The Chronicling of our D&D Campaign: To the Gellesian Fields Part 12

Joxer
Every party needs a thief.

Galinndan…

The celebration at Omsford, where Matthias Blackshear lived was incredible.  The families were so overjoyed at recovering their lost children they threw us a feast!  It was the first time other than my annual day of birth that anyone had thrown a party in our honor.  I’m not counting that time we killed those Owlbears.  That was not a feast but more of a drinking event.  Many a chair and table were broken that night! Compared to this meal, the whole Owlbear incident was nothing more than a fading memory.

Everything thanked us, shoot our hands, even kissed our cheeks.  This was what it was to be a hero – one of the greatest thieves in the land.

Matthias’s granddaughter Miley stayed close to him and her mother, Clarissa.  She thanked me three times, so we all know what that means…she was in love with me!  I saw her eyes catching mine, and that smile.  I remembered Guild Rule #88  Never pass up an opportunity to make a new friend, especially if she is cute.

After my third ale I asked Matthias, “Is your daughter married?”  I saw no ring nor sign of a husband.

He didn’t answer. He just glared at me with squinted eyes and flashed his gritted teeth.  I got the impression he was offended.  How could that be?  I was a hero like him and the others! Surely Clarissa could do no better in this tiny farming community.  Blackshear stalked off.

“You had better watch it,” Arius said.  “He’s likely to take your head off.”

“I think I could seduce her,” I added as I finished another tankard of ale.  “Besides, she’s cute.”

Theren heard our conversation and shook his head.  “We’ve done a lot to win these people’s trust Galinndan.  Don’t do something that is going to get us killed.”

“What—killed?  All I’m saying is that I think we could hit it off.  Me helping rescue her daughter and all.”

“Do you really want Blackshear as a father-in-law?” Arius asked.  “You slip up one time and your head will go bouncing like that Amber Elf he decapitated.”

That was a good point.  Over the years I had become quite fond of my head and neck and they were right, Matthias seemed to be a bit over reactive at times.  I settled on giving Clarissa a wink.  She didn’t return it but I could tell, she wanted me.

Blackshear pulled us aside an hour later as the party began to break up.  “We are only two days travel to Karn.  Sleep well and tomorrow I will escort you there myself.”

We thanked him for his hospitality.  My father had gone to Karn before, usually to pay taxes and homage to Lord Sklaver. I always wondered why he had never taken me.  Our home was but a village.  Karn was a small city, or so I had been told.

The next morning there were potato cakes and we found our haversacks stuffed with dried meats and fresh fruit, compliments of the citizens of Omsford.  We set out and saw little more than a farmer with an oxcart who we passed along the way.  The next day five riders approached us, all in full armor, glinting with the morning sun. Their armor was matching, as was their slung shields.

Blackshear rode out a few yards ahead of us, meeting them men.  One of them was a lanky fellow with a flowing yellow beard that poked out from under his helm.  “If it is isn’t Matthias Blackshear,” he sneered.  The other men seemed amused.  Two put their hands on their swords.

“Blondebeard,” Matthias spat back as if it were a curse.  This had to be that Syrus Blondebeard that he had told us about, the First Knight of the Royal Guard.

“Where are you going old man?” Blondebeard asked.

“I am taking my friends here to Karn.”

“I thought you were banned from there,” one of the men said half-jokingly.

“Who would stop me?” Blackshear countered. “You?  You’d piss yourself the moment I drew my sword – we both know that.” He turned back to Blondebeard.  “What are you doing away from the whorehouses and taverns?”

“There have been reports of Amber Elves roaming the countryside.  We are merely doing our job – your former job – searching for them.”

Blackshear flashed a grin of pride.  “Well you can turn your pansy-asses around.  We found them and recovered the children they had kidnapped.”

“Really?” Blondebeard said suspiciously.

“You doubt me Syrus?”  His jaw set firm.

There was an awkward pause, I sure felt it.  Finally Blondebeard spoke, not to Matthias, but to us.  “You men have thrown in with a dangerous man.  I’d advise you to part ways with him now.  He’s not welcome in Karn, which means the same will apply to you.”

Theren spoke for us.  “Thank you…but we will stick with him.  We’ve shed blood together.”

“Your choice then,” Blondebeard said.  “You watch yourselves in Karn.  That is our city…our rules.”  He and the other men in the patrol passed us without further comment.

“You make a misstep in Karn, you’ll be dealing with me, Krolf Lorraine, or Adrian Kraverhall.  None of us have much use or patience for farm boys causing trouble.”

Farmboys?  We had been to the Gellesian Fields, had battled ogres, cockatrice, and had even been tested by a member of the Sisterhood of the Sword. Not to mention the Amber Elves.  If anyone was a yokel, it was this Blondebeard.  Armor made men pompous – I saw that.

“He sure doesn’t seem to like you,” I said.

“Mounted pile of shit wearing armor he doesn’t deserve to polish,” Blackshear replied.  “I trained that arse in everything he knows – and only half of it stuck. Now he and the guard are nothing but playthings for the Vizir. Look at them, riding out five days too late.  When they were under my command the Guards were there to protect the citizens.  They would have driven off those yellow-skinned bug-suckers days ago.  Now they hide in Karn.  It is getting more dangerous to live outside of the city every year.”  There was a longing in his voice, the first time I had heard it from him.

We arrived at Karn later that day.  The road leading to the city was dotted with farm houses and cottages.  The city itself was surrounded by a stone wall that was very old.  Vines and moss clogged every mortar seam in it, given the twelve foot walls a green shimmer.  The gate was manned by five guardsmen, though I thought none of them looked too impressive.  They seemed to notice Blackshear.  One of them said, “We don’t want any trouble,” the oldest of the guards said.

“No one ever does,” Matthias said in response.

At the inner portcullis we were told to stop and to read the sign.  It was red lettering painted on a white background with the rules for visitors. I presume that the red lettering was supposed to instill a sense of warning or threat.  It was faded and chipped.

Murder, arson, or rape is punishable by death administered immediately by the City Guard.

Theft is prohibited in the city limits.

Fighting is frowned upon.

Laying of hands on members of the royal family or the City Guard is prohibited.

Magic of all kinds outside those of the church is prohibited.  Violators will be turned over to the church for justice.

All dangerous animals are to be kept secured.

Horse thieves will be whipped in public.

Have a glorious day!

Theren pointed to the theft line and gave me a knowing wink.  “I think that means you.”  I had no intention of stealing here – not now anyways. Doing so without checking in with the guild would result in punishments that I didn’t know the details of, but feared nevertheless.

As we entered the city the smell gave it away first.  Unlike our home Whiterock, it was a stink of sewage, dampness, and dirty feet that stung at your nostrils.  Smoke mingled with the odors and I swore I could smell rotting meat too.  There were people walking through the cobblestone streets, more than in our village.

Blackshear pulled us into a huddle.  “Alright ladies, here’s the plan. For you to get to Lord Sklaver you have to do it through his bloody Vizir.  Krolf Lorraine is as crooked as Wilding Creek.  I may be able to get you in to see him.  You’ll have to work your way past that greasy weasel to get to Lord Sklaver.  I don’t trust Lorraine in the least…for reasons I’ll tell you about sometime.

In the meantime – I’d recommend you stopping by Grayson’s Maps.  Chester is well known and worth stopping by the see.  No matter what, you should go to Odd-Bob’s too.  Robert is, well, strange, but always good for a story or two.  Stay away from the Wayward Knight Inn if you go and seek a drink.  Try and get a room at the Copper Horse – I’ll find you there later.”  With that Blackshear waded into the people on the street, most of them parting to get out of his way.

Arius stabled our mounts at Kurn’s Stables for what seemed like a lot of money.  We made our way through the twisting main street of Karn, finally spotting a sight for Grayson’s Maps.

The inside smelled musty with a hint of old man.  Rolled maps stored in wooden tubes lined the walls, along with books.  In the center of the building was a skylight directly over a large table where an old man leaned over a map, looking at it with a magnifying glass.  “Just a moment,” he said as he moved his pen over the large parchment on the adjustable table.  Then he looked up only out of the corner of his eye at us.

“What are you working on?” Theren asked, genuinely curious.

“A map of Tempora,” the old man said, dipping his pen in ink and continuing to work.

“What is Tempora?”  I asked.

“The lost city of the dwarves to the north of the Gash. I found some references to it in a book I recently purchased and wanted to add to the map that I started.  Tempora has been lost for ages, it was said to be a great city that could only be accessed on the path of blood…whatever that is.  A lot of adventurers have tried to find it, only a few have come back and none of them sane.”  He set his quill on a stand and turned slowly to face us, flashing an instant smile.

“Ah, visitors!  I am Chester Grayson.  Welcome to my humble cartography works.”  He waved his hand to point to the maps.  “What are you looking for?”

“Matthias Blackshear told us to stop here,” I said.

“Matthias? Is he here in Karn?” the old man’s voice got excited.

“Yes.  He’s helping us,” Theren said.

Grayson smiled.  “Friends of Blackshear – well, you must be travelers from afar.”

“We’ve been to the Gelllesian Fields and back,” I said with pride.

“Marvelous.  Did you happen to make a map of your journey?  The fields are difficult for many to navigate.”

I shook my head.  “Sorry.”

“Well then, you are travelers, so you need a map of the realm,” he climbed off his stool and shuffled over to a tube, pulling out a map.  “This is one of my best sellers – the most accurate map of the realm.”

“How much?” Airus asked.

“Fifty gold…but well worth it.”

“Not exactly the ‘Friends of Blackshear’ price,” I said half-under my breath.

Grayson heard me.  “I will also give you a map of the city.  If you are new here, it may help you.”

“Done!” Airus replied, dolling out the money.  I checked my own funds and was surprised.  I had a bag of copper pieces where there had been gold.  It was the coins we had found in the fields, in that offering urn.  Damn!  I guess I should have not stolen the contents of that urn.

Outside he saw some men pass and Chester Grayson winced.  “Blue Cloaks!”

“What are they?” Theren asked.

“They have been here for a year or so.  Strange monks.  They make people nervous more than anything.”

I watched them in their hooded azure cloaks.  These were bald men shifted in and out of the people on the cobblestone street, almost blending in – but not quite.  There was clearly more to these men then meet the eyes.  I had heard of monks before, but these were the first I had ever seen.

We huddled over the map and for the first time realized how far we had traveled.  I focused on the Great Gash.  That was tied to that message we had gotten from Lexa Lyoncroft.  It was a like a nasty scar on the map.  I wondered for a moment what had happened to those paladins.

“Come on,” I said.  “We need to find the guildhall and Odd Bob’s.”

The Campain Part 1 Player Map

Karn3.png

I hope you have enjoyed the saga thus far.  Here are the previous parts if you have missed any installments.  Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Character Background Material

My New Campaign

#dungeonsanddragons

The Chronicling of our D&D Campaign: To the Gellesian Fields Part 11

Oddball
Not every paladin wears glimmering armor

Arius…
“These soulless yellow-skinned spawn-of-the-gash have kidnapped my granddaughter.  I could use some help, good men with swords, to help recover her,” Matthias Blackshear said painfully.

A kidnapped child?  This was a cause that made my heart leap!  My life as a holy warrior was based on faith and an understanding of my role in the balance of the world. “Who are these Amber Elves?”

“What?  Are you not from around here?”

“Nay.  We harken from Whiterock.”

He winced, suddenly making me feel like a farm boy or a dullard…or worse, a heathen bard. “Yellow skinned bastards,” he spat back. “They travel in wagons, moving from community to community. Always singing and putting on little skits.  Friendly enough, while they pick your pocket, steal your crops, and kidnap your young.  They are the worst kind of vagabonds.  That’s why I use these,” he pointed to the cotton balls jammed into his ears.  “You can’t listen to their music.  It’s enchanted.  You listen to it and you are under their spell.  That’s how these thievin’ scum-sucking dregs work you.  They play their little tunes and the next thing you know you are tied naked to a tree, robbed of your worldly possessions – or worse.”

It did not take a lot to imagine what “worse” could be.  His warnings about their songs spoke of bardic magic, minstrels whose spells were interwoven in song. Galinndan spoke up.  “Maybe we should be stuffing cotton in our ears.”  I ignored him.  None of us had brought cotton with us, though I did see Galinndan cutting up some of his own shirt and stuffing the wads of cloth in his ears.  They hung out like dog’s ears from his own.

“We haven’t seen them,” I said to Blackshear, “But we did come across some wagon tracks a ways back.”

“Wagons…” the hulking Blackshear pondered for but a moment.  “That had to be them.  Show me.”

We didn’t talk about helping this man, it was not necessary.  Even if my brothers in arms had refused I would have helped him.  The Third Tenant of my holy order, demanded giving aid to those in need.  We backtracked down the road to where the wheel ruts crossed the dirt path.  Blackshear knelt down while Theren moved alongside.  “They’re heading northwest.”

Theren looked at the tracks that crossed the road as if he could somehow ascertain the same information, but could not.  “How do you know that?”

“The slave markets of the Amber Elves are in Bahshir in the western reaches.”

“There is only two sets of wagon tracks,” Galinndan pointed out.

“Common practice with these dirty bug-suckers.  They go in column to hide their numbers.”

“Like Sandpeople,” Galinndan added.

“Who?” Blackshear asked angrily.

“Never mind,” Galinndan replied. He realized the childhood stories he had been told of the mythical Sandpeople had no bearing here, nor did Matthias Blackshear have the patience for humor.

We trudged on into the night and made a hasty camp.  “They can’t be more than a few hours ahead of us.  That means if we press on, we can catch them tomorrow,” Blackshear said as sat on a log before the small fire.  He propped up his massive sword and axe next to him.

“Your weapons are impressive,” I said looking at them.  That sword was different – long, thick at the handle with only a slight taper to it.  Both bore the nicks of battle damage that could not be simply pounded out by a weapons-smith.

“This is Render,” Blackshear said patting the sword the way one might a loyal dog. The shadows of the firelight showed the scars on his arms and hand “This is Reamer,” he gestured to the battle axe proudly.  “When I was a First Knight of Royal Guards I captured these fighting a band of marauding minotaur’s in the eastern slopes.  Killed their leader DeSaul.  They have served me well over the years.

It has been said that naming a weapon gives it strength, taps the power of God.  It is also said that only honorable men should do such things.  I understood that all too well.  “You served in the Royal Guards?”

“Damned right I did.  Until they ran me off.  Stupid boot-licking dung-puckering arseholes.  The guards isn’t what it was when I led it.  Now they are more interested in attending balls and escorting pansy-ass-kissing gentlemen rather than protecting the innocent.  A bunch of glorified pig-fucking tax collectors…that’s what the Royal Guards have become.”

“Why’d they run you off?”

His eyes narrowed with a rage he was somehow keeping in check.  “The little lordling…the heir to the Sklaver throne.  Little shit wasn’t fit to polish my codpiece.  He got his pasty white ass in trouble he did.  A man would have resolve the situation.  He expected us to bail him out.  His father wasn’t raising him to stand on his own, I let him try and resolve the matter.  Little paper-butt got knocked about – but the bastard had it coming.  He had his father remove me.  Said I was a coward.  A flagging lie!  He started it with those men and by God he should have finished it himself, not turned to us to save him.  They ran me out after that.  Said I had disgraced the Guards. It was greasy Syrus Blondebeard and the bloody Vizir, Krolf Lorraine; they were behind my disgrace.  They wanted someone with less backbone than me, someone to do their bidding.  Blondebeard is perfect for that role…the spineless, chamber-pot-licker.  Well they got what they wanted – someone to suckle the little lordship’s tit.  They couldn’t take my honor from me and they damned well couldn’t take my pride.”

In the dim light of the fire I could see the pride in his face, it was etched in every scar and wrinkle.  There was nothing about this man that showed even a hint of fear.  “We will rescue your granddaughter,” I vowed.

“You do,” he said with stern glare, “and I will get you to Karn myself.”

The next day we pressed on crossing the tree-dotted plains, following the wagon ruts in the grass.  That evening we came across their camp, in a low swale, surrounded by trees.  I half-expected the big warrior to insist on rushing into the camp, but the safety of his granddaughter clearly governed his sword.  “We need to know how many of them are down there…where my granddaughter is, before we act.  Moreover, we need a plan,” he said with a calm that told me that lives were about to be lost.  The only thing that kept me focused was the fact that what we were doing was right – saving a young damsel in distress.

Theren spoke up.  “I can shapeshift into something small, a rat perhaps.  I can infiltrate the camp and see if I can find her.  If nothing else, I can learn their disposition.”  There were nods and we watched as he paused, pressed his hands together, and closed his eyes in thought.  I had my doubts.  Theren had been talking about shapeshifting, but a rat?  That seemed preposterous.

The outline of his body shimmered, blurred in the evening, and seemed to collapse.  We looked down and saw a rat where Theren had stood.  We had never seen him do it and I could not help but wonder what kind of dark magic he was using.  This is why the church had purged the druids, no doubt. I was sure that every time he used that accursed magic it would cost him some his mortal soul.  That was faith and fate.

Rat/Theren scurried off but came back a short time later, resuming his human form, wet with sweat and covered with blades of grass.  “There are five wagons, all parked facing outward, like a star.  They have a few archers poised in the trees.  I was able to chew my way into one wagon but I could not see your granddaughter Matthias, only some women.  They have a campfire in the middle. What I could tell there are at least a dozen men – perhaps that many females.  The men don’t seem armed with anything more threatening than lutes and rapiers.”  He sketched out the camp in the dirt.

I didn’t disregard his comments about rapiers, they could kill a man just as easy as a cutlass when wielded by the right man.  Blackshear stared at the configuration of the camp.  “Typical for the Amber Elves.  They do it so they can scatter if attacked, brilliant positioning on their part.  Those archers, they are a problem – but the real threat will come from their magic.  We need a diversion.  I can take out five of them, if I can get in there. “

Galinndan grinned.  “I can fire on the archers.  That should keep them busy.”

“We can move in and try to unharness the horses, prevent some of them from scattering,” I offered.

“We must take care…no harm must come to the hostages,” Blackshear warned.  I hated to think what he might do if his granddaughter were harmed, either to the Amber Elves or us.  We all nodded nervously.

Carefully we crawled towards the camp, coming at it from three directions to help block any flight they might try and undertake.  The signal was given with a wave of Blackshear’s beefy hand and the battle began.

I rushed in, swinging my flaming sword at one of the men, cutting him deep and setting him afire, if only for a moment.  I spotted Althalus emerge but suddenly stop, as if paralyzed.  I saw a distant elf, strumming his mandolin, staring at the warlock, trapping him for a moment in some sort of charm.  Blast it!  I struggled with my elven foe, his blade tearing across my chest armor with a rattle that shook me.

Blackshear rushed in, swinging the massive blade of Render – cutting the head off of one elf, sending it bouncing in torso of another.  Arrows filled the air, all aimed at Galinndan.  Theren cast one of his black spells, some sort of whip of thorns.  It snared one elf and tossed it into the one that was concentrated on charming Althalus.  The disruption shook the magic that held the warlock.  He grinned and prepared to unleash a blast of his own magic.

Suddenly the warlock shimmered and for a moment I thought he had disappeared.  No, far worse, he had changed into a raccoon. What kind of madness was this?  I swung again at my foe, knocking him back, but he still clung to life.

The air filled around Theren with a flurry of magic swirling daggers, which he emerged from angered and more frustrated.  He stood face-to-face with one of the elves who held up his hands to the sky.  Suddenly the air around both of them filled with raining jagged javelins of ice and frigid death.  Both took some damage, but it was enough to shake Theren back.

“Stop the wagons!” Blackshear howled to the druid as he planted his battle axe in the chest of another elf.

I rushed forward and hit one of the elves, apparently shaking the spell that had held Althalus in the form of a raccoon.  He shook his head as if in a daze.

Theren, having heard the words of Blackshear, shimmered again but not to the form of a rat.  No, this time a massive black bear.  He rushed forward and collided with one of the wagon wheels, hitting it hard and sideways, breaking it off of the axle mount.  That wagon would not flee.

The warlock, Althalus, grinned, finally prepared to unleash his eldritch blast.  He fired at one elf but missed completely.  His blast seared into the bear-hide of Theren.  The bear disappeared, and what emerged through the magic shimmer was a druid with a burn hole in his side.

“Sorry,” Althalus said upon seeing the damage he had done to his comrade, turning back to the elf he had missed.   That elf disappeared, sidestepping through some sort of magic opening in the air.  He appeared behind Bor, who has hit by several arrows in the fight.  The elf stabbed him from behind, staggering the big warrior.

Blackshear rushed towards one of the wagons near the fire when one of the elves emerged from a wagon and raised his hands.  “Stop!  We wish to negotiate!  Parlay!”

Galinndan fired one more arrow, pretending he hadn’t heard the call for truce.  To my utter surprise Blackshear stopped his charge and raised his hand in the air, a sign for us to halt.  He gave Galinndan a scornful glare at the last twang of his bow, then focused on the elf.   “Watch your words elf-scum,” he spat.  “If you are attempting to use your magic on us, the rest of you will die.”

“No tricks,” the yellow-skinned elf said.  “Enough have been injured or slain this night.  What is it you are after?  I am sure we can arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.”

“What I want is my granddaughter Miley and others you stole from their homes.  I want them back.  Give them to us and you live.  Resist, I will kill all of you,” the former First Knight said.

The elf pondered his words for three whole seconds, making me wonder if the battle would be rejoined.  “Very well.  A misunderstanding I am sure.  No harm has come to them.  We were merely borrowing them.”  He opened the rear door of one of the wagons.  Looking inside it appeared empty.  Then the illusion disappeared.  Inside were five children, being held by another female elf, no doubt a sorceress herself.  It was brilliant.  Even if we had looked in the wagon, we would have not seen them.

He led them out and Blackshear’s granddaughter rushed to him.  “Pa-pa!” she wailed as she hugged him. I saw a tear trickle down the face of the big warrior and it filled me with faith – faith that we had fought the good fight and for the right reasons.  I silently thanked God for our victory as Bor and I gathered the others and backed away from the camp.

“If you know what is good for you, you will leave these lands.  The next time we meet, there will be no parlay.  There will be death.”

“We never cross the same ground twice,” the elf replied.  “It is our lot in life.”

We gathered up the children and carefully made our way out of the camp.  I saw the man I had downed rising and standing, healed already by one of their number. I silently pondered that if we had continued to fight if we would have prevailed.

Of course we would!  Our cause was just and God was on our side! There is no room in a paladin’s life for self-doubt.  

Roleplaying games are where the players are essentially writing their own fantasy sagas. I hope you are enjoying the chronicling of our D&D campaign.  Here are the previous parts of the story.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Character Background Material

My New Campaign

#dungeonsanddragons

To the Gellesian Fields Part 10

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At a Michcon convention in the 1970’s I met Gary Gygax, the co-creator of D&D.  I remember him saying that playing the game was akin to writing a novel.  That always stuck in the back of my mind as a neat idea.  We all think this, but few ever put it into action – to actually script the game sessions as a book.  Hence this effort.

Thus continues the novelization of our current Dungeons and Dragons campaign.  Note: At the bottom of this post is the links to the previous segments if you have not been keeping up.

Althalus…

I limped the church in Whiterock with a bit of a wry grin on my face.  My gait was still erratic, but slightly better than in previous days.  I was coping with my injury as best I could.  Entering the temple, I was reminded all too well of the church’s disdain for magic that was not practiced by their priests.  They had been purging those that practiced the art arcane for years. Just admitting you were a practitioner of non-church magic was enough to bring down the wrath of the church.  It did not bother me as much as it caused them fear.

The church had a lot to fear.  I was a warlock, a Keeper of the Great Fire, Ushers of the Great Old One.  Our numbers in Whiterock were few, but it was more than enough to keep our mission ongoing.  While the church wasted time on mortal souls, our quest was much more complicated.  Bringing about the end of the world was something that consumed souls, even those that the church claimed to save.

The temple itself smelled of beeswax, incense, and false hope – at least in my mind.  The priest war long flowing robes and seemed to float across the dark wooden floors to me.  “What brings you here my son?”  The old man always made me edgy.  Some of it was the concern that he would learn that I was a warlock, but some of it was just his strange, almost always happy demeanor. Men that are always happy carry the darkest secrets – or so my sect-master says.

“This,” I said, pulling up my britches to show my leg where the cockatrice had bitten me.  The skin was gray and hard like a stone, a large patch that stretched from just above my knee and up almost to my codpiece.  “I was hoping you could heal me.”

The priest leaned in and touched the stoneskin almost apprehensively.  “How did you get this injury?”

“A cockatrice.”

The old priest shook his head.  “This is beyond me.  I will say a prayer for you though.”

“Save it,” I replied.  “I don’t need your prayer, I need a cure.”  I turned and shuffled out. The entire encounter summed up my dealings with the church.  They were always there in life when I didn’t need them, offering me things I couldn’t use.  That was one of the reasons I had embraced the Dark Ones. At least they offered power in exchange for my service.

I made my way to Braxton Oldsford’s home, a member of my sect.  I knocked and he and Dumar Ultard were there at the door.  “You’ve returned!” he exclaimed and ushered me in.  Ultard bombarded me with questions about the Gellesian Fields and the creatures we had faced there.  Both were interested in my stoneskin, though neither had any idea of how to cure it.

Inevitably the talk turned to the demon skull that had possessed, albeit only for a few short days.  “I have heard that such artifacts speak to you…is that true?” Oldsford asked.

“It did speak to me, though it did so in dissonant voices.  I could not understand much of what it said.  It was as if it were trying to impart something on me, pass on some message.”

Their mouths hung agape at my words.  “None of us have ever dared march into that haunted battlefield, yet you Althalus, you went there and found such an artifact.  To hold the skull of a demon it is said gives you power over them in the hells.  Where is it now?”

My lips curled.  “I was forced to surrender it by my comrades.”

“You no longer have it?” Ultard asked.

I glared at him, always the idiot.  “What part of ‘surrender’ did you not understand?  We were waylaid by a member of the Sisterhood of the Sword.  It was necessary to turn it over to her to get what we went after.  Now we must recover then go onto Karn and finish this fool’s errand.” I was far from happy about being little more than messengers for the long-dead Gray Rider.  This was not getting me closer to my goal…bringing about the end of the world.

Braxton Oldsford nodded then went to the large red leather tome he kept above his fireplace.  He carried it down.  “You have done well Althalus, better than any of the others of our sect,” he shot a disappointed glace over at Ultard.  “I impart on you the second rites – the spell for those that have communed with the dead.”  He handed me the sacred book.”

“What kind of magic does it hold?”

“You are only ready for those of the second verse – but you are more than ready.  Read on and choose your spells wisely.”

I was stunned.  Only Oldsford had ever read the second or third verses of the book.  “You honor me.”

“Nay,” he replied.  “You have heard the voices of the dead.  That is your first step down a greater path my young friend.  I see much of me in you.  Learn your new spells.  I foresee that this journey you are on is much longer than you anticipate.  You will venture far into the world, which has been foreseen in the fires.  You alone may be one of the few that brings about the return of the Great Old One.”

The disappointment in Ultard’s eyes gave me some happiness.  “I will not fail.”

“Study – learn what you are able – and prepared.  Your journey is a long one.”

* * * * *

For two days I stayed in my room, only leaving to eat and shit.  The spells in the second verse were difficult to understand at first.  The more I read and re-read them, the more they began to make sense.  I practiced at night, so my comrades wouldn’t see me.  Theren had gone off to his sacred grove, and Arius went to the temple daily to pray and meditate.  Galinndan hung with his friends from the Thieves Guild, drinking with the money he had paid them.  Bor – Bor just practiced with his sword.  On the second day I finally understood the words and could speak in incantations with some degree of accuracy.  The spells worked! The power came to me as a trickle at first, but as I mastered the new spells-arcane, it became a tidal wave.

On the third day Theren returned looking overly rested.  “We should be leaving for Karn,” he announced at breakfast. “I am now ready.”  Arius and the rest had traded some of our treasure for horses.  He called his Rollo, which seemed a strange name for a horse.  Theren’s was named Drago, which was somewhat sinister sounding for the druid.  We had all used our few days to recover and recoup, though I was still plagued with my stoneskin growth.

“Did the trees tell you it was time to go?” I asked, allowing myself a grin at his expense.  “Or perhaps you have smoked enough of the wild-weed that you finally are ready to finish this journey.”

Theren was not amused.  “I communed with nature and the forest spoke to me,” he said arrogantly.  “I have learned much now.  I can transform into the form of an animal, if it is my whim.”  He was proud of what he had just mastered.  I tried to picture him as a threatening bunny or a menacing mole.  Such a power was a waste in the wrong hands.  What I could do with that would be something to send ripples of fear into those that opposed me.

Arius grinned.  “Of course you can,” he sniped back.  “If you smoke enough of that forest weed and drink that mushroom soup, you believe you can do anything.  You druids are all the same.  Every little rock sings a song – every tree has a story to tell.”  Coming from a paladin I found his words ironic and funny because they were at Theren’s expense.

“Would you like me to show you?” he retorted.

“No,” I said flatly.  “We are really not interested.”  I saw the red rise on his cheeks at my words. His frustration made me happy.  Perhaps next time you will not be so quick to give up my possessions…

“Oh we believe you,” Bor added sarcastically.  “You can change into an animal.  Very useful I’m sure.” His piling on only infuriated Theren even more.  It made my heart less black.

We set out mid-morning, fully provisioned.  None of us had been to Karn before, there had never been a reason.  We had heard all sorts of rumors though about Lord Sklaven.  Some said he was mad with old age, others claimed that his advisors were the true power.  I did not care.  We needed to deliver our message recovered from Lexa Lyoncroft and be done with this business.

On the road to the east, we passed several farmers with carts heading off to Whiterock. My companions and I had changed.  In the past we would have merely waved to them.  Now we put our hands on the hilts of our weapons and wondered if every passing farmer was some sort of concealed threat, ready to spring upon us.

Several days passed and it wasn’t until the fourth day that we came across some strange wagon tracks.  What made them strange was that they crossed the road before us, rather than travel on the road itself.  Why would anyone not take the road and travel with wagons cross-country?  Also I noted that some of the ruts were deep in the dried mud, an indication that they had formed up in column to conceal their numbers.  This was not the work of farmers off to reap hay – that much I knew.  Theren agreed.

Near that end of that day Galinndan spotted something on the road before it.  It came into our view – a massive man, all muscles. He wore dark leather breeches and a chestplate of leather and steel.  His arms were bare, and looked more like trees than arms.  He was bald, except for his bushy eyebrows and a thin goatee. The man stood before us with a thick cape of fur on his back, from a creature or creatures I have never beheld before.  He was older than us, probably late 40’s or even 50’s, though the years did not seem to take a toll on him.  His sword was massive, with nicks and dings on its length that spoke to battles long fought and won.  In the warrior’s other hand was a battle axe, almost as menacing as the giant sword. This is no run-of-the-mill fighter, this is a killer. Handling one of these weapons would be enough for most – he wields both.

He spoke through gritted teeth.  “Who are you pond-scum-sucking vermin?  Have you seen them?  I am on their trail…they were headed this way!”

I could see that Bor and Arius were contemplating drawing their weapons and I was glad they did not.  Doing so would have probably done little more than decapitate us and perhaps leave another nick on his sword, if we were lucky.

“Who are you following?” I asked nervously.

“The Amber Elves.  They’ve stolen my granddaughter you woodchuck-humping, cockpiece-sucking fools.”

Before I could ask what Amber Elves were, Bor asked him his name.

“I am Matthias Blackshear, former First Knight of the Royal Guards, and I demand your assistance; you pansy-wasted little piles of minotaur shit!  If you do not aid me, I can only assume you in league with those kidnapping bastards.”  Pride hung in his words on the dusty trail.  He said his name as if we should know who he was.  We looked at each other with some confusion.

Seeing him, nearly half a man more than any of us, I realized that we were about to assist this man or perish.

“What kind of help do you need?” I asked.

I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am writing them up. Below are previous episodes:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Character Background Material

My New Campaign

#dungeonsanddragons

To the Gellesian Fields Part 9

xena

For our previous novelized gaming sessions, please go to the bottom of this post.

Theren Meliamne…

We stood atop the largest of the Bailey Hills as Lexa Lyoncroft departed with the demon’s skull that Althalus had been so obsessed with.

“There’s something you should all know,” Bor Boskin said when she was out of earshot.  “Lexa…she’s one of the Sisterhood of the Sword.

“That purged priory?” Arius said.  “They betrayed the church, that much I know.  Their members were excommunicated and their leaders executed.”

That may have carried weight with our paladin, Arius had a blind eye when it came to the dealings of the church.  I was not so misguided as a druid.  The church had been attempting to do the same thing with us, erase us from history.  So far, they had had failed.  I wondered though – what had happened with the Sisterhood of the Sword to lead to such a violent reaction from the church?  Was it something they were guilty of – or had they been played as guilty of some crime they had never committed?   In many respects, she may be facing the same wrath of the church my own people had been dealing with. “At least that explains that curved sword she had.”

Althalus nodded.  “Nothing good ever comes with people carrying big curved swords,” he said, as if his words carried the weight of law. I would have argued with him, but the memory of her with that sword in her hands was enough to hold my tongue.  This time the warlock was right.

“So where do we go from here?” Bor asked.  “We have the message now.”

Our course was clear to me.  “We were sent to complete the ride of the Gray Rider.  We take the message to Lord Sklaver at Karn.  We give him the message and we are done.”

“Karn eh?” Arius said, turning around and looking back down the road through the Gellesian Fields from which we had traveled already, twice. “I have to admit, I’ll be happy to put this place behind us.  And to get there, we have to go back home.  I will be good to return for a day or so, resupply, rest up. This place wears you out, from those trying to kill us to these strange hell-spawned creatures we have seen.”

It was hard to argue with a longing for home – even for a day or two.  I had seen much since leaving our village and had much to share with my fellow brothers.  I looked at my bonded brothers and they all nodded.  “So we go home – then onto Karn.”

We set out that day, making good progress.  The Gellesian Fields was wearing on our nerves though.  Our sleep was always restless in this place, no doubt because of the tormented spirits that lurked there.  The second night as we headed south, we came across a reminder of the horrors of where we were.  We heard a shuffling near our camp, from a small copse of trees.

We had learned that such sounds rarely were friendly and we were up and armed quickly.  As we moved in, a horrible abomination emerged.  Pale grayish blue skin, a sickening tongue – it had to be a ghast, from what little I knew of such thing.

The creature sprang on Galinndan, biting him on the same spot that the zombie had torn into his shoulder.  He reeled back in agony.  I struck it with my staff, which seemed to be lighter and stronger than ever before – no doubt the result of that water I had dipped it in several days earlier.  The wood ripped a nasty gash on the beast’s flesh, but it was seemingly unphased.  Althalus unleashed his eldritch blasts, but they only leave a shouldering hole in its upper left body – and an angrier look filled its eyes.  As it turned to go after Althalus, Bor sprung at it with his warhammer Skull Ringer.  His swing was so swift and true that it cut into the body of the creature, shattering its spine as his swing exited.  The ghast stared at us with confusion as its body folded in half at the furrow that Skull Ringer had cut.  It dropped.  I would say that it was dead but with such creatures, it had to be more than dead.  What is it when the undead die?  Good…yes.  But are they really dead?

The next day we came across a small carved stone pillar along the road.  Somehow we had missed it on our journey north.  There was a clay urn on top, sealed with wax.  We checked it and found no markings.  My thought was that it was some sort of offering, no doubt to some dead warrior or people that had fought in the Fields.  Galinndan pried it open and we found very old coins, platinum, gold, and silver.  We dumped those in a backpack.  I was wary of taking them but it seemed foolish to leave such treasure along the road.  At the same time I wondered if disturbing such an offering was to have consequences.  As it turned out my concerns were well founded.

On the fourth day since leaving Lexa Lyoncroft we left behind the Gellesian Fields.  As we glanced back we noticed an ominous darkness that seemed to hover beyond the stone arch.  It was as if thunderclouds were obscuring the sun over those troubled lands.  I pointed it out to the others.  “Did you notice that before?”

“Nay,” Arius said, leaning on one of the halberds we had captured from the orc patrol.  “It does not surprise me.  That place was an open wound on the land – a place where evil festered.  That Lexa, she was one of the nicest beings we saw there – and she tried to kill us.”

He was wrong of course.  I am a druid, the land, the creatures, and growth of the world are part of my fiber.  The land was not the problem with the Gellesian Fields, I was sure of that.  It was the heinous war that had been fought there, the corruption of magic and death that had been perpetrated there that had made the lands seem so dangerous.  The races of the world, not the land, had made those fields so hazardous.  I didn’t correct Arius though.  The last thing I needed was the perspective of the church and another one of our endless debates.  The problem with paladins, their lives are centered on the fact that they are always right.

Lexa…she had a story that we simply did not know.  I also felt that we would be seeing here again too.  Bor thought that same, so he confided to me.  Next time, I swore, the odds would be more even.

It took us three more days to reach Whiterock and home.  We returned to home and the people that we had left looked at us at first as if we were strangers, then they recognized us and greeted us warmly.  Even the portly burgomaster rushed to us to ask us if we had been successful.

“Yes,” I said.  “We recovered the content of the message that the Gray Rider had been robbed of.”

“What was it?” he asked excitedly.
“A message for Lord Sklaver’s eyes alone,” Arius said.

“Then you will be leaving for Karn?”

I nodded.  “Yes.  We need to rest up from the creatures we have fought in battle.”

“Then rest you shall get!” the burgomaster said as if he could will such a thing.  “We are all happy that you have all returned home.  We look forward to your stories.”

“Not tonight,” I said.  My private solace in my forest was all I wanted.  Once there, I knew I could gather the strength for the next leg of our journey – the Road to Karn.

Thus ends the latest segment of our campaign.  I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am writing them up. Below are previous episodes:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Character Background Material

My New Campaign

#dungeonsanddragons

Review of Falling Stars RPG and Tactical Game System by Lock ‘N Load Publishing

 

puke
I just notice that the female is walking away on the cover…which was a hint at what I should have done

I am an old school gamer.  I own dice older than most of the contemporary players.  I remember those heady days of Traveller – of my characters dying during creation.  I remember first edition Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha.  My first Star Wars RPG used six-sided dice…and I’m proud of that.  FTL 2448 was good too in its own weird way.  Then came Star Frontiers – and a plethora of other early game systems. For a while it seemed that space-opera-ish games were the rage.

The old games all had a framework they followed.  The universe was big.  Man was just one of the races.  There were aliens with psionics – which was the magic of the sci fi RPG genre.  Thanks to George Lucas, the games all had smugglers and aliens that were, for the most part, quasi-human.  You had to have cybernetics too – because that was a thing (thanks to The Six Million Dollar Man.)  They all claimed to be space operas (including the game Space Opera).  I always felt like most (with the exception of Traveller) just were cardboard-like clones.  “Take our fantasy RPG, swap out lasers for crossbows, psionics for magic, and ta da!”

So when I saw Falling Stars, I thought, “Hey, maybe this is a new spin on space operas, with some grit, some depth, some cool stuff.”

God I was wrong.

I rarely blast game products in reviews but this one compelled me to change that policy, if not for me but to save someone the cost of purchasing this system.  First off I’ll tackle the elephant in the room.  The book is 462 pages paperback and costs $54.99.  It is grossly overpriced for what you get.  The layout is a san serif font at around 14 point that looks all boldface, which just made the book too long and hard to read visually.   No RPG should make your eyes hurt – yet this one does…on multiple levels.

The game is well written, but it breaks no new ground.  In fact, it is boring retread of a lot of classic space opera stuff and things lifted from popular media.  The difference here is that the game universe is flat and dull.  Guess what, there’s cybernetics and a psionic race.  Wow. The cybernetics are nowhere as cool as Shadowrun.  The races are uninspiring, unthreatening, and dull.

The combat system is skill based except for a confusingly written Setting the Target Number set of rules. It’s supposed to be a big differentiator for them.  It’s not exciting.  In fact, I wanted to get clarity on it but, and here’s a surprise, there’s no written example in the combat chapter on a few rounds of combat.  I’ll grant you I’m no genius, but I’ve written a LOT of game books (and designed RPG’s myself) and I find examples to be, I don’t know…USEFUL.

The character classes are so bad I felt as if I threw up a little bit in the back of my throat when writing this review.  Example of the fluff text.  “Their cargo is technically considered to be contraband and subject to seizure without warning and for no reason other them being who they are.  Even with all of these dangers and pitfalls, most smugglers tend to make a very good living.”  How is this the case? We’ll never know – there are no rules for merchants and smugglers.  Oh, and the class bonuses?  “Never tell me the odds…” “She can make that run in a unit of measurement that doesn’t actually apply to this analogy.”  I’m not kidding.  This is no homage to Star Wars where they clearly lifted their inspiration – it’s an expensive knock off that lacks any depth.

The spaceship building rules work, but have all of the complexity and thrills of an Excel spreadsheet.  At least with BattleTech there are inherent tradeoffs you have to make – armor, speed, firepower.  With this you purchase modules and I guess they just fit in your spaceship frame.

The artwork is okay – actually, it’s a redeeming feature in the book.  It is all done by the same artist so everything has the same look at feel.  That was good.  What sucks is how they abused the art.  To describe extra arms, they took an image of an alien with extra arms (used elsewhere in the book) and faded everything but the extra arms.  It was as if the designers felt that people wouldn’t know what extra arms were so they gave you a visual reference.  I will grant you, some players may struggle with that concept – but not at my table.

This game needs and overhaul or, better yet, needs to die the same death of many of its other predecessors in the genre. No burial.  Cremation is the only solution for this system.

My review is one out of five stars and I am struggling to be that generous.  There are some interesting nuggets here, but the price to get to those concepts is far too high.  I won’t even taint my other RPG’s by putting it on the shelf with them.  This book should have been titled, “Failing Stars.”  As my mother would say, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Review of Bolt Action Konflikt ‘47

soviet
Yeah, this is subtle…

I got a chance to play this at GenCon when it was released and liked the look of the game, though the core is Bolt Action.  In fact, this hardcover rules book at $40.00 IS Bolt Action, with a few additions.  Konflikt ’47 is a low-tech sci-fi game set in the late 1940’s with a healthy dose of FFG’s Tannhauser game, more than a lifting of Dust Tactics walkers, and a bit of a steampunkish feel.

So how has the world changed?  When the US set off its first test of an atomic bomb it opened a rift in space-time.  The rift energy provides incredible power, allowing for new technologies, and the corruption of others.  WWII is altered dramatically as the powers start leveraging the rift-tech.  D-Day happens but the Germans are able to hold the line at their border after bitter fighting.  Likewise the Soviet steamroller is bled heavily.  The governments begin to field walkers – (BattleMechs) and powered infantry armored suits.  Germany taps this rift power to create zombies, werewolves, etc.  Japan turns the die in the Pacific and still holds a vast empire.  Alliances fracture…and the war continues.  It takes 20+ pages to give you that background in the book – but you get the idea.

This game is Bolt Action, which is both good and bad.  Good in that it is a proven game system.  Bad in that I am offended that I had to buy a whole new rules book when this could have been a much less expensive supplement with the differences.

What’s new? Well weapons-wise is where you get the bulk of the new stuff.  Super-bazookas, rifle grenades, M17 Tesla Cannon, Zvkovoy Proyektors, Schwerefeld Projektor.  You have heavily armored infantry, though the British armor looks almost like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. Zvukovoy Proyektors are sonic weapons.  Schwerefeld Projektor’s crush targets by manipulating gravity.  Tesla weapons are just what you think they are.

Both sides field walkers which are pretty cool to look at. Then again they look painfully similar to Dust machines.

coyote

There are some rules changes beyond the new weapons systems. You now have a reaction to Escape! Which allows you to run to get out of a battle.  There’s also a Firefight reaction that allows a fighting response.  You have an option to Run to Cover too – which is nice.  There is an Ambush reaction too, which is good.  But honestly, these addendum’s to the rules should apply to Bolt Action as well.  (They may be in the new updated rules, I haven’t purchased them to find out).

Thanks to DNA splicing and rift energy there are new kinds of units with special rules.  Tooth and Claw for German and Soviet animal/human hybrids.  Large Infantry, the beefed up power armor.  Flight – jetpack-ish troops.  Fast – for genetically manipulated troops.  Infrared-Vision rules kick in as does super Strong troops and Horrors – which strike fear in their enemies.

The rules for walkers makes them feel like a variant of tanks.  I think the Warlord Games group missed a chance here to make them different, more ‘Mech-like.  As they are, while they look cool, they are just tanks with legs.

The cool part, you can use your Bolt Action miniatures with Konflikt ’47.  That’s a plus, but since you have to purchase a whole new rules book, it is little benefit.

I give the game overall a four out of five stars.  Interesting concept – far too close to Dust to avoid the comparisons.  This should have been made as a supplement and a standalone rules set.


 

RPG Humor – Famous Last Words

tpk

I remember seeing some lists out there years ago, so I thought a fresh perspective might be in order.  This applies to a wide range of role playing games (with an emphasis on fantasy games) and is provided solely to give you a chuckle.  I didn’t cheat and look at the old lists out there, so any similarities are coincidental.

He’s got to be out of offensive spells at this point.  Let’s rush him!

He’s probably only got a few more hit points.

No, I’m not familiar with a polymorph spell.  What does it do to me?

They will never expect us to come at them from this angle.

We can survive in a vacuum long enough to pull it off.

They’ll never see us coming.

That dragon is bluffing.

Don’t worry – we’re well out of range of their (fireballs, catapults, arrows, trebuchet, ballista, machineguns, BattleMechs, lightning bolts, spears, lasers, missiles, etc.)

We have them right where we want them.

Ignore them, it’s a diversionary attack.

Gas?  No problem – we’ll just hold our breath as we fight.

The only thing these guys understand is brute force.

If we run fast enough through the fire it should minimize the damage.

Let’s pile all of the ammo crates in one spot, real close to our position.

Liches are not nearly as tough as you might think.

If we rush them, they can’t possibly hit all of us.

I don’t know what this wand does, but we’re about to find out!

I thought you said it was just a bunch of farmers in this village?

Freeze.  If we don’t make a sound or move, they’ll go right on by us.

We’ve got to win…we’re the good guys.

Don’t worry, it can’t get any worse than this.

What do you mean, “That’s no moon…?”

I’m only a little bit on fire…

Why yes, I give that lever a good hard yank.

(To the enemy) I dare you to use that wand again!

He’s not so tough now…wait…what do you mean he stands up and starts grinning?

We’ve taken out all of their heavy hitters.

He’s just a tiny dragon.

I disbelieve!

What do you mean it’s no longer in my backpack?  Where did it go?

Those are just statues – not everything is a golem.

We’ll let them have the first shot, just to show them what badasses we are.

For the record, they started it…

I’m out of arrows…I didn’t know you were keeping track.

I moon them Braveheart-style.

I get a running start and jump the pit/gap/chasm.

I wonder what this rope is attached to?  (Tug)

I spit in Zeus’ face to show him I’m not afraid.

We have them surrounded – so why are they laughing?

As long as they don’t have a magic user, we should be safe here.

It’s storming?  I move under the tall tree for shelter.

You’ll never take us alive!

I bitch-slap the head of the Thieves Guild, just to get my point across.

We don’t have time to make the light speed calculations — punch it!

I wonder what that whooshing sound is?

I take off my armor to intimidate them and show them I am not afraid.

I kill our hostage – that should prove we were serious.

No, I didn’t take off my armor before I jumped in…why?

I never would have set it on fire if I’d known that was the only exit!

The dragon’s asleep?  This is going to be a cake walk.

What do you mean ‘that’s the controls to the airlock?’

Owlbear?  That sounds more cuddly than dangerous.  How tough could that be?

I drink all of the unmarked potion – what happens?

It’s just fog guys.

Don’t waste your time burning those trolls – we need to see what is in their den.

What do you mean I don’t see the pin on the grenade?

I’m not going to waste time checking for traps.

We can relax, this room is secure.

(To the DM)  Blah, blah, blah.  Skip the flavor text and start rolling some dice.  Daddy needs the EP’s…

I look that Medusa right in the eye and I tell her…

Who was watching the horses?  Where is he?  Where are they?

I thought you were keeping the map so we could find our way out!

No problem – I’m invisible.

It’s probably a bad time to remind you that I was against this idea.

That has to be an illusion.

(To the DM) No, I’m not familiar with Greek Fire.  Why?

What do you mean he shrugs off my 18 points of damage and winks at me?

When you say the cave floor is moist and squishy, what exactly do you mean?

The only way I can miss is if I roll a one.

Watch out for that crossfire!

They’re not fooling me with that diversion.  We stand our ground here.

Guys, this probably is a good time to point out that we apparently are standing on a pentagram.

Kevlar stops everything – right?

For this plan to work, I need a volunteer to act as bait…

(To the DM)  Did you say thirty orcs?  I thought you said thirteen.

Where’s that guy we just killed?

I smash the dragon’s eggs.  How does that leather-winged bitch react to that?

I make a run between the giant’s legs.

When you say I detect a trap everywhere…what do you mean by ‘everywhere?’

What kind of a sick bastard fills a pit with acid?

Why are you handing me a blank character sheet?  You haven’t even rolled for the damage yet.

Of course I’m reading the scroll out loud.

What do you mean my sword is missing?

Split up – they can’t possibly follow all of us.

I swear to God I didn’t know those things could fly like that.

I just start randomly pushing buttons – does anything happen?

Why do you want to know if I have swimming as a skill?

Liche?  No problem, I can turn the undead.

Quick mix all of the potions together and drink them.  It’s do or die time!

Did their captain just yell, “Leave no one alive?”

I’ve got a 17 charisma, so I naturally put the moves on the princess…

I saw this once in a Roadrunner cartoon…we can do this…

There’s five of us and one of him…this should be easy.

How was I supposed to know she was married/intended as a virgin sacrifice/possessed by a demon?

I wonder why they are all chanting?

We run across the rope suspension bridge to get away.

Don’t worry, we’re safe here in this keep.

We can do this, I saw this scene in (Insert movie or TV show)

We torch the forest/town/tavern/castle – that should get their attention.

I climb into the catapult and give the signal…

What do you mean fireball’s expand?

This is usually the part where they break and run…but this time they’re not.  Hmm…

You’re darned right I refuse to bow down to the king.  I didn’t get to fifth level by being a wuss.

If we don’t move, they’ll never spot us.

I’m hearing his voice inside my head?  That can’t be good.

Yes I AM trying to jump wearing full armor.  Why are you looking so puzzled?

I don’t know if the spell needs components.  Is that important?

(After ten minutes to hacking through the door) Do we surprise them?

What do you mean I am out of ammunition?

I quickly dive out of the window…wait…what floor were we on again?

I told you that it was a waste of money to pay for maintenance on the ship.

I run across the flowing lava really fast so I don’t sink in.

Why yes, I am holding the torch while I prepare the oil flasks to throw them.  Why?

I start the auto-destruct sequence to bluff him into standing down.

What do you mean you need a shit-load of D20’s for the damage?

I’m low on hit points, I’ll take the rear guard.  There’s no way they will hit us from there.

We’ll be safe in that cave/up those trees/in that house/etc…

Of course we have a campfire going, why?

Don’t worry, if these guys were any good they wouldn’t be city guards.

It’s just a ballista…it’s probably like being hit with an arrow.

(To the DM)  Why are you checking the starvation tables?

Yes, of course we are still tied to each other in case one of us falls off the cliff…why do you ask?

I don’t have to take that kind of backtalk from a wizard.

I yell to the angry mob and tell them to bite me.

You didn’t just kill the pilot did you?

It’s almost as if they are acting as bait for us.

(About the DM) When I said, “what else could he throw at us,” I didn’t mean it as some sort of challenge.

That bright light in the sky is getting bigger and brighter?  Hmm…

Slow down, what plane of Hell did we open a portal to again?

The vampire turns into a cloud of mist…so we won, right?

I told you it would be easy…look, they’re running away.

How many spears are incoming?

Avalanche, smavalanche…

The crew abandoned ship?  How hard could it be to sail a vessel in a storm?

He’s just a little Beholder.

I cross the rope tightrope-style.

How many vampires coffins are in the room with us?

Everybody try and hide!

The only way to get his respect is to insult his wife.

Sure, I agree to a battle of wits with him.

Which colored flare do I use to call off the in-bound air strike?

We leap off the cliff and aim for the lake.  Wait…how deep is that water?

We’re safe.  You’d have to be a ninja or a monk to climb those walls to get to us.

I’m telling you, that dragon has breathed its last blast of fire.

I’m calling in an artillery strike – danger-close!

Wait…how many giants did you say were running at us?

It’s just an earthquake.

Damn right I’m going to mock that stupid bard.

This is a hell of a time to be getting a physics lesson.

That’s not how you desecrate a temple — THIS is how you desecrate temple…

I think we lost them.

(To the DM)  What do you mean there’s no point in me rolling for initiative?

Screw the druid…torch the forest.

I stick my head above the battlement walls to see if they are still there.

I discrete their temple…that should get their attention.

They’ve walked right into our trap.

I’m sure we’re out of the blast radius.

Did he really just yell, “Release the Kraken!”?

I’m counting on it swallowing me whole so I can gut it from the inside…

I know I’m blinded – I’m casting the spell in the direction of his voice.

Everybody spread out, it will force them to divide their fire.

Yes I did just refer to the Drow queen as a ‘Hot Black Chick’…why?

So shaman can cast spells?

Stop wasting time in looking up its stats and let’s just get on killing this thing.

Why is that goblin hoard laughing at us?

I’ve worded this wish so well there’s no way the DM can screw with us…

So that’s why they call it the Prison of Souls…

I’m pretty sure we aren’t all in its cone of fire.

I’m taking it off, armor just slows me down.

(To the DM)  When you say ‘tornado,’ what exactly do you mean?

(After five days of desert travel)  Look, and oasis….we’re gonna make it!

Who cares what the impact is – I’m changing alignment right here and right now.

Give me a hand prying open that coffin.

Mindflayers sure don’t look very tough.

We will never surrender!  You’ll have to kill us first.

What do you mean there’s a duration on that spell?

No one brought flint and steel?

Which walls are moving?

I really wish I’d bought a copy of the Monster Manual.

(To the DM) Of course I’ve seen the movie Alien.  Why do you ask…ut oh…

Alright, I sit down to barter with that Devil.

Before you throw the switch, what is the percentage chance that the noose/rope will break?

I don’t care what’s carved on the floor, everybody into the room.

What do you mean he’s kicking that grenade back at me?

Yes I’m putting the moves on the barkeep’s daughter.

Then I say, “Are all the city guards as stupid or ugly as you?”

I can’t believe that none of us bought rope.

I can’t parry a lightning bolt?  Are you sure?

It’s never too late to beg for forgiveness.

(To the DM) There’s a chart for explosive decompression?  Why are you asking for it?

Dive into the sewer, we’ll be safe there.

These guys only respect you when you respond forcefully.

How close is that star?

Why are our scouts running back towards us?

When you said the Thieves Guild was coming after us, I didn’t think you meant the whole guild.

When you said the ship lost power, you didn’t mean the whole ship, did you?

When you say the room is getting hot – how hot is that?

This isn’t the time to get all Paladinny on me – kill her.

Why do you want to borrow my copy of the Dungeon’s Master’s Guide?

If Butch and Sundance can make it – I’m sure we can.

Was that a “morpal” blade he’s swinging at me?  Oh crap…

They’ve stopped chasing us, we’re in the clear.

What do you mean I didn’t damage him with a roll of a 20?

When you say “transporter malfunction,” what exactly do you mean?

I’m beginning to think someone switched that road sign back there…

I have not begun to die!

Our line of retreat is blocked by what?

I ignore the radiation warning alarm and enter the room.

So that’s why they call them blink dogs…

Don’t listen to him, he’s just a bard.

I’m sure the “Rapids of Death” is just a name the locals use to scare travelers.

The joke’s on him – I cast featherfall.  No, it’s not slotted, why is that important?

That’s got to be the last charge on his wand/staff…

A demon – no problem – magic missile.

Who cares if they have the high ground?

These guys aren’t beating us – they’re tenderizing us.

Everybody into the portable hole!

I switch to my old trusty bronze sword.

I break the wizards staff over my knee.

I don’t need a physics lesson – just tell me how much damage do I take after a 300 foot fall into the river?

What do you mean I hear the sound of wheels?  They can’t have any siege equipment…

Don’t worry about him…he’s dead.

Why are you rolling that many dice for initiative?

(To the DM) I call foul.  That’s not in the Monster Manual.

They’re immune to fire?  Are you sure?

Bob – why are your eyes glowing?  Bob??

Wow…that was easier than I thought it would be.

Why is our scout running back to us so fast?

Set the self-destruct for a twenty-second count down.  That should be plenty of time.

I have a two for driving skill – why?

Hey guys, I think we’re standing in some sort of oil.

Yes I do remember being bit by that wolf…why bring it up now?

The ring can only be used once a day?

We can make it – I saw this on Survivor once.

On the count of three…one…two…

Finally, a safe place to camp.

That noise in the bush is probably just another rabbit.

I can’t be dehydrated…my character has been drinking regularly from his wineskin.

No my sword isn’t magical or silvered — is that important?

Death Stare – that’s a real thing?

Weapons lock?  Who’s locking onto–

What do you mean they can see in the dark?

I’m not wasting power on the cloaking device.

When you say giant snake – how big is giant?

I don’t care if he is standing in the same pool as the rest of our party – I fire lightning bolt!

Fine, leave us!  We don’t need your cleric anyway.

He gets how many attacks per round?

Who drank the last of the healing potion?

I taunt them, their mothers, and their sisters.

Is that incoming artillery barrage ours or the enemies?

Don’t bother me with the details.

Hey, why are our hirelings running?

You guys will back me up…right?

That abandoned mine should give us cover.

None of our spells or magic weapons work?  That’s impossible.

Who cares what my character smells?  Tell me something important.

Does anybody have any silver weapons?

Summoning that fire elemental may have made things worse.

The joke’s on you…I took my armor off to fight this rust monster!

Everyone run through the portal!

Ramming speed!

My ribs are now poking through my back?  That doesn’t sound good.

So he pulled the battle axe out of his chest and licked the blood off of it?  That can’t be a good sign.

What do you mean, I don’t detect that statue moving?

I’m tying the bag of gold onto my belt so I don’t lose them while swimming the river.

Boy, you kill one High Priest and the whole temple takes it the wrong way.

We’ve been fighting for an hour.  Maybe I can convince them to negotiate now.

I stand before the charging cavalry like Jon Snow and draw my sword.

If the dwarf thief says he’s disarmed all of the traps, then he’s disarmed all the traps.

Yes I’m concerned, that giant just sprinkled me with seasoning salt!

I’m not pulling the ripcord until the last possible second.

Quick, dive into this old lava vent!

It’s just a tiny hole (in a spacesuit, in a vacuum).

Did he just say he was calculating the in-flight velocity and splash radius of a fully armored dwarf?

They get how many attacks per turn?

Wait – did he just say that the mountain moved?

There was only one hag here a minute ago.

The joke’s on them.  It’s going to take a lot more than that to knock down that castle wall.

Sure it’s a 200 foot plummet but I’ll survive – I’m wearing armor.

I don’t have time to confirm the coordinates of that air strike.

You suck as a dungeon master…

zombie