Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dungeon of Deception

A Four Against Darkness Adventure

After receiving reports of monsters issuing from an abandoned dungeon, the Temple has sent a neophyte paladin, Brother Bargor, to investigate. With him is an elf warrior, Edenil, whose tribe has been terrorized by the marauders.

Brother Bargor is armed with light armor, a shield, and sword.
Edenil has light armor, a sword, and a bow. Illustrations of his adventures show him with a shield, but that is artistic license.

Game note - To simplify my record-keeping, I played with only 2 characters. To help matters, I gave Brother Bargor a Healing scroll.

Our heroes entered the dungeon and proceeded to explore the right fork. The first few rooms were empty.

Game note - I used miniatures to record my progress. The "finished" map is shown below.
An overview of the dungeon
In the fourth room (4) they ran into a troll. Edenil quickly dispatched it. In the next room they discovered a minotaur. It bellowed with rage and charged them. Edenil dodged but Bargor was impaled on one of the creatures horns. He recovered and plunged his sword into the beast. Edenil followed with a slashing attack that opened a large wound in the minotaur. It panicked and fled. In its lair, our heroes found a Blessing scroll and jewelry worth 70 gp. After the battle, Bargor felt that this experience taught him a lesson and made him a better fighter (he leveled up).

In subsequent rooms, they found more treasure. Then they ran into an ogre (10). They attacked. Edenil hit it but Bargor missed. Off balance, he was unable to avoid the ogre's massive club. The blow crushed a couple of ribs and knocked him aside. He quickly recovered, however, and struck a telling blow. Edenil also attacked and struck. Furious, the ogre swung at Bargor. He dodged but the ogre's backswing struck Edenil! Despite the pain, he counterattacked and scored another hit. The creature swung again; this time Bargor took the brunt of it. Bruised and battered by the ogre, our heroes realized they had little stamina left. If the fight continued, they would succumb. Mustering their last reserves of strength they rushed to attack. Both the bladed buried themselves deep into the ogre's flesh. It collapsed in a pool of blood.

For all that effort, they only found 4 gold on the monster. Fortunately, they were able to heal, and continue their exploration.

In subsequent room (11, 14) they encountered and defeated vampire frogs. They discovered a strange puzzle (12) but they did not feel like they could solve it so they left it alone. By this time, they (actually me) were weary of adventuring so they began to backtrack. They passed an empty room (15) then defeated goblin swarmlings (16) and orcs (17) before making their way out of the dungeon.

While they did not find the main villain terrorizing the countryside, they managed to wipe out some powerful monsters and find some "donations" for the Temple.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Creepy Crawly

Part 1 of the Search for Princess Zenobia
A Space Templar Adventure

Once again, Lord Malgore was up to his evil tricks. This time he captured Princess Zenobia of Vespa. She had been a leading voice on her planet for stronger ties with the Federation, putting a damper on Malgore's plans to create his own empire from the scattered systems of Fringe Space.

The Temple assigned our heroes, Rugen and his android sidekick TSD-95A ("Tee" for short), to search for and rescue the princess from Malgore's clutches.

The duo began their search on Vespa itself, a prosperous world in the heart of Fringe Space. They discovered the kidnappers former hideout. As they entered the building, they were attacked by a Protectron device, but were able to avoid harm and deactivate the security system. They found no clues at the hideout, but Vespian space traffic records were able to provide a suspected course for the escape ship.

Our heroes began following the trail. On a couple of different planets, they fell afoul of Imperial agents. Rugen was wounded but they learned that the kidnappers had previously had dealings with the Imperials. They felt they were hot on Malgore's trail!

Their clues led them to a seemingly deserted asteroid in an uninhabited system. Was there a secret base here? As they explored the surface, the planet's crust gave way, revealing a deep hole. Rugen began to fall but he grabbed the edge with his fingertips and managed to pull himself back up. Taking more care, they explored the gaping cavern and discovered a pocket of invaluable isotopium crystals. So that's why the criminals stopped here.

Next, Rugen and Tee tracked the kidnappers to another populated planet. As they were investigating another hideout, a large, many-legged vehicle rushed at them. It was a SPDR class battle walker! The walker began shooting laser bolts at them. Tee was hit, and the charge from the bolt shorted a number of his circuits. He fired back, damaged the craft. Rugen leapt upon it and thrust his laser sword into the vehicle's engine compartment. Flames and smoke began to issue from the walker. The pilot panicked and fled from the battle.

Once again, our heroes had defeated one of Malgore's minions, but where was Malgore and the Princess?

Tune in next time to find out!

Game Notes

  • This is a new adventure for my Space Templar heroes, Rugen and Tee. I realize that I never finished their previous adventure, but I wanted to move on. I guess we can assume they survived their prior encounter.
  • I'm playing this adventure using a variant of Ganesha Games' Four Against Darkness. I explain my tweaks on my Warwell's Wargames blog.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Deadly Encounter

The Conclusion of Rowan's Quest

After defeating Agravaine, Owen assisted a wounded Sir Rowan to an inn, the Hungry Hare. Here, Rowan healed, hired another retainer (Harar the warrior), and learned more about the rebellion percolating in the land.

From the Hungry Hare, the party set out into the wilderness. They ran into a band of Pict raiders. The raiders surrounded the party and attacked. Rowan hacked and cleaved, cutting through the enemy. Alas, he was too late to help Owen, who fell to a Pictish blade. As Rowan buried his retainer, he wept for Owen's cruel fate. However, Rowan liberated an ornate box from the enemy. Within was a finger bone - clearly a relic! The raiders had probably stolen it from a nearby monastery.

Rowan and Harar rode until they came to another inn, the Friar's Rest. It was near the friary of St. Finieous, a local holy man from days of yore. After resting and healing, Rowan journeyed to the friary to return the relic. When he arrived he saw that the friars were burying some of their members and repairing buildings. Clearly the work of raiders. The friars were delighted that Rowan had the relic, which he learned was the finger of St. Finieous himself! The friars urged him to stay for the night. During dinner, Rowan mentioned that he was questing for the Holy Grail. When they heard, the friars decided to assist him in his quest by lending him St. Finieous's Finger.

Game note - I embellished the account greatly. Once I rolled up a relic as treasure, the story of the plundered friary leapt into my mind. When I rolled an inn for the next encounter, I knew it was the perfect way to introduce the friary. Ironically, the inn's name (Friar's Rest) was rolled randomly from the tables in KOD.

After their respite at St. Finieous's, Rowan and Harar continued their travels, undergoing a pilgrimage and finding more signs of rebellion along the way. Eventually, Rowan could no longer pay Harar, who went his own way. Thus, Rowan was alone when he faced his next challenge.

He was riding along when suddenly he was struck by a spear and knocked from his horse. He staggered back up, drew his sword, and assumed a defensive stance. He turned around and around, but could not spot his assailant.

"Who goes there who so uncouthly strikes an unaware knight?" Rowan challenged.

From behind him, very near by, he heard the sound of laughter.

""Tis I, Sir Garlon," a disembodied voice stated.

"Where? I see you not."

"Here, behind you!"

Rowan turned, only to be struck from the side by an unseen attacker.

"Or is it from here?"

Again, Rowan was struck. He realized that his opponent was invisible so he began watching the ground. He could see the grass and dirt disturbed by the passage of his foe. Using this knowledge, Rowan swung where he expected the enemy to be. He connected, and Garlon fell to the ground. Rowan followed up and began smacking the recreant knight. Garlon regained his feet. Now the two knights began battering each other. Soon, Rowan could hear the panting breath of his enemy. But blood was streaming from numerous wounds in his body, and his strength was leaving him.

Rowan figured that if he could get in 1 or 2 more good blows, he could possibly force his opponent to yield. With great exertion, he charged. Garlon sidestepped and tripped Rowan, who fell to the ground. Now, Garlon rushed to his fallen foe and began pummeling him. With Rowan nearly senseless, Garlon flipped him over and thrust a sword into a chink in Rowan's armor.

Thus fell one of the Grail Knights. R.I.P. Sir Rowan.


Game note - Ow, that was painful. For a while, that battle between Rowan and Garlon was even. With Garlon's poor morale, I hoped to force him to yield. However, Rowan started rolling poorly on defense went a number of rounds in a row where he missed Garlon but was wounded in return. Finally, it was too much and Rowan died. :(

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dangerous Foes

Part 2 of Rowan's Quest
The second part of an adventure using Ganesha Games' The Knight of Destiny

After his night at the Black Griffin, Sir Rowan and his retainer Owen headed out into the wild wood. They spent the night camping out. At one point, they were beset by a pair of wild boars. Rowan made quick work of them and the duo enjoyed a nice meal of roast pork.

The next day, as they rode through the wood, they came upon a young damsel. Little did they know that it was actually the enchantress Morgana herself. She invited them to share a meal with her pavilion. They accepted, and after a hearty repaste, they fell into a deep sleep. When they awoke, Morgana and her pavilion were gone. The duo had also lost all memory of the acts of rebellion about which they had previously learned. Clearly they had been the victims of sorcery.

Game note - per the encounter, Morgana used trickery to make Rowan lose 2 rumors that he had gathered. Rumors can be used to alter encounters.

After recovering from their sleep, Rowan and Owen continued into the wood. They reached a small clearing when suddenly a knight charged them. Rowan managed to block the attack but he hesitated to counterattack.

"Sir Agraivaine? "Tis I, Rowan, a knight of the Grail quest."

"Fool!" Agravaine replied, "I know thee, and I know that thou art a dead man. All the Grail knights shall die, and we shall have a new sire."

"Treason!" Rowan gasped. Before he could say more, Agravaine charged again. This time Rowan blocked the blow and struck back, wounding his foe.This happened two more times, the last knocking Agravaine from his steed. Gallantly, Rowan dismounted before resuming the fray. The rebel knight closed and struck. Rowan was momentarily stunned, allowing Agravaine to close and strike again with his main gauche, inflicting another wound on our hero. Again, the evil knight attacked and hit, but Rowan counterattacked and hit his foe. Rowan followed up and struck such a blow that Agravaine was knocked to his feet.

Rowan stood over Agravaine, sword at the ready, and called upon the recreant to yield.

"Never! Death to the supporters of Arthur!" hissed Agravaine as he rose and attacked. The pair traded blows but then Rowan took control of the fight. His flashing sword struck again and again, until it finally pierced through a chink in Agravaine's armor and penetrated through his black heart. Agravaine lay dead upon the turf.

Rowan had Owen bury the foe, but not before he recovered the Gem of Giramphiel, which provides magical protection from flame.

Game note - In KOD, it is possible to be challenged by named knights, in this case Agravaine. This was a long and bloody battle. I embellished the account for dramatic purposes. Agravaine had to check morale but he refused quarter and fought to the death.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sir Rowan's Quest

Part 1 of Sir Rowan's Tale

The following tale is a report of an adventure played using Ganesha Games' The Knight of Destiny rules.

KOD is an adventure for a single character using the Four Against Darkness rules. A couple of things enticed me when I saw it: first is that it is set in Arthurian times, a favorite setting; second is that KOD introduces the paladin character class! Now on to the report.

Like many a knight at King Arthur's court, Sir Rowan had been inspired to quest for the Holy Grail. Astride his destrier, Rowan wandered the byways of olde England, searching for clues that will lead him to his objective. But this night he was resting comfortably at the Black Griffin Inn. As he lay back on the hay stuffed mattress he thought back over the events of the past few weeks.

His first inclination of trouble was when he came across a wounded knight lying in a field. Rowan rode over to him and tried to administer first aid, but alas his efforts were for naught. But before the knight passed, he croaked out a warning" "Beware, the baron is a traitor." Rowan would find other signs of impending rebellion: stories of black-clad recreant knights attacking the forces of the King, and signs of skirmishes along the path.

Game note: I rolled a Traitor's Attack encounter 5 times out of the first 8 turns! Something is definitely afoot!

At one point, as he was riding through the forest, Rowan was challenged by a band of outlaws. They demanded that he pay them a ransom but he refused. Instead, he demanded their surrender! They snickered at him and then unleashed a volley of arrows. But Rowan charged, smashing into a number of them and riding them down. The rest scattered deeper into the tangles of the forest.

A little further, Rowan came across a struggling village. The people there were clearly starving. They told tales of recreant knights and bandits stealing their crops. They sent a message to the King but their messenger never returned. They fretted that he was killed and the King had not learned of their plight. Taking pity on them, Rowan gave them some coin and promised to deliver a message on their behalf.

Game note - If Rowan offered 50 gp to the struggling village he would have earned a piety point. Alas, he only had 48 gp so no bonus. Still, I felt it would be in character if he offered something, even if there was no in-game benefit. Thus, Rowan split his fortune with the village.

After weeks of roaming, Rowan came to a crossroads with an inn, called the Black Griffin. Aiding the village set him back but he decided to splurge on a room and a meal. As he sat at the table, he noticed a group of ruffians bullying a young man. Rowan strode over to the group. At first, the ruffians challenged him. "What do you want?" snarled the ringleader, smacking a club into one palm. Rowan identified himself as one of Arthur's knights. The ruffians began to back away. The leader realized that he could not retreat without a loss of face. He raised his club in a threatening manner, but Rowan could see indecision in his eyes.

"Leave now." Rowan commanded. For a second, the man turned like he would flee. Then he turned back and attacked. With barely an effort, Rowan slashed his sword and sliced the club in twain. With this, the ringleader panicked and fled, followed by the rest of the ruffians.

Game note - I have greatly embellished this encounter.

Rowan turned back to the young man, barely out of boyhood. The youth identified himself as Owen and offered his services to the knight. He claimed to be able to take care of horses, weapons, and armor. Furthermore, he was good at finding things. For example, he told Rowan how a local baron was secretly plotting against Arthur. Impressed by the youth's knowledge, Rowan hired the young man.

As Rowan nodded off, he realized that his quest had not been full of high adventure and rousing tales of battles against recreant knights and monsters. Yet he was on the trail of something more perilous - a plot against the King. He wondered what tomorrow would bring.

If you are also wondering, stay tuned for the next part of the adventure!