"Retiring to Run a B&B"--Final GURPS Sessions in the Majestic Wilderlands

Our GURPS campaign in the Rob's (Bat in the Attic) Majestic Wilderlands came to a fun and satisfying ending a week ago. We have had a few sessions since my last Magestic Wilderlands update. Delvin, my dwarf PC, provides a summary narrative below. Chris (The Clash of Spear on Shield) and Tim (Gothridge Manor) also have some excellent posts on the end of the campaign (here and here). And now I will turn over the computer keyboard to Delvin so that he can tell his last tale.
The baron loaded us down with some goodies and wished well on our journey. The Plain of Cairns is nothing to take lightly. There is some nasty mojo there and we have been lucky to come back alive. The evil there is ancient and powerful, but it is like a bees nest. You only get stung when you go poking around. Only fools get stung. As we were foolish enough to start building our inn at the edge of the Plain, we are foolish enough to get ourselves stung as well.

We traveled carefully across the Plain of Cairns, towards the henge that seems to be the epicenter of the evil. As we neared the henge, the sneakier members of our group moved in closer and noted that some sort of ceremony and excavation was going on. We were told that we needed to find the taig that was given the task of protecting the Plain of Cairns in order to defeat the evil we were witnessing.

After doing our bit of spying, we crossed the Plain and found a simple stone building on the southeastern edge of the Plain. We entered the building and performed the simple ritual that was required of us. The taig demanded a shard of crystal, without which the taig would be unable to help us cleanse the Plain of evil.

Not knowing anything about this crystal shard or its whereabouts, the only thing we could think to do was go back to the center of the Plain and spy again on the hende and the activities. So this is what we did. We noticed that robed humans were leaving the henge and traveling to the northeast, so we decided to follow.

We followed the little procession to a battered keep. It turned out that the robed humans were actually skeletons and the keep--nothing more than a stone tower--was closely guarded by the undead. We retreated a short distance to safer ground. In the process, we encountered four evil-looking humans. We killed a mage and some sort of knight, plus one of their henchman. We captured another of their henchman and he seemed willing enough to go along with us. I guess he didn't like the alternative, as he had witnessed the quick demise of his friends.

Having settled into our camp, we made plans for the taking of the tower keep. It would not be an easy task. We were outnumbered and on the outside looking in. Our plan called for Brom and myself, as the stoutest fighters of our little party, to create a fuss about 100 feet from the door of the keep. We would draw the attention of the sentries by the door and the archers on the top of the tower. In the meantime, Kermit and Durgo would sneak up to the back of the keep. Kermit would use magic to move some stone to create an entrance on the backside of the tower. Then Kermit, Kermit's magic warrior, Durgo and the captured henchman, would move in and attack.

The plan worked to perfection. Even so, it was a tough battle. We were heavily outnumbered [never a good thing in GURPS]. Brom and I had some mighty poor luck and were pushed back. However, I finally was able to get in some solid axe strikes and we were able to take out the outside sentries and some of their helpers. Inside the keep, our party achieved surprise and made it count. We took the keep without loss of life on our side.

We searched the keep and, alas, found no shard of crystal. That was a bummer. We did assure ourselves that we had removed a significant danger from the Plain of Cairns.

We were at a bit of a loss and decided to search the northeastern sector of the Plain, in the hopes that something might turn up. I think that one of the guys in the party had learned a little bit more about the shard and its location, but, as a dwarven warrior, I sometimes miss those sorts of details. We ended up in the ancient ruins of a small village. There were wererats and giant rats a plenty. We made our way into a nearby barrow, found it inhabited with said wererats and giant rats, fought a nasty little skirmish, and led us to the shard. We almost didn't survive the combat, but the near death experience was worth it just to see Durgo leap over the crowd, somersault in mid-air and attack. It was amazing. In all of my many years as a mercenary, I had never seen anything quite like it. He missed, by the way.

The barrow served as our camp that night, despite the heebie-jeebies it was giving us. As we rested, we could hear excavating all around us. We decided to make our escape by riding out on horseback at full speed from the barrow. Fortunately, we had brought the horses and ponies inside after the battle.

We made haste to ride back to the taig. With more than a little trepidation, we offered him the shard. He took the shard and was transfigured before us. Cloaked in frightened power, the taig tore off towards the henge with us trailing far behind him.

The taig took out most of the minions at the henge but we were able to join the fray before it was over. I thought the taig would easily prevail, but I was wrong about that assumption. The nasty evil human mage was quite a spellcaster and he was able to stun the taig. It was good that we were there. We got the jump on the mage and took him out.

It was over.

The taig was effusive in his thanks, bestowing on us the blessing of his protection. Our inn would prosper after all. It was time to settle down and retire.


Manor #4 Is Now Out and About

Tim Short's (Gothridge Manor) The Manor #4 is now in print and ready to meet your gaming needs. While it might not lead you further along the path to enlightenment, The Manor #4 promises to entertain and will give you some fun goodies for your gaming table. You get another one of Tim's excellent adventures, plus monsters galore. And the art is nothing short of awesome.

This is Tim's best effort yet. Don't miss it!


Montporte To Do List

I have been running the Montporte Dungeon Campaign more often than I expected, not that I am complaining as it has been a groovy time. However, it started off as a one-shot and I am realizing that I need to do some catch-up work on both the setting and the house rules. I need to get some stuff written up for myself and for the players. I'll be doing it via my blog, not because anyone in the blogosphere would find it interesting, but because it is easy for me to write it and then send out links to the group.

As far as the setting goes, I will need to:
  • Flesh out the town of Montporte: Merchants, religious organizations, wizarding-types, and so on. The usual town-next-to-the-dungeon stuff.
  • Flesh out the area right around the dungeon: Maps, encounters, etc.
  • Write up the Planes: The Planes come into play in this world and there are four "nearby" planes--The home of the Fey; The home of the dragons; The home of demons; and The home of madness.
  • Write up the "physics" of the place: The four elements (they are not separate planes in Montporte); the three energies, etc.
As far as house rules, I want to stick to the Blood & Treasure rules as much as possible. I have studiously avoided my usual path of rewriting rules, classes, etc. Mostly I just need to clarify and codify rulings that I have already made in game:
  • Flaming oil: The boys are using a lot of it and I need to provide more clarity on this.
  • 0-Level Spells: I am allowing spell casters to use there 0-level spells at will, but there are certain spells in Blood & Treasure where this doesn't work. The spells that do healing or damage are the main examples.
  • Character Creation: I just need to spruce up the rules we started with.
I want to keep the house rules simple enough so that, if we switch to a different ruleset (e.g. Swords & Wizardry or maybe GURPS DF), I won't have to do a lot of extra to convert the campaign.

I am also mindful of the fact that there are some things that I need to do a better job with...mainly tracking time and resources. It gets tricky when we players are not always available every session or we put Montporte on hold for a few weeks while adventuring in Rob's (Bat in the Attic) Majestic Wilderlands campaign.


Montporte Dungeon Campaign Session 9 Notes

Tim (Gothridge Manor) and Chris, the Blogger-Formerly-Known-As-Bard (The Clash of Spear on Shield), each wrote up a post about the session. Tim's is here and Chris's is here.
Map A: Level 1 (1 square = 5 feet)
The Cast
Adzeer Mattiu, Hunter of the First Circle (Half Orc, 2 Lvl Hunter): Tim (Gothridge Manor)
Duncan Kern (Gnome, 2 Lvl Wizard/Thief): Dan
Dante Rathburn (Human, 2 Lvl Warlock): Chris (The Clash of Spear on Shield)
Larramore “Little Larry” (Kobold, 1 lvl Marksman): NPC
Diana (Human, Torch Bearer, Goat Driver): NPC
3 cave goats 

The Session: Part 1
Session 9 began where Session 8 had left off (Area 1 on Map A above), in a large cavern surrounded by some giant ant carcasses and neatly stacked piles of cube mushroom (about 1' on a side). The characters had quick discussion of their options and decided that they should leave the dungeon to head back to town of Montporte to stock up on supplies. The group was running low on healing draughts and potions.

On the way out of the dungeon, the characters ran into another group of adventurers (in Room 2 on Map A above). Spensol and Ian, their former henchmen, were part of the group, along with three dwarves. After exchanging pleasantries, the party left the dungeon and rode off for the town of Montporte.
Map B: The Montporte Area
The Session: Part 2
The characters arrived back in Montporte with bags of gold and silver, ready to do some shopping. They hit Nevin's Notions first and bought up every healing draught and potion Nevin had. Nevin is a gnome and also supplies some gnome-crafted devices that miners and their ilk find handy. Duncan bought a magnifier glass and a finder's glass, which has some simple magical properties and can be used for finding things like secret doors.
Weird "Pane of Glass" Item
Adzeer asked Nevin if he recognized the weird "pane of glass" object that the party had found during Session 6. Nevin found the item fascinating and puzzling. He was not able to identify what it was made of, except to say that it was like nothing he had ever seen.

The party then went to Pavel, one of the senior mages in town. He, too, found the item fascinating and was unable to identify the material from which is was made. The three discs, when look at straight on, had a three dimension look to them, as one was looking down three long parallel tubes. The party had already figured that out. Pavel noticed a pattern of a sort and demonstrated this pattern to the party by opening up a book, laying his cheek on a page, and looking at the writing. They tried it. When they looked at the book in this manner, they could see the pattern of the letters but couldn't necessarily read the words. He saw a similar pattern by looking into the discs. When they tried it, they could see repeating patterns, as if it were a language or symbols. But this was all they and Pavel could glean from the item.
Map C: Level 1 (1 square = 5 feet)
The Session: Part 3
The adventurers left Montporte, made it back to the dungeon entrance without incident, and headed back to where they had left off (Room 3 on Map C above). This was the beginning of their third foray into the Montporte Dungeon. They moved into Area 4 and saw two giant ants (workers), each carrying a cubed mushroom. The ants seemingly ignored the party, but the party did not ignore the ants. Duncan pounced on the back of the lead ant and plunged his dagger into its thorax. The rest of the party spread out and attacked both ants, with Duncan and Little Larry landing the telling blows on both creatures.

The party then moved south into Area 5, which turned out to be a dead end and a storage place for more cubed mushrooms. The party's cave goats started to dine on the mushroom cubes and Duncan decided to have a go. It was really chewy, but surprisingly flavorful (and non-poisonous). They grabbed some cubes to take with them for the cave goats.

As the party turned around and went back north, Duncan used his finder's glass on the mushroom piles, the floor and the walls. This turned out to be Duncan's day, as he found a secret door at Area 6 on Map C above. He checked for traps and, finding none, had Adzeer open the secret door. The door opened into a narrow passage, heading west. It ended in a room with a spiral staircase (Room 7 on Map C above). There was writing on the north wall of the room, next to the stairs. It was in the elven language and Dante was able to read it. It said: Elves, ants, and mushrooms only. All others stay away.
Map D: Level 2 (1 square = 5 feet)
The party took this as an invitation and descended the stairs. The stairs descended about 75' and the party found themselves on a small island with the wooden bridge leading off east into the darkness (Area 8 on Map D above). Duncan started to walk east across the bridge while Adzeer peered into the darkness to the west. They could hear the sound of feet shuffling all around them.

As Duncan and Adzeer were able to see more of the room, they could see giant mushrooms growing in neat beds all around the edge of the room, being tended by about a dozen mushroom men. Each mushroom man had a farming implement of some kind, but each also had a nasty looking weapon nearby. The shuffling sound was them arming themselves.

Duncan met three of the mushroom men at the end of the bridge (Area 9 on Map D above). They were armed with halberds and swords, creating an imposing barrier, as each mushroom man was about 7' tall. Duncan is a gnome.

One of the mushroom men spoke...in elvish. This took the party off guard, but Dante struck up a conversation that went like this:
Mushroom Man: Who are you and what do you want here?
Dante: We are travelers, and explorers
Mushroom Man: We know of no such things here. Are you an elf? Or a flesh eater?
Dante: I am a friend of elves. We come seeking the dark ones who were imprisoning others up above.
Mushroom Man: I will get our friend and master. Please wait here and be of peace.

The mushroom man left through an opening in the southwest part of the cavern. He returned about ten minutes later with an elf. The elf, speaking the common tongue, explained that he was a mushroom farmer. He invited them to have a chat and some refreshments. They followed him into Area 10 on Map D above. This is where the session ended.

Explored So Far
The following maps show Montporte Dungeon. I didn't include a map of the small sub-level the party discovered during Session 6.
Level 1, So Far
The newly discovered Level 2


Pulp Mill Press Is Open for Business

I am excited to be a part of Pulp Mill Press. We are looking for fantasy short story submissions. Here's more info:

During the golden years of pulp fiction, mighty heroes wielded ancient swords, power-mad sorcerers imperiled their souls and their sanity seeking forbidden lore, two-fisted heroes battled opium-crazed arch-villains, cosmic horrors shattered minds and worlds, and xeno-archaeologists sifted the ruins of Martian civilizations.

These are the stories that we at Pulp Mill Press love best and hope to revive in a series of forthcoming fiction anthologies.  We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our first anthology: Libram Mysterium.  This anthology will contain the best pulp-inspired sword & sorcery, sword & planet, and weird horror stories.

While we aren't currently looking for science fiction stories, pending the success of Libram Mysterium, we plan to publish a follow-up volume of science fiction, Libram Scientifica.

Libram Mysterium will remain open to submissions from now until September 1st, 2013.  Please refer to our submission guidelines page for more information on how to prepare and submit your stories.  Thrill us, chill us, and enthrall us; we look forward to hearing from you!