Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Escape

And now for our thrilling conclusion

Tee’s diagnostic system quickly repaired the short circuits. He tottered over to his supine friend and began to administer first aid. Rugen’s eyes opened and he spoke: “What happened?”

The princess responded. “Your friend’s last shot knocked out the restraint controls, freeing me to strike down that vermin.”

At that moment, there was a loud pop and smoke issued from the control panel. Alarms went off and more explosions echoed from other parts of the Temple.

“Looks like my shot has shorted the power grid. This whole Temple is going to blow. Let’s get out of here.”

Tee picked up Rugen; he and the princess began to run. Smoldering fires and sizzling conduits filled the hallways with acrid smoke. Occasionally, another explosion pierced the air. Confused guards, panicked worshipers, and freed prisoners fled toward the exits, followed by the trio. They made it without incident out of the temple, through the jungle, and back to their ship. Tee place Rugen in the pilot's chair. 

"Can you fly her?"

"I think so," Rugen responded weakly. He engaged controls and they were off. As they sped through the atmosphere, a flash of light blossomed from the surface as the Temple's power grid exploded.

When their ship reached space, Rugen looked to Tee saying, "OK, Tee. Get us out of here." Tee began making the calculations for the jump into hyperwarp.

"Hmmm. Looks like we have a computer malfunction. I'll have to make repairs."

"Make it quick! We have company!"

Two Imperial scouts were vectoring towards the Templar runabout. Rugen turned the nose of his craft and increased speed. The scouts began firing their lasers, but Rugen was able to evade their wild shots. Tee continued working on the navigation computer. Rugen engaged the automated laser turret, honed in on one of the scouts, and fired. The beam struck the enemy, rupturing the engine. The enemy ship was dead in space.

More laser shots. One struck the runabout. A shower of sparks erupted from the controls. Suddenly, their grav system shorted out. Rugen and Tee were strapped into their command seats, but the princess, standing behind them, suddenly flew up into the ceiling, bumping her head. Rugen returned fire. The enemy erupted in a burst of flame.

"Whew. We're free. How's the computer coming?"

Before Tee could respond, laser fire licked the runabout's hull.

"Another one! Long range but coming fast."

"The computer's fixed." stated Tee.

The enemy scout closed the range while blasting away with its lasers. Rugen returned fire; his shots hit the scout but did no serious damage. The enemy was more accurate, however. Laser fire scorched the Templar ship's hull; computer circuits began to pop.

"Computer's down."

"Holy Temple! Get it working!" Rugen shouted to his partner. He then muttered to himself, "Let's see if I can shake this heretic." Rugen fiddled with his controls and pushed forward on the throttle. The engines whined but the runabout began to outpace the scout. Laser fire flashed harmlessly past the ship. Then the ship rocked, and Rugen felt like he had been thrown back into his seat.

The runabout jumped into hyperwarp, and they were away.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Altar of Death

Part 3 of my Space Templar Adventure

Tee performed a quick diagnostic and repair, then the duo headed down the stairs into the crypts. Proceeding down one hallway, they spotted two guards walking towards them. Rugen leaped at them and with a couple of quick slashes dispatched the surprised minions.

As they continued, they heard growling behind them. Turning, they saw two giant hounds, black as night with glowing red eyes. 

The hounds attacked. Rugen managed to stave off the one lunging at him, but the other locked its massive jaws around Tee's leg. The screech of rending metal pierced the air. Tee tried to shake the beast loose, but it clenched even harder. Rugen dispatched his opponent and came to Tee's aid. His glowing blade plunged between the shoulder blades of the ravening creature, and it collapsed.

Tee performed some additional repairs, although he still displayed a bit of a limp. The heroes pressed on, desperate to find the princess. Suddenly, a woman's scream pierced the air. They ran toward the sound. Another scream! Almost there. Then they burst into a large chamber. In the center of the chamber was a blood-stained altar with long, wavy dagger laying upon it. Suspended above the altar with force field manacles was a woman, stripped to her undergarments. She was in a swoon and reddish welts lined her flesh. Below her stood a robed figure with a pain stick in his hands. A cruel smile spread across his face.

"Too late, Templars," the man spoke as he turned to face the duo. "Soon, her life's blood will feed the almighty Zircon."

"We'll see about that!" Rugen replied as he unsheathed his stun sword.

As Rugen took his first step forward, the High Priest of Zircon held forth his hands. Sizzling bolts of energy shot from his hands. Tee dodged, but the arc of lightning struck Rugen square in the chest. Rugen was transfixed as the surge of energy coursed through his body. Tee fired at the priest. The shot struck its target. The priest staggered back, breaking his electrical death grip on Rugen.

Rugen shook off his wound and leaped to the attack. Weakened by the energy bolt, Rugen was too slow; the priest easily dodged the attack and jabbed the pain stick into Rugen's side. Rugen dropped to his knees as torrents of torture ran through his body and exploded in his brain. The priest laughed at Rugen's misery.

Tee squeezed off another shot. It missed, badly. The energy bolt nearly grazed the princess and struck the rear wall of the chamber. The sound of the shot drew Tee's attention to the wall. He noticed a control panel there. His robotic eyes zoomed in on it and he could make out the controls for the princess' force field. Then Rugen's screams of pain turned his focus back to the battle. He took another shot that hit the priest. Rugen used that distraction. Grunting through the agony, he slashed at the priest, catching him on the arm. The pain stick clattered to the ground.

Rugen stood. The two companions advanced upon their enemy. The priest scowled and spread out his hands. This time, a blast of concentrated air, like the concussion of an explosion, shot forth from Zircon's minion. The blast knocked the heroes to the ground. The priest used the delay to mutter an incantation. Flames licked around him and the wounds upon his exposed flesh visibly receded.

The Templars were back on their feet. Rugen lunged at the enemy, landing another blow. The priest retaliated with another incantation. Rugen' mind felt like it had been stabbed. Pain surged through his brain, knocking him to his knees. The misery continued; it roiled through his body until he could not resist any longer. He sank into unconsciousness.

Tee shot. The bolt whizzed past the priest.

"You missed," the priest scoffed. He pointed his hand. A lightning bolt discharged, striking Tee. The bolt shorted out his circuits; he was paralyzed.

"Now to finish you!" The priest drew a wicked, curved dagger from his belt and advanced upon the prone Templar.

As the priest advanced, he taunted the Templars. "You fools! Did you think you could best me? No one can defeat the servants of Zircon!"

"Wrong!" said the voice from behind the priest.

He spun around. The princess stood behind him, her arm poised to strike with a dagger in her hand. The priests raised his hands to ward off the blow, but it was too late. The dagger plunged into his heart. He dropped to the ground.

Coming up - the Escape!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Into the Temple

Part 2 of my Space Templar Adventure

After the battle with the ape creature, Tee carried Rugen to a small, secluded clearing in the jungle. There, they spent the night while Tee used a med kit to heal his companion's wounds.

The next day, they set out, rested and recovered. They managed to slip by the guards patrolling the perimeter and sneaked into the temple itself. 

The duo managed to blend in among the throng of worshipers, all clad in the same rough-spun cloth.

Ducking into one room to avoid some guards, they found themselves in a room filled with caged prisoners of many races from throughout the galaxy. Many had been beaten and abused. All looked like they had lost hope. Tee motioned Rugen to exit the room. Rugen hesitated. He wished to help, but to release the prisoners would be to risk their mission. One prisoner saw his hesitation and croaked out: "help." Rugen went to the man and spoke briefly with him. He explained that the prisoners were being used as sacrifices to the dark god Zircon. The princess had been there, but recently was taken away. The rest of the prisoners were doomed to share her fate. Rugen decided to act, whatever the cost. They could at least open the cages before they continued their search for the princess. Rugen gave the command and Tee was able to hack into the security grid, opening the cages. Then, they hurried out. Rugen hoped to return to provide more aid once the princess was rescued.

After a few wrong turns, the found the stairs to the crypts. Four guards armed with laser rifles blocked the staircase. There was nothing to do but fight. Rugen switched on his stun sword, leaped at the enemy, and with a spinning attack felled two of the guards. Tee began blasting away with his stun ray. The remaining two guards leveled their lasers and snapped off wild shots, one hitting Tee. The blast burnt through his borrowed robes and scorched his metal skin. Tee returned fire and another guard went down. Rugen faced the last guard, who continued to fire. Rugen dodged the shots, although another hit Tee.

"Back off, Tee!" Rugen commanded his damaged companion. Rugen struck at the guard, slashing his rifle and sending it skidding across the floor. The guard rushed Rugen, burly hands ready to crush the life out of him. Rugen ducked, tripped the guard, then dazed him with his stun sword. Their path to the crypts lay open!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Escape from the Temple of Zircon

Part 1 of a Space Templar Adventure

10,000 years after the adventures of Rowan and Jacor, the Divided Lands are united under a planetary government, which is part of a galactic Federation. Many things have changed - man now travels the stars and aliens walk among us - but the Templars still exist. As in the days of yore, they still work to maintain the peace and preserve justice.

The Princess of one of the Federation planets had been kidnapped. The Templars tracked her to the ancient Temple of Zircon on a jungle world in Imperial territory. Getting her back required a covert operation by a small team. The Templars send in Brother Rugen and his robot sidekick, TSD-95A ("Tee" for short). The following account is culled from the TSD unit's video record.

Rugen and Tee landed their runabout in a clearing a couple of miles from the Temple. From there, they marched on foot through the dense, fetid jungle. Despite the vegetation, they could see the top of the main pyramid towering overhead. As they proceeded, they heard movement ahead. Tee scanned the disturbance, and identified two rat-like natives moving furtively, looking over their shoulders in fear. Rugen stepped out of the brush into their path. They jumped like startled deer, but Rugen reassured them. He learned that they were escapees from the temple. Rugen was able to acquire their worshiper robes so that he and Tee could move unhindered around the temple.

They continued on their way through the jungle until suddenly they heard a massive creature rushing at them. Before they could react, a giant, white ape with six limbs leaped at them. 

Tee was able to duck, but the beast smashed a huge fist into Rugen's face, knocking him to the ground. The beast then grabbed Rugen and proceeded to shake him like a rag doll. Tee tried to line up a shot of his stun beam, but he could not fire for fear of hitting Rugen. The beast proceeded to pound on Rugen. Tee finally snapped off a shot, hitting the beast in the back. In its rage, it slung Rugen across the pathway and into a tree. Badly wounded, Rugen slumped against the trunk. The ape, teeth bared in a frenzy of hate, charged the young Templar. Tee shot; the beast stumbled but kept coming. Suddenly, Rugen flicked on his stun sword and thrust it into the ape's chest. It went down like a malfunctioning anti-grav unit. Rugen gave Tee a smile, then collapsed upon the beast.

The second part of the adventure coming soon!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

An Attack during the Night

An excerpt from Brother Rowan's journal

Last night, we suffered an attack by a party of goblins.

We had been marching north along the Farmer's Road for two days. As evening approached, we came upon a burnt village. Brother Rolf explained that goblins have been raiding the settlements. Wary that they might return, we camped in the fields and lit no fire.

Later that night, we heard the howling of wolves. They grew closer to our camp. We prayed that they would pass us by, but the wolves must have caught our scent. Before we knew it, a bunch of goblins, accompanied by the wolves, attacked. Fortunately, we were ready for them.

Lysa tapped into the power of the earth, causing a tremor that knocked down the foe. In their confusion, she slew one of those bestial humanoids. I anchored the left flank, managing to kill a goblin and a wolf. Brother Jacor, however, was mauled by a wolf. I came to his aid and smote his opponent. Lyla and Snake managed to take down the rest of the attackers.

It is now morning and we are prepared to leave the road and travel westward to the monastery.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A New Adventure - Report 1

A game report from last week. What began as a solo campaign has expanded as my wife and brother in law have joined the party. My wife runs a druid named Lyla (who made an appearance in my previous adventure) and my brother in law is a reformed assassin named Snake.

To the Prefect of the Scotsile Temple:


I am pleased to report that my two new companions, Lyla and Snake, have proved their usefulness. We arrived in Hathaway and, as directed, immediately sought out Brother Rolf at the local temple. From the pastor there, we learned that Brother Rolf has developed a propensity to drown his sorrows at the local inn. We found him there, slumped in a corner and were heading to him when one of our party bumped into a giant of a man. This brawny thug got angry and was about to get physical, but Lyla used her druidic powers to charm him. He then blurted out that he and his companion, a sneaky man wrapped in a cloak, were actually sent to murder us. At this, the sneaky man drew a sword and rushed at Brother Rolf. Snake, who had managed to sneak behind the man, stabbed him. The wounded man turned on Snake, but Lyla charmed him. At this point, the authorities arrived and took the men into custody.

After interrogation, we learned that the men were hired by one Vincenzo, who does not wish us to proceed to the Monastery of St. Magnus. Other than that, they provided little. We now depart for the monastery expecting danger.

I will report again when I can.

Your brother,
Rowan of Scotsile

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Postscript - Adventure of the Slavers

Extracts from the diary of Brother Rowan:

It is to my great surprise and relief to discover that Brother Jacor is alive! After he had succumbed to the spider's venom, I had thought him dead. I then went on a mad charge against the slavers that ended in my captivity. Fortunately, the young lass that we had rescued brought relief from the Temple. They found that Brother Jacor, while unconscious and paralyzed, still had a breath of life in him. They managed to nurse him back to health. The One be praised!

I have returned today from an assault on the slavers' stockade in the swamp. When I made my return and reported their whereabouts, the Prefect mustered our knights to march upon the slavers. Alas, our venture would prove anti-climatic. Alarmed by their master's death, the slavers abandoned their stronghold. When we arrived, the place was as quiet as a tomb. We presume that the unfortunate captives have been sold downriver to the slave lords of Talmatia. Because they enjoy the protection of the wicked Queen of Doria, our Temple has no influence in that benighted realm and we can do nothing for the victims at this time. I do hope, however, that we can strike a blow against the slavers in the future.

Just a note that the abandoned mansion that served as the slavers' hideout in the city has been cleaned out. It has fallen to the care of the Temple. I believe the Prefect intends to turn it into a hospital. It will be pleasing to see the place associated with good rather than evil doings.

Escape at Last!

To the Prefect of the Scotsile Temple


I am pleased to be back home and to be able to present to you this final report of my adventure among the slavers of the swamps. In my last letter, I mentioned that Varn and I had found refuge in a hermit's hut in the middle of the swamp.I do not know how the hermit did it, but one morning after we had healed, he presented us swords, a shield, and light leather armor. We were set for our final foray into the swamps. Yet our benefactor pressed upon us to wait just a bit longer.

The next morning, we were visited by a young, beautiful lady named Lyla. She came with news that the slavers were approaching the hut, but she offered to lead us to safety. Our host assured us that she could be trusted so we set off.

We had been walking for some time when we entered a wooded area in the swamp. The trees were covered with thick, sticky, spider's webs. Lyla warned us to watch our step, but I was careless and found my leg entrapped by a web. My struggles alerted the denizen of the web - a giant spider. Lyla began an incantation; I then realized that she was a druid, a follower of the Old Gods of nature. Her attempt to pacify the creature was in vain, and it leaped to attack her. She stepped back to avoid the creature's bite and I stepped forward to shield her. Varn circled around and stabbed deeply into the creature's back. In rage, the spider lunged at the nearest person - me. It sunk its fangs into my flesh, pumping poison into my system. I said a prayer to the One and continued to fight. Lyla then commanded the winds into a powerful blast that killed the spider.

We continued our journey. I grew a bit queasy, but my prayers were answered and I overcame the poison. Later in the day, we heard the baying of a dog behind us. Looking back, we could see a man (one of the slavers) leading a large hound. It was unerringly following our scent! We ran but to no avail for the duo gained ground. Finally, we turned and prepared to fight. The man released the hound and it charged toward Lyla. As it lunged for her, Varn was able to stab it in the back (lesson - do not turn your back on Varn) and it crumpled to the ground. I rushed forward and with one slice I struck down the slaver.

As we progressed through the swamp, Lyla proved to be an effective guide. Once, I was about to slosh through a shallow pond that blocked our way, but Lyla grabbed my shoulder to stop me. She pointed to bubbles breaking the surface of the pond. As we took a detour around the pond, I turned back to see a large crocodile surfacing.

Finally, we exited the swamp and I could see a small village a short way off. Then to our horror we heard the baying of dogs. From the direction of the village we could see two slavers with hounds approaching us. Behind them towered a giant of a man, clad in armor and carrying a wicked-looking sword. I recognized him as the leader of the slavers at the stockade. We steeled ourselves for one last desperate fight. The slavers and the dogs rushed us, while the huge man lagged behind shouting orders. Lyla bent down, placed her hand upon the ground, and spoke some arcane words. The ground began to shake! We managed to remain standing but our foes fell upon the ground! We hacked at them and killed one dog. The enemies regained their footing but we struck down another dog. We then sparred with the slavers. Varn took a serious wound, but we managed to disable our foes.

Then the huge man rushed into battled, madly slashing his massive sword. I was hit, but my armor deflected the blow. I give thanks for the hermit's gift or armor, for without it I would assuredly be moving on to the next world. I struck a mighty blow, and then Lyla again called upon the winds to buffet our enemy. The slaver stumbled and faltered. I pointed my sword at him and commanded him, in the name of the Templars, to surrender. He sneered at me, laughed contemptuously, and then lunged at me. I ducked his blow and drove my blade into his midsection. He crumpled to the ground, dead. The One have mercy upon his soul and the upon the souls of his followers.

We found refuge in the village. Lyla departed back to the wilds, while I stayed to tend to Varn's wounds. Once he was rested, we made our way back to the city without incident.

Your brother in service,


Saturday, March 2, 2013

An Update from Rowan

To the Prefect of the Scotsile Temple


I am pleased to report my escape. Currently, I have found sanctuary at a hermit's lodging deep in the swamp. My host assures me that I am quite safe as long as I remain here. I plan to recover my strength and then continue my journey home. The hermit has agreed to use a friendly owl to deliver this missive.

I was able to escape due to the assistance of a man named Varn, whom I befriended in the slavers' camp. He confessed to being a thief, but he put his nefarious talents to beneficent use. He acquired a dagger and the handle of a broken pick, which I have used as a club. On a dark, moonless night, he picked the locks of our shackles and the door to our hut. We then sneaked to the wall of the stockade. I said a prayer to the One and He cloaked our passage so that we remained unseen. His guidance was with us further, for we found a hole in the stockade wall and were able to crawl through.

There was a wide open space of murky ground between us and a line of cypress trees that offered us cover. We stealthily crawled by guards patrolling this area and were almost to the shelter of trees when a guard dog jumped upon me. He clamped down upon my left arm, which was fortunate for it prevented the beast from barking. As I tried to shake it loose, Varn dispatched the creature with his dagger.

We fled into the cypresses and ran as fast as we could. After a while, we took a short break and I healed my wounded arm. We then continued. Unfortunately, we were walking through a muddy expanse, leaving a trail of footprints that formed a veritable beacon to our location. Thus, we were tracked by a fell monster, which I have learned serves the slavers. At the time, though, we were surprised when the gargoyle swooped down upon us. It wounded me, but I smote it with such a mighty strike that it flew off. We penetrated further through the swamp, beating off a crocodile that tried to make us his morning repast. Later, a slaver tracked us down (now we know that he was aided by the gargoyle). His war dog attacked me, sinking its teeth into my exposed flesh. I clubbed the animal senseless but the slaver was immediately on me. Varn came to my rescue and plunged his dagger into the man's neck. We continued to travel until it neared dawn. We then spotted the isolated little hut of a hermit. We knocked, and were rewarded with the holy man's assistance, which we are still enjoying.

I hope to leave soon. I have included a rough map of the location of the slaver's stockade. If I do not return, I hope that this account will at least be of use to you and that you will end the slavers' nefarious deeds.

Your brother,
Rowan of Scotsile

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rowan's First Report

An account of my first solo adventure.

To the Prefect of the Scotsile Temple


I regret to say that I have failed in my duty. I write this from captivity in the hopes that I can smuggle it out and provide an account of my disappearance. I am in the hands of slavers, who are abducting citizens from Scotsile and selling them down the river in Talmatia. They are keeping us in an isolated outpost in the marshes, and force us to dig in the swamps. Why is a mystery to me, but I suspect some sinister purpose.

I came to this pass on that unfortunate night that Brother Jacor and I investigated the abandoned mansion of Almanzar the Alchemist, reputedly haunted by his troubled spirit. We went at night when any ghost would most likely materialize. We did not find any unearthly denizens, but the dangers we found were all too real.

The first floor is infested with giant poisonous spiders. We killed a couple that we encountered. In one room, we found a corpse. The man had been bitten and fatally poisoned by a spider. He carried a whip, club, and shackles. We then proceeded upstairs. In the attic, we found a series of lanterns, sheets, and ropes. It appeared that someone created fake ghosts to scare people away.

As we returned to the first floor, we heard a woman’s scream. We rushed to the sound and discovered a young woman in the clutches of a thuggish man. She was struggling to escape. We ordered the man to stop but he knocked the woman down, pulled out a club, and rushed me. His rashness was his undoing; Jacor and I defeated him and tied him up.

Speaking to the girl, we learned that slavers were kidnapping people from the city and hiding them in the cellar. At night, a boat took them through a secret channel to the river, and from there toward bondage in Talmatia. There was a group of captives to be shipped out that very night.

We escorted the woman to the street and asked her to run to the Temple for reinforcement. Because time seemed to be pressing, we decided to investigate the cellar ourselves. Rushing back into the house, a giant spider ambushed us. It sank its fangs into Brother Jacor, who dropped on the spot. I killed the monster and checked on Jacor. He was as cold as stone.

I must confess that anger impeded my judgment. If not for the slavers, Jacor would have been in bed at the Temple. I madly rushed to the cellar. As I entered, it triggered a trap. An arrow imbedded into my side. Flush with madness, I ignored the pain. I ran down a hallway, and was attacked by three vicious guard dogs. I killed one. A second one latched its jaws upon my sword arm. I kicked it and it released its grip; then I skewered it. The other dog jumped up, knocking me over. It tried to sink its teeth into my neck, but I stuck my arm in the arm. It clamped down on my sword arm. I struggled with the beast until I heard a man command: “Don’t move or yer dead.” I looked up to see three guards pointing crossbows at me. Unable to fight against such odds, I reluctantly dropped my sword.

Since then, I was shipped down river to the slave camp. They keep me here because I can heal the slaves and guards that become injured or sick.

I am entrusting this letter to a fellow slave who will be shipped to Talmatia tomorrow. Hopefully, she will find a way to get this missive delivered. I will continue to report as I am able.

Your brother in service,

Rowan of Scotsile

The Heroes

I will begin the Templar campaign with two characters. Each are members of the Temple and will receive assignments from the Temple leadership.

Brother Rowan is a Templar (e.g. a paladin). He will be the main muscle of the party. He will be accompanied by Brother Jacor, a priest (e.g. cleric). Unlike D&D clerics, priests in QUERP are weak fighters and must instead rely heavily on spells (which I am calling powers because "spell" doesn't sound right for religious types).

Brother Rowan
Brother Jacor

Banish Dead
Wrath of God
Walk on Water
Medium armor
Priest robes

In QUERP, abilities (in capitals) can range from 1-10, with starting characters capped at 6. Health = hit points. Mana indicates how many powers can be used per day.

This is a small party so I will have to adjust the difficulty accordingly. I may give both brothers additional powers to give them a bit more survivability.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Divided Lands

My Templar campaign is set in the Divided Lands, a region on the western edge of a large continent. Once united as one powerful kingdom, civil war has split the realm into a dozen or so smaller principalities. The major powers are the kingdoms of Ehrlich, Doria, and Markland. The campaign will begin in the Free City of Scotsile, one of the largest cities in the Divided Lands.

The Divided Lands


I've been enjoying sharing my gaming experiences on my Warwell Wargames blog. I mentioned that I'm suffering from GADD (Gamer's Attentive Deficit Disorder) and this new blog is another symptom. I plan to experiment with some solo role playing using Mythic and QUERP. I originally planned to post about it on my Warwell blog, but I decided I wanted to keep the RPG information contained. Therefore, I decided to set up a new blog.

The title of this blog gets its name from a character class in QUERP. Templars are QUERP's version of paladins. I like the name Templar so I decided to incorporate it into my campaign. In my world, Templars are knights who defend the temples of the supreme god. They also act as knights errant, roaming the land, righting wrongs, and dispensing justice. My main character is a Templar and these are his tales.