugbears frightened the fairies, more so than any other creature. Perhaps it was due to the legend of Big Yog and his band of bugbears or something perhaps something else. Nevertheless, the fairies had it in their heads that Zinnia was at the mercy of the bugbears in the Caves of Chaos. Corwin could sense worry in the usually lighthearted creatures. Had they been in good spirits, Corwin’s hat would have been tossed into a treetop and Thane’s beard seeded with cockleburs.

Arden and Company spoke with the fairies for a short while. Aster, their leader, gave Corwin a small glass vial of purple liquid. It was the distillation of dreams, both good and bad, that gave the imbiber visions of the future. The fairies bid the company good travels and promised to reward them for the return of Zinnia.

When the faires flew away, the clouds grew darker again, wildflowers were no more to be seen, and the hill lay orange and red, covered in a blanket of fallen leaves. The most remarkable thing was that the sun was sinking in the west. What had been at most only a few minutes of conversation with the fairies, had actually been hours of time passing.

With night falling soon, Arden and Company made camp and set a watch.


Game Notes – This scene came about with the throw of a couple dice. As the Company left the Keep, I checked for an encounter. Result=1, so yes. I consulted the Pits & Perils rules and rolled a wilderness encounter of fairies!

Corwin and the others had encounter fairies in this area about one month ago. They were friend to the Company at the time, so I ran with it. Rolling a Story Cube…result=a lock. I reasoned that one of the fairies was imprisoned. The Caves of Chaos seemed the logical place. I decided the bugbears had one of the fairies held captive. The last thing was to determine some kind of reward or favor for the Company. I rolled on the magic potion table and result=potion of prophecy. It didn’t take a stretch of the imagination to fit this into the story. Just a few dice rolls and plenty of adventure came through!

More to come…