Sunday, December 9, 2018

Morgansfort Part 9 - A Meeting with Kobolds


Where we last left off...

Our party of sellswords includes:

Jezebel Grimshaw
  • Human Fighter
  • General Party Leader
  • Former Prisoner of the Elves during the Great War.
  • Has a passing friendship with Karl Stonetender, Dwarven Cleric, who she met during The Great War where he worked as a neutral healer for either side.
  • Has a deep friendship with Daphne. She met her while a Prisoner and served with Daphne in the kitchens.
Karl Stonetender
  • Is a Mountain Dwarf exile who amongst the Tallfolk. He met Jezebel while he was a mercenary healer working both sides of the Great War.
  • His faith is with the Emperor. The Divine of Kings and Law. His full faith as a Cleric allows him to use powers.
  • Has taken work with the Sellswords after the Great War ended the need for mercenary healers. Karl's status forbids him to return the mountain strongholds in the north, so within the Borderlands and the party he remains.
  • Has a soft spot for Flick (Flick of the Mire). He's often traveling with the Grippli.
Daphne
  • Half-Elf Mage that serves the Order of the Purple Robes out of Port Kyna. She is an agent of the Order and is charged with performing tasks as ordered by the Magistrix, Purple Basia. The Magistrix plans is to the establish the Order as a legitimate Mage's Guild within the Borderlands.
  • Is friendly with Jezebel, having first met her in the kitchens during the Great War. They remain friends with Daphne often serving as Jezebel's second in command.
  • Is currently a generalist when it comes to magic.
Flick (or Flick of the Mire)
  • Is a Grippli Ranger/Tracker who is native to the Great Salt Marsh (the current area of the campaign). Unlike other characters, he has little connection to the Great War as Grippli stayed neutral.
  • Is a member of the Brotherhood of Sellswords after spending time as a Ranger in the service of his small swamp community. He met the others through networking with the Brotherhood.
  • Main talents are with a bow.
Ibera Brinehorn
  • Is a Minotaur Freebooter who was bailed out of jail by the Brotherhood's representative due to her skill at handling an ocean and river sailing vessel.
  • First mission with the other members of the Sellsword. She comes to the group from the outside, like Flick.
  • Prefers pistol firing over all other forms of combat. She does carry a cutlass and can use her Minotaur strength if she has to.

Our adventure so far...

The party is a newly formed group created by the Brotherhood of Sellswords to fulfill outstanding contracts since the Borderlands had been formed. It's been a little over two years since the fighting has stopped, the armies marched home and left the exiles, the outcasts to themselves in the Borderlands. This might be taken as a slap in the face, but for those few with a keen eye, the Borderlands represents an opportunity of a fresh start, free from the obstinate social structures of the Northern Kingdoms or the Southern Kingdom. The party is certainly taking advantage of the situation...

As for the Party, they were sent north of their starting city Seaside to the Human controlled Morgansfort that is dealing with Orc refugees from the North. Tensions are hot, for though Humans and Orcs once were co-belligerents against the Elves, the Great War ended with Humans breaking their promises and exiling the Orcs from their ancestral homes. The self-proclaimed Baronet, Halden Rathwyn, has called in the Sellswords to clear out an old fortress north of his city. The Fortress has no name, but the Lake's name is 'Lake Gweno'. It is reputed that the lake has always had a fell air to it that discourages travelers from remaining in the area long. The plan is for the Sellswords to clear out whatever is beguiling the region so that the Humans can offer it to the Orcs as a treaty. So far, our party has battled Undead outside the Castle, led by a shapeshifting monster from the water. They have ventured down into the Keep proper to battle spiders, giant bees, and goblins. During their fight with the goblins, the party was approached by a Kobold claiming to be non-hostile. She takes the party down an eastern hall from their previous encounter to a corner chamber of the castle.

Towards the end of the haul, the party is greeted by a pair of Kobold males with short spears in hand. Their yellow and red eyes narrow at first when they spot the party. Churtle walked in front and conversed in their native tongue. Their words are short, often made out of yipps and erfs between small sharp teeth and hissing tongues.

<Out the characters, Daphne and Flick are most likely candidates to know. One of Daphne's languages is Draconic, the base language for Kobolds and Dragonborn. Flick is a native to the region. They each get a Smarts roll with Proficiency. The DC is 15 & 10 respectively for each character. Results are: 20 & 21>

Both Daphne and Flick understand what is going on. Daphne leans over and whispers in Jezebel's ear.

"They are demanding why the Chieftain's daughter is walking up with all us strangers. They also think Karl's a Gnome."

Jezebel looked at Daphne and asked, "What does that matter?" She shook her head in disbelief when Daphne made a quick note that Kobolds and Gnomes do not like each other. Something to do with a constant debate about who is more worthy of their arcane and intellectual gifts. The argument seemed to stop, for as Flick noted, "They are satisfied that you are not a Gnome, Karl," Flick was telling the Dwarf the same news that Daphne told Jezebel.

"I'm satisfied too, I like being tall as I am," Karl said with a hint of a smile. His smile dimmed and he returned to looking grim as he stared back at the Kobold guards. One of whom slipped away as the other stayed and watched. 

Churtle approached the party. As she came close, Daphne noted: "I didn't realize we had a famous escort. The Chief's daughter."

<Is Churtle surprised by the fact that at least one of them knows how to speak Kobold-Draconic? 35% Chance Yes = 08%. Yes!>

Churtle blinked a few times. She may have left herself open if there was hostile intent before she drew a claw along her jaw and said, "Oh? Well, yes, I am his daughter, or as close as you can call a daughter. I came from an egg produced by one of his wives."

"Wives?" Jezebel asked. It was very obvious that behind the door there were several shadows and several voices speaking in a similar series of sounds instead of actual words that she would know. She took a step back, expecting to be rushed by Kobolds at any time.

<I roll a 15 and add Churtle's Proficiency of +3 to a mind bonus of +2 = 5 for a total of 20. She notices that Jezebel is suspicious and her hand is on the sword.>

"Please!" Churtle said, her clawed fingers raised before her, "There is no need to be alarmed. We mean no one any harm. We decided to make this fortress our home because no one was in it."

"Except the Goblins, you have a deal going on with them?" Ibera asked. Her eyes narrowed in tight suspicion.

"Goblins are too feral to make deals with. We are even more afraid of them then you tallfolk," Churtle turned away to speak to one of the guards. Her back was to them, leaving them to their own devices. The whole time they were being watched by the second guard at the door. 

<Is the watcher alert? 15% Yes = 12%> - - The Watcher yawned and waved a clawed hand over his mouth while doing so. He appeared disinterested as the party seemed to be more interested in talk rather than exchanging insults or drawing weapons.

Churtle returned to them and said, "My father wants to meet with one of you, but he asks that you come unarmed. He has sworn to provide whoever conducts this safe conduct," Churtle's gray cheeks flush with a light pink tint, "The guarantee is I will be held as your hostage until whoever goes to talk to my father returns."

<The party has entered into a brief crossroads. On one hand, they would have a hostage. However, Kobolds hatch their young, there is little blood connection between parents and young that may inspire those similar paternal instincts like those who birth live young. Would a hostages life mean that much as the life of a fellow party member? Karl rolls an insight check (Mind + Communication = +6 results in 24. Is there any deception on Churtle's part? 5% Yes = 56%>

Karl had not only listened to words, he believed he heard the convictions in Churtle's voice. As the party gathered in a brief planning circle, he noted, "I trust that lass. I think her father means true and we might benefit from allies in this place."

"Even if we are about to push these people out in favor of Orcs?" Jezebel asked. Her mouth became a taut frown as she looked at the Dwarf. Being the leader with a party that lacked a face or Charismatic force to serve as their diplomat, she knew she or Daphne would be it.

"We can make arrangements between parties. I think ye should go meet her," Karl said as he looked at Jezebel.

<I'd like to see if Jezebel is willing to enter the place alone and unarmed. I make it a 75% Chance for a result of 11%>

Jezebel agrees with a nod. Being a woman of honor, a Fighter with a lawful disposition (generally), she undoes her belt and hands her sword to Daphne who says, "I can come with you."
Jezebel smiled but shook her head. She was the party leader and it was her turn to do something that was probably reckless, most likely necessary. The feeling of going alone made her sick to her stomach. She turned to look back upon her fellow adventurers. She received their nods, Ibera promised with a low growl, "Don't worry. Anything goes wrong, I'll shoot the kobold first." Jezebel frown and shook her head at the statement. It was very clear that Churtle gulped.

<We now move to the next scene with Jezebel entering the Kobold camp. The event focus shows 19 - NPC action. A further check on the NPC action is 'Waste'. It's determined that the chief wastes time>

The room Jezebel and her escort entered was once a noble's private room that had been turned upside down to the presence of the new residents. Tables had been hacked and used for firewood. A simple curtain hung across the alcove where the bed would be. She counted a dozen or more kobolds who picked at their food and eyed her with suspicion. The only chair untouched by the wood gatherer's ax was a single high backed chair with a dark red finished and a tattered seat cushion whose crisp whiteness had faded over time. Jezebel is brought before the 'Chief' of the Kobold tribe. He was only an inch or two taller than his daughter. He wore faded red robes that matched his eye color. A single black claw rested under his chin.

"You stand before Kopla, son of Ergre: Leader of our pack. The Goblinslayer, the Leader of Paradise, the Chamber Lord," Said one of the Kobold females, her claws extended before her. After a pause, Jezebel spoke up.

"My name is Jezebel Grimshaw. I'm an adventurer," She was surprised that the Herald had given both the Chief's name and his title in a broken common. The Chieftain must have understood, for while he did not say anything, he offered a slow nod.

"The Chieftain would ask what brings you warmbloods to his domain?" The Herald said to Jezebel.

Jezebel relayed the details of their mission in quick order. Specifically, the work involving the Keep and how the Humans to the south were preparing to offer it to the Orcs for the sake of peace. She didn't go into details or ask questions about the woman of the lake or the undead that seem to remain within the murky depths. Her conversation is strictly limited to the situation involving the Keep and the perils that lie within.

<I make an NPC reaction check. I'll say Jezebel is not one to lie in this case. She rolls an 11+3 = 14 Charisma check. She gets a +2 on her monster reaction (2d6) with higher the roll the more positive. The result is 6+2 = 8. Favorable.>

The Kobold King, Kopla, held up a hand to silence his Herald as he rose to speak, "I am willing to entertain peace with the warmbloods and the Greenskins, but this paradise is our paradise!" He said aloud and pointed a clawed finger at Jezebel, "Don't you forget it, either." As he sat again he waved his hand in front of him and said, "Now, please go! If you're looking for a fight, there are more packs of Goblins to the north!"

"One more thing though, Chieftain. Do you know if an Elf came through this area?" She asked.

<Did the Kobolds have something to do with the Elf's disappearance? 15% Yes results in 96% Emphatic No! And does the Kobold know anything about the Elf? 35% Yes results in 26% Yes. Because of the favorable result, the Kopla supplies her with all he knows>

"There was an Elf who came through. My scouts watched him as he made his way east of the main chamber, north of where we stand now. While they did not see him, they did hear one of the pit traps open and a short scream. My scouts retreated back to the safety of our nest." He said.

"You never tried to save him?" Jezebel asked. She received a cold stare in reply. The Chieftain saying in a curt manner, "I would not risk mine to save a stranger, especially an Elf. They'll cut us down for certain if they saw us. Just like they cut down my father before me."

Jezebel gave Kopla an even stare, there was nothing else to say. She felt her sleeve tugged and she followed after the Kobold towards the door which exited back to the main hallway. When she drew close to her allies a palpable relief was seen on Churtle's face. The corner of the Kobold's lips raised to a smile when Jezebel said, "Alright, you can go back to your father. The Kobolds are letting us pass," Jezebel said.

"Just like that? No terms? No agreements?" Ibera said warily.

"Well, I did warn them what the Baronet had in mind, I'd guess the Chieftain believes by helping us that it'll secure his place here. He claims to have also seen our missing scout, but they reported the scout fell down a pit trap never be seen from again," Jezebel scooped up her weapons and began to reattach them to her belt.

"So, now what?" Daphne asked.

"We head north, see what we can find. Flick, you lead the way."

The party turned north and started down the corridor. The Kobolds had been so good to leave burning torches in sconces half-way along the hallway towards eastern chamber's south door.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Morgansfort Part 8 - Deeper in the Breach


The Session so far...

The party camped on the floor above the main dungeon allowing them time to recover their hit and mana points. It is mid-day before the party is prepared to venture down below in the direction they had begun yesterday: South. Returning to the dungeon, causing noise, and ill luck conspires for a possible random encounter.

<There is a 1-in-6 chance for an encounter. The result is 3>

Nothing challenges or waylays the party. They may hear noises, but that's probably just the dungeon settling down. The party arrives at the apiary they fought last time and open the door. The stench of death hangs in the air as the bee carcasses remain.
"Do you think we should continue searching this room?" Jezebel asked.
"Hopefully you're not thinking about harvesting any honey," Ibera noted, "Anything left is tainted by now."

<Does Jezebel continue to search the room? 15% Yes with a result 04% Yes>

"I still want to have a look around. Flick, you keep going." Jezebel stepped into the room, Daphne followed her, noting: "We shouldn't split the party and go off alone."
Flick nodded and said, "We won't go far." He faces west and continues to follow the tunnel and turns again as it leads south. Following behind him is Ibera, who says before she steps away, "You two are crazy."

<Encounter check 1-in-6 results in 4>

Daphne and Jezebel

The party is now split for the time being. Daphne and Jezebel stand amongst the ruined shelves and encrusted walls. Daphne grabs a pendant around her neck and casts a light spell <-1 Mana> to help illuminate the room and to help her friend see better. "What are we looking for?" Daphne asked.
Jezebel: "Anything we can use."

<Jezebel and Daphne roll a 6 and 16 respectively on their notice checks to look around the room. There is little to find. Pieces of pottery, bits of wood from shelves, whatever may have been stored at the time has either rotted or been corrupted by the organic matter that the bees used. A roll of 4 on the Event Chart also reveals the PC's run into trouble.>

Daphne lifted and turned over a piece of pottery in her gloved hand. The tips of her ears trembled as she picked up a distant sound on her periphery. As her sharp eyes looked up, she saw a squat humanoid with mold gray skin, a pair of black eyes with red spots, and a long knife in its clawed hands. It wore rags of Human-sized cloth that made the creature look bulky and had a wild mane of black hair with red tips. When it opened its mouth, it showed rows of sharp teeth.

Daphne's breath was caught for a moment as she took a step back. She said in a soft voice, "Jez..."

Jezebel looked up from a crate she had opened. The bolts of cloth within were useless, her eyes blinked when she looked up and at the doorway, "Oh, that may be a problem." She spat to the side and gripped the hilt of her sword. Her body crouched with her legs spread in a battle stance as she held her draw. Several eyes looked at the pair with carnivore hunger.

<4 Goblins have come upon the pair while separated from the group. Goblins are ravenous creatures who crave whatever flesh they can get their claws into. They have picked the second best opportunity in two party members split from the protection of the group.>

Round #1
Note: The Initiative will now be a roll off between the GM and Party. If finer initiative needs to be determined, that's when individual dexterity can come into play. Highest side goes first.

GM: 19 vs. Party: 9

<The Goblins are wild and cannot sense magic. To them, there is a relatively equal distance to prey. Thus a d6 is assigned with 1-3 being Daphne and 4-6 being Jezebel. The results are 2, 2, 3, & 5. Their attack rolls are 21, 6, and 6 for the three Goblins on Daphne and 12 at Jezebel. 1 Hit and the rest are misses. >

Three Goblins turn on Jezebel and rush her, one of the Goblins propelled himself across the wall, his long feet smacked against the surface, it pointed its long-handled knife at her. The blade cuts Daphne's arm as it leaped at her from the wall (3 points). She managed to sidestep the second Goblin that jumped from the ground as she gripped her arm. Daphne used her staff in a sweeping maneuver to keep the third Goblin at bay.

The fourth Goblin made a straight run towards Jezebel. However, Jezebel's draw was quick. She managed to parry the long knife that slashed at her.

<Jezebel gets a Natural 20 and deals a total of 21 points with her 2d8+8 die rolls. Daphne casts Freezing Hands and rolls 2d4. She deals 6 points of damage, but Goblin 1 & Goblin  #3 save and only take 3 points of damage. -3 Mana, Daphne>

Jezebel's sword impales itself into the Goblin, lifting it high in the air. Its vicious jaws snapped futility in the air twice more before it stilled, its broad-faced posed in a death grimace. The monster was slung across the room from her sword, it collapsed a crate with its hard landing. She paused in mid-stride as a gout of bright blue energy erupted before her eyes.

Daphne stepped back and cupped her hands before her. The flash of energy proceeded the burst of killing ice. Two of the Goblins at the extreme ends of the cone managed to avoid much of the wave. The middle of the pack was not as lucky, blue energy blackened flesh and caused the moisture in its eyes to freeze over. An immediate ache overcame the Goblin, and it fell backward. The Goblin in question's knife clattered to the ground as its hands feebly raked at the air.

Daphne held her staff out at the other two, "I shoulda gone with my gut and never left the others. You've better find something good to share with me."

"I've got something," Jezebel countered, "My gratitude, and the courage to help you kill these things."

Round #2
<Does the rest of the party show up? 35% Yes with results of 17%. Yes!>

Initiative: GM: 12 and 8

<Does the Goblin's morale break? 75% Yes with results of 05%. Exceptional Yes!>

<Flick makes a Notice check as the ruckus draws the party back to the Apiary. He makes a 19 Notice check for success that lets him make one attack of 16 and deals 4 points to Goblin #2>

The Goblins made a break for it. They were never known to the bravest of fighters, and the display of arcane magic followed by the dying wail of Jezebel's victim caused the Goblins to break. Flick's arrow struck the second Goblin square in the chest, the bestial creature grabbed at its wound and sank to its knees. It was pushed away by the third Goblin that followed in the wake of the first into the darkness of the hall.

Karl huffed, "A damn nest o' Goblins, that'll be annoying tae clear." He noticed Daphne holding her arm and stepped in close, "Need me tae take a look at that?"
"I'll be fine in a second," Daphne said. She used a handkerchief to wrap around her arm, "There was nothing else in there. We can now check it off as having been cleaned."

Jezebel frowned and looked away from Daphne, "Daphne, I'm sorry."
Daphne held up a hand and said, "It's alright, it's alright. Cost of adventuring. Alright, I'm ready to go. Did you see anything?"



Flick, Karl, and Ibera...

Backing up to a moment in time, Flick continued to lead the party with his sword drawn. He had to admit, he was not in the best of positions given the environment. He was a bowman first-and-foremost and an underground dungeon was not very conducive to bowmen. He had turned east and kept a steady pace. Not too far, but he felt Jezebel would be disappointed if he had hovered at a close distance. On either side of him were dark gray walls of carved stone with burned out torches that stuck out from sconces every few feet.

"You think they'll find anything good back there?" Ibera said.
"Probably nothin' but bad honey and dried poison glands, I should know, I gotta nose fer gold." He said.
"You think that's all Jezebel is interested in?" Flick shook his head, "She's a very capable person."
"Yeah, capable of getting us into trouble."

<Flick makes a Notice check of 8. Does anything stand out to him? 35% Yes with a result of 27%>

Flick was confident he was dead center between either end of the hallway. At a far distance, his bulbous eyes made out the shape of a contact figure that knelt close to the left wall for some cover. He was uncertain, but he felt his muscles tense and his body shudder. For a brief moment, he made eye contact with a pair of red eyes that looked back at him.

<Ibera makes a Notice roll of 20. Does she hear the fighting going on the Apiary? 90% Yes with a result of 21%>

She turned her head as she heard a distant crash and said, "There's trouble back there!" She made a full turn and stamped back to where they had left Jezebel and Daphne. Karl followed suit, and Flick paused to stare ahead for another moment before he turned away and the followed the other two to assist their friends.

Full-party...

The party had found themselves back together again. Jezebel and Flick marched side-by-side, so did Daphne and Ibera who made up the second row, and Karl brought up the last. Karl did not mind his circumstances, it allowed him to smoke without bothering his party members. He chewed on the stem of his pipe as they advanced through the long hall heading east.

Jezebel noted, "And this figure, was it tall or short?"
"Short like me. Those red eyes looked into mine and I could tell it was not a friend." Flick said before he stifled a yawn.
"Could you tell where it went?" She asked. Her eyes peered into the darkness. Her only source of light was the one conjured by Daphne which left the way lit, but shadowy.
"I hate to say it, but I was distracted by Ibera when she heard you two were in a fight. It could be more Goblins."
"Maybe," Jezebel said. They had gotten to the end of the tunnel. Facing the east, the party had a door on their right and then bend that curved back to the north. Flick put his back against the wall and shuffled softly along the wall to peak around the corner <Result is 26 Stealth / 21 Notice> He can see a closed door at the end of the hallway, some 50 ft. ahead of him.

<Secret door! He rolled a Notice 21. Is he suspicious of where the secret door is located? 85% Yes with a result of 29%>

"See anything?" Jezebel asked.
"No, the hallway is clear. There is a door north of here." He turned and looked up at her, "If a Goblin was here it was very courteous to open and shut the door north."
"I'm not even sure if they can use the door, anybody know anything about that?" Jezebel and looked at the others.

She received a series of headshakes. No one possesses a degree in Dungoneering in order to identify the habits or certain monsters.

<I roll another event on the chart and get a 7. The PC's are technically asked to help or get involved...>

There was a soft squeak at the door which drew the party's collective attention. Flick pressed himself against the wall when he saw those eyes again. His desire to draw his knife was quelled when the figure put his hand up and said, "Please! Don't kill me, I'm here to help."

The party came face-to-face with one of the forgotten races of the world: a Kobold dressed in tattered red robes. It spoke with a high pitch, its features rounder, delicate compared to the vicious angles of a male Kobold. She said, "My name is Churtle, I don't know what brings you strangers here, but we mean you no harm."




Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Brujah Brother - Meet the Character & Chapter 1



Luke Jackson found himself at the Blue Egyptian on that fateful night. He had a sketchy tip from a source that a man by the name of Guzman was tending bar there in the Downtown quarter. Jackson was being paid by Guzman's wife to find her husband and bring him home, he never did find Guzman, he never got paid either. What he did find under the filtered blue lights was a petite framed, brown skinned goddess with deepest red lips he had ever seen. She wore a lavender dress with a sheer shawl around her bare shoulders. He recalled seeing a drink, but as he looked back, he could not remember if she ever lifted it to her lips. She smiled at him, and he stepped to her with a smile of his own. Hellos were exchanged. What's a fine sister like you doing here? He asked her. I could say the same thing about you, handsome. Drew a pointed finger down his arm. Even wearing a denim jacket, he could feel the sharpness of her polished white nail graze his skin. They danced on the floor for a brief time, her back against his chest as she shimmied and ground into him. When she turned to face him, she whispered huskily, "Let's go back to your place."

He had to dodge several cars and endure a few hand gestures and shouts from pedestrians. He would have flown if he could get this woman any faster to his place. The pair walked up the iron stairs and in moments in his apartment. Her mouth pressed against his, her smooth lips parted, and her tongue touched his lips. He was struck how cool she felt at first touch. He hesitated, even as his palm grazed down her backside. She must have sensed his hesitation because her arms wrapped around his neck and she drew him close. She suddenly felt warm to his caress. He passed it off as a trick of the mind.

"I want to show you something," she whispered. She turned her head and pressed her lips against his neck. He felt a slight sting on his neck before his eyes rolled back. A black pool opened up at his feet, and he slid in. There was no bottom...


Name: Luke Jackson
Age of Death: Early 30's
Generation: Neonate
Clan: Brujah

Traits
Mental 3
Physical 4
Psychic 1
Social 3

Aptitude: Combatant: +1 wit Combat

Advantage: Blood Rage: May spend a blood point to enter a semi-controlled rage. While under the effects of Blood Rage, the Vampire may ignore wound penalties but must attack enemies directly with melee attacks. They will drop any ranged weapons and will not use non-Physical Disciplines.

Weakness: Blood Madness: Prone to frenzy and anger. Difficulty to resist frenzy are increased by +1 to a maximum of +6

Blood Pool: 10

Wound:

Possessions: Black Jacket, x2 Colt .45's, Sunglasses, Car (Coupe Class)

Disciplines: Celerity (Basic): The vampire’s movement rate doubles. Additionally,
she gains an extra action per turn.


Potence (Basic): The vampire inflicts +2 damage in hand-to-hand combat, and he may lift approximately 1000 pounds.



Preamble: Luke Jackson is a neonate Brujah who lives in a city known as Mecklenburg. The area has an urban vibe, somewhere landlocked, like Detroit or Chicago. It is the year 1970-Something. The area is known for a relatively peaceful age under the rule of a Venture Prince by the name of Rebecca Dammert who currently holds sway in the Uptown portion of the city. Jackson was embraced by Cecily 'C.C.' Cook, the Childe of the Brujah Primogen. It has been six months since he was embraced. He has adapted to life by night, even if he is still a new kid on the nocturnal block.

Scene: The world was filtered through dark sunglasses as Luke Jackson drove through the neon-tinged streets of downtown Mecklenburg. The streets were lined with men and women, mostly brown or black with a few whites who mingled in the crowd. There were men in garish reds or blues. Women stood in faux-furs or windbreakers. A few wore denim or thick cloth jackets. A man could feel alive on these streets, but Jackson took no comfort from what he saw. All he saw was the downtown rack, a herd that he could feed on. He turned his car from the lights towards the quieter tenements that rose above the streets. His apartment was in one of the smaller buildings, right above a drug store with blue-and-orange stripes awnings. The rent had always been cheap, and for the most part, his clients had been willing to meet at nights with little reason given. If he needed money or blood, he could always go to Cecily about it. The thought of her made his frown deepen. He always wondered why she embraced him. When he asked before all she would do was giggle and say, "I don't know, Luke. I had permission to embrace, and you looked good enough."

Good enough, as if that should satisfy him. Cicely must have thought she really did him a solid by embracing him. He was ageless, and he was less than enthused, not quite morose enough to meet the sun and turn to ash. He just had very little reason to smile these days.

<Jackson arrives on the scene. His senses are perked as he steps off the curb and rolls a Notice check using a Mental Difficulty 3. He rolls a 5, 3, and 2. The individuals who have his senses riled are not trying to hide. He spots them.>

Jackson looked on either side of him. The wino who leaned against the brick wall. The motorist who had the hands tucked in the coat pocket of his jacket. He could smell it in the air about these two, the scent of death. They were Vampires, and though they acted unconcerned, he could tell their eyes were on him.

At the end of the alleyway past the stairs, he stood in the shadows waiting for Jackson. As he stepped into the dim yellow light, Jackson knew the white man with slick black hair and thin mustache as Herbert Westfield. Westfield dressed a little too fashionable for the Downtown. A black turtleneck tucked under a charcoal blazer with a show handkerchief. He spoke with a gentleman's manner.
"Hello Jackson, do you have a moment?" He had his arms crossed over his chest.
"I guess I do now, you want to come up to my place?"

<Jackson's invitation is made with a social vs. social check. Herbert is a ancillae Vampire. I rate his social as a 4 vs. Jackson's 3. The difficulty is 3. The for Herbert vs. Jackson results are 3, 5, 3 & 1. 3 Success -1 Botch for 2 Success vs. 3, 4, and 1. 2 Successes and 1 botch for a total of 1 Success. Herbert has the Advantage and a 35% Chance he will follow Jackson out of the sight of his men. The result is 81%. No!>

Herbert shook his head and said, "No need for a long moment, Jackson. I'm here with an invitation on behalf of the Prince to meet her at her home. Naturally, such an invitation would raise your suspicion, to help allay your fears, she is willing to meet you an Elysium salon uptown. She has a task that calls for your service."
"Why me?" Jackson asked. Though the Brujah belonged to the ruling Camarilla, the Clan tended to be naturally suspicious of the governing body, especially of the aristocratic Venture like Rebecca Dammert.
Herbert shook his head, "I cannot speak for the Prince in her desires. She has assured the job is well within your capabilities and would earn great esteem with her."
"So it's a job for the kids that she could do herself or send her own kids to deal with it. That still doesn't answer my question."

<Jackson may have overstepped his bounds with the Herald. He gets a Social check, perhaps his tone does not sound so flippant to the Herald as it could be interpreted. The Difficult is 4 and results in a 6, 5, & 2.>

Herbert shrugged and said, "I have a car waiting for you, Jackson. I can take you to her now, we can call later about meeting somewhere you feel safe. What would you care to do?"
Jackson flicked his eyes from Herbert to his apartment and asked, "Can I call Frank, let him know where I'll be?"
"Of course, why don't you do that while I get the car ready." Herbert walked past Jackson towards the end of the alleyway. The Ventrue made a few hand signals to whom Jackson could not see, he had a few guesses. He walked upstairs to his apartment, crossed past the velvet painting of the fruit basket a client gave to him and made a few calls.

<Does he get in touch with 'Frank'? 35% Yes = 96% Exceptional No!>

Jackson placed a call into the Brujah Primogen, Frank 'Doc' Johnson. No answer. 

<Does he get a chance to leave a message? 65% Yes = 79%>

Perhaps he felt a little bold, maybe he feared that if he left the phone ring a little longer he might get her on the phone, and he did not feel like talking to his sire. He hung up the phone, ran a comb through his fro, and was back out on the streets. He knew the security around the Prince was tight, that even a futile weapon like a pistol would be taken from him. He was back on the streets where he saw a black-and-chrome sedan with a hardtop waiting for him. Herbert was in the backseat and opened one of the suicide doors for the Brujah.

"The Prince will be very thankful you took up her invitation." He said and offered a brief smile. Jackson looked forward, all he could say was, "Sure, whatever." The car pulled forward, it slipped through the streets of downtown Mecklenburg and took the expressway towards the high steel spires of Uptown.

To be continued...

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Morgansfort Part 7 - Into the Dungeon


The Session So Far...

The party proceeds down the stairwell into an octagonal chamber with torches evenly spread on every other face of the wall. There were three corridors with the exit being the north. The party faced the southern corridor. The party had face down the crab spider, negating the need for another random encounter check.

Jezebel: "Three ways to go." She stepped to the corridor on her left (eastern corridor on the map). She kept her sword sheathed and held a lit torch in hand. She held the light aloft as she peered down the corridor <Notice d20+3 = 12>. She saw a reinforced door down the 30' hallway. Little else caught her entrance.

The party files in after Jezebel in order: Karl, Daphne, Flick, and Ibera. Ever the Ranger, Flick volunteers to look down the corridor across from him (South). Ibera is chosen by random roll to check the corridor on her current right (west).

Flick <Notice d20+6 = 18>: Flick sees the distant back wall some 40 ft ahead of him. He is also able to detect that 20 ft. from him is a pressure plate on the floor. Perhaps at one time, there was a greater attempt to hide the plate, but either age or disuse has chipped and done away with the plaster and grout that would have hidden the line between floor and plate.

Ibera <Notice d20+5 = 10>: She saw several feet ahead of her quite clear due to the natural darkvision of Minotaurs. She saw a hallway. A few burned out sconces. She saw a few marks had disturbed the dust and she thought she heard maybe a growling noise, but she somewhat passed it as her imagination.

<Would Ibera share her suspicions? 65% Yes results in 84% No!>

Ibera: Shook her head and turned back to the group, "You guys notice anything?"

Flick: "I saw a wall and what looks like a floor trap. Anyone know how to disable it?"

Ibera: Looked at Karl with a raised brow, "Well?"

Karl: "Well what?" He asked, his voice cross.

Ibera: "It's a trap set in stone. That's suppose to be your thing." She said.

Karl: "I don't know anything about traps, even ones set in stone. I probably give ye a good idea on how much a jewel is worth, but other than that."

Daphne: Rolled her eyes. She stepped to the stone as Flick directed and knelt to draw ink across the tile in a great X. "Next time we are in town we should get some chalk, or someone who knows their way around traps."

<Random Encounter check 1-in-6 chance = 4>

Daphne: "Well, since I used the ink on this one. I think we should take this path."

Jezebel: "Flick, you lead. I'll take the rearguard. Let's take it slow alright?"

The party continued south for forty feet. Their movement is slowed as the party sidestepped around the pressure plate. As Karl noted:

Karl: "I cannae believe whoever built this place had plate traps in place. I mean, what was a servant suppose tae do when they wanted to serve food? Just leap over the plate and hope whatever opened up or shot out didn't hurt them.

Jezebel: "This was a fortress built by the North. They usually had the traps on a safe mechanism, it is possible that the trap would not have sprung."

Karl: "When would they have it active?"

Jezebel: "When an attack was imminent."

<Encounter check 1-in-6 = 4>

Forty feet down the party reaches the end of the hall. Facing south, Flick has a door on his left and more hallway to his right. He puts his ear and listens through a key hold.

Flick <Notice + 6 = 10> He hears a faint buzzing noise through the keyhole. It was a low, constant buzzing, not a cacophony of wings like a swarm. He raised a brow and looked at the others, "I'm not sure what to make of it."

Karl: "Lemme take a look." He readied his pick and shield. Others crowded in the hall. He said, "Flick, take tha door handle." He readied his grip as the Grippli shoved the door open.

That buzzing sound the party heard was that of a half-a-dozen giant bees that had flown down a shaft that lead to the surface and made an underground nest made from regurgitated wax that covered the walls. Several honey combs hug the walls and the party is facing six livid insects.

Ibera: "The hell with that! Shut the door!"

Jezebel: "No! We need to clear it out." She drew her sword and said, "You ready to start this Karl?"

The bees don't need a conversation. They buzz forward looking to attack.

Round #1 Initiative

Results: GM: 9 of Hearts, Jezebel: Ace of Diamonds, Karl: Joker!, Daphne: 8 of Hearts, Flick: 6 of Hearts, Ibera: 9 of Clubs

Karl: Holds his pick aloft and declares "By the favor o' that Emperor!" He casts Divine Favor on himself <-3 Mana> and closed in one one of the bees <Bee #2>

Jezebel: Closed in on the bee (bee #1). Her sword flashed out as she hacked into the insect's legs (roll 16 for 6 points of damage)

Ibera: Drew a pistol and fired a shot at one of the bees in the back (#6; Result is 13). The shot knocks a chunk of bee's wax from the wall. Honey splatters and smoke billows in the back corner.

The bees lash out at threats. Their aim is for Jezebel, Karl, and Ibera - the three nearest to strike with Jezebel and Karl in the room and Ibera at the doorway with a smoking gun in hand. Bees #1, #4, & #4 team against the Warrior. Jezebel manages to deflect and ward away most attacks, except for Bee #5 who sticks her (5 points. Saves on Poison)

Karl is attacked by Bee #2 and Bee #3 which manage to get on either side him and slip through impressive defenses. Despite his Dwarven toughness, Karl takes a heavy dose of poison from Bee #2 (4 stringer, 6 poison). Bee #3's blow is painful, but shallow compared to it's companion (3 damage, 0 poison). Altogether Karl is staggered with blurry vision from the poison.

Karl: "I should o' stayed in town..." He muttered.

Ibera is struck by Bee #6. Her hide absorbs most of the sting, though she still growls at a needling pain in her shoulder (2 dmg, 0 poison).

Daphne; Stepped back into the hallway and held her hand out. With a thought, her will extended to a translucent protective shield around her person. (-3 Mana. Shield Active. AC 16)

Flick: Concentrated his shots on the Bee directly in front (Bee #6, the one on Ibera. Attack results 13 & 12). He is a little too excited as his arrows fly past the buzzing insect or strike the stone door frame.

Round Results
Ibera has Divine Favor. Takes 13 Damage.
Jezebel takes 5 Damage
Ibera takes 2 damage
Daphne casts Shield (+4 AC). Current AC is now 16.

Round #2
GM: 3 of Diamonds, Jezebel: Joker!, Karl: Jack of Hearts, Daphne: King of Diamonds, Flick: King of Spades, and Ibera: 3 of Hearts

Jezebel goes on the offensive at the bees attacking her. Her sword slashes out at Bee's 1 and 4. She hits them both (at the cost of one of her talents. She deals 12 & 10 damage to 1 & 4 respectively). Both bees are slashed in twain, falling dead at her feet. She spun on Bee #5 with her sword raised.

Jezebel: "Come on! I love the taste of honey!"

Flick: Flick's arrow shots continue to bounce off the door door frame or are knocked away. The Grippli huffed in disgust at his performance. "I might as well scout ahead."

Daphne: Had no words to either comfort ally or confront enemy. All she had was a point of blue energy that formed above her finger that she threw out at Bee #6 (Attack 15 hits for 12 damage -1 Mana). The ray penetrates the bee's skull and it falls to the ground. The ray of frost was so chilling that not even vestiges of animal movement were capable. It had gone from living to still in but a second.

Daphne: "What was that, Flick? All I heard was pity party because you didn't get a notch on your bow?"

Flick: "Well then, since you are doing so well, why don't you go in next and face the others down?"

Karl: Brought his shield close to his breast. A prayer on his lips, "Emperor Protects!" <-3 Mana. Healed 8 points>

Bees: A roll off is first conducted between Ibera and the Bees. The Bees win with a 15 vs. 10. They launch their attacks against the party, starting with Karl. Karl turned to use his shield to catch the attack of Bee #3. The insect let out a soft keening cry as it bent its stinger on his shield (result 9). Bee #2 continued to press a successful assault, sticking the Dwarf in his arm (5 points, 0 poison).

Bee #5 swooped in to try and stab Jezebel. She ducked quick, the bee flew past and had little time to course correct. It hit the wall at full force and fell prone. The bee's compound eyes saw many, many stars.

Ibera: Walked upon the stricken bee and drew her pistol upon it, "Nothing personal. I just hate getting stung." <Gunshot result is 25 w/ Sucker Shot. 18>. The bee's large head is blown apart by the pistol shot.

Results:
Daphne: -1 Mana
Karl: -3 Mana, 5 damage
Ibera: Works out her childhood fear by shooting a giant bee in the head.
Flick: Bitter he cannot fire a bow at low level.

Round #3 Initiative
GM: Ace of Clubs, Jezebel: 6 of Diamonds, Karl: 3 of Diamonds, Daphne: 8 of Diamonds, Flick: 5 of Diamonds, Ibera: Ace of Diamonds.

Bees: Seeing the Dwarf pant and huff, Bee #2 continues to sting him. The smell of the poison it used is a strong drive, it sees many threats, but it has a chance to kill one. Giant bees get like that sometimes. Poison fever is what it's called. Bee #2 strikes Karl (Natural 20; 8 damage, 0 Poison). It's sting scratches and scars Karl's bone, but Karl's natural defenses take hold and keep the poison from activating in his blood.

Bee #3 turns from Karl to Jezebel and makes a lunge (8). It's attack is feeble and is swatted away by Jezebel and her sword.

Ibera: Makes a charge and rams her Horn into Bee #2 (Result is 22. 7). Her horn impales into the thorax of the giant bee. A mixture of honey, ichor, and a touch of poison mattes into her fur. She gagged at the smell and ripped her horn out. "Damn it!"

Daphne: Held her action. She did not want to fire at targets so close to her allies. Plus she was low on Mana from the last two sessions (she did not get a chance to rest after the Crab Spider fight. Current Mana: 8)

Jezebel: Her attacks miss inches from their target, which is Bee #3. She is knew she was losing focus, too eager to try and relieve her friend to fight as well as she could.

Flick: When a Ranger hits, they hit well. While one arrow falls short of the target, the second one strikes Bee #3 (the one on Jezebel). The arrows buries deep into it's side. The bee falls forward, giving Jezebel only seconds to dodge the downed insect. (Rolls 22 and 11, 1 Hit for 9 damage)

Karl: Swung his pick at Bee #2. He wanted to prove himself to his Power. His Pick strikes true and buries deep into one of the compound eyes of the bee. It faintly buzzed for a moment before it fell to the ground became still.

Round #3 Results
Bees defeated!

Flick managed to kill a bee.

Karl takes 8 points of damage. His current mana is 12. Spells fade at the end of the scene.

Jezebel: Missed a couple of times. She shows her emotions due to concern for her ally. He does not look in good shape.

Ibera: Begins to use her canteen to try and clean off bee innards from her fur.


Karl (-6 Mana, +11 Health): Heals himself nearly to full. His wounds closed due to the powers granted by the Emperor. He feels drained, though the poison had generally passed through his system. He had used a lot of mana in the previous fight and this fight. "We need tae camp soon."

Ibera: "Can we not camp in the bee room? What the hell are you doing?" She looked at Flick who jammed his hand into one combs that was as large as his fist.

Flick <Survival Check = 24>: He withdrew his hand and sniffed at the honey. After a sniff or two, his long forked tongue flicked out and began to lick honey from his hands. "No Jelly, that means a Queen is not present. Either this was a previous colony and these were the last few bees left before following the Queen, or they were preparing the way for her."

Ibera: "I didn't know bugs needed rear or vanguards."

Flick: "A lot of strange things are involved with giant bees." He used the honey along with his herbs to form a healing Poultice that he used on Jezebel. She smiled and nodded at him (She receives 3 HP).

Jezebel: "We should consider resting here. Let our casters recover from their mana expenditures. How are you holding up, Daphne?"

Daphne: "I've got some power left in me, Chief. No need to worry yourself, not that I don't mind the break. That honey taste any good?"

Flick: "Fine stuff. Nobody can deny, some of the best honey is giant bee honey. Probably made all the sweeter due to the life and death struggle involved in getting it."

Ibera: "I'd prefer sleeping in the main court room. Somewhere but here."

Jezebel: "What has you nervous, Brinehorn?" She asked.

Ibera: Looked at Jezebel and said, her voice low, "I don't like stings. I had a bad reaction to a sting when I was a calf. I'd rather not go through it again."

Jezebel: "It's different this time, Ibera. You've got party members who will aid you, heal you." She said, a comforting smile on her lips before she tilted her head back to get some rest.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Morgasfort Part 6: Lake Gweno, Old Fortress

Kind of like this, but no guards standing up there.

The Session So Far...

The party managed to drive off the Lady of the Lake (they never did get a chance to learn her name, if she even had one). The rest of the evening and most of the early morning they used to recuperate to the best of their abilities before heading out to the lone fortress located in the middle of Lake Gweno.

The fortress was accessible by a sliver of land that jutted into the lake. Depending on the season, the natural bridge either was plenty wide or rather narrow as rains caused the lake levels to rise or diminish. The island itself that the fortress sat upon was on a raised elevation compared to the start of the trail the party was on. This allowed watchmen who manned the towers a commanding view of the trail and the lake from the nearest short to even the far reaches. Soldiers like Jezebel understood the importance as Lake Gweno was not too far from the main trail that led out of the Saltmarsh and either into the Red Hills and the badlands in the west or eventually to Sunrae in the southeast. Many battles between Men and Elves were fought in this region.

<Weather Check: 7 - Showers>

The memories of the past lingered in Jezebel's mind as rain fell to the earth and a mist had built up past the fortress further out on Lake Gweno. She was reminded of a warning, that none had so-far returned from the lake, or was it the fort? She remembered the other rumor about the lost Elven scout.

Jezebel: "Alright, we'll make camp once we get inside." She grabbed her scabbard and drew her sword before she advanced past the iron-banded doors. They were already ajar as if welcoming more victims into the unknown.

The party began to explore the outer courtyard of the Keep <Encounter check is 1-in-6 with a result of 1. Encounter scenario includes a 1 - crocodiles, 2 - crab spider, 3 - 2d4 Goblins, 4 - 2d6 kobolds, 5 - 1d8 skeletons, 6 - 1d6 stirges. The result is...>

Flick: Flick crouched with his bow readied as he took the lead from Jezebel. He crept along the edge of the courtyard, trying to keep low with little sound and out of sight as was possible <Stealth roll 9+7 = 16>. He tried to keep a sharp ear out, but he let out a sudden cry as crept along the wall and disturbed a nest of pigeons that burst out from where they nested. The effect dazed him, unaware that all eight eyes were upon him <Notice check: Natural 1>

Daphne: While Flick had dropped his bow and waved his arms in the air to scatter more birds, Daphne, who followed behind the Grippli, was able to employ her Elven sight and hearing <Notice 24 vs. 25>. She was able to catch a glimpse of something gray in the distance, but not before what was upon them struck first.

Daphne: She blinked and realized what had leaped from the upper rampart was the snapping mandibles and skittering gray chitinous body of a crab spider. It began its attack by firing a ball of webs at the party.

Crab Spider <CR: 2 / HP: 32 / AC: 14 / Attack Bonus: +5 / Physical Save: +6 / Mental Save: +2 / Bite: 1d8+3 w/ Poison (DC 14) or take 2d6 points of damage / Web (1, Recharge: 6 on d6, Save: 12 ) - As Spell>

Spider: Lobs a ball of web that was aimed to ensnare Flick, Daphne, and Jezebel. The glob requires Dodge Save to avoid <Results are Jezebel: 5, Daphne 16, & Flick: 23> The Ranger and Mage are able to duck, dive, and move out of the way of the sticky slime. Unfortunately for Jezebel, she is stuck until next round where she can try to free herself. The spider scuttled down to the courtyard to try and see who else it could drag back to its lair. (Jezebel takes is stuck, -2 AC, and Disadvantage on any action besides freeing herself)

Initiative Round #1
GM: 6 of Hearts, Jezebel: 10 of Hearts, Karl: 4 of Spades, Daphne: 3 of Hearts, Flick: 8 of Clubs, Ibera: 4 of Diamonds

Jezebel: Jezebel attempted to tug and pull herself out of the sludge <Saving Throw vs. DC 12 = Natural 1> Try as she might she is held fast. She cannot move or even make further attempts to escape. She could only cry, or in her case, ask with passion: "Can I get some damn help here! I do not like spiders and I do not like spider webs!"

Flick: Flick's fingers were quick to knock arrows and fire at the spider <23 & 14. Damage is 4 & 7 + 1d8 for Colussus Slayer for a bonus 5 damage>. Both arrows sink deep into the spider's tough skin. It howled with rage, raising its long legs in the air and shaking its forward limbs as if shaking a fist at the party.

Spider: The Spider moves across the courtyard to the party. It advances on Flick, whom it sees as the most glaring threat. It makes a bite <Result is 14 vs. AC: 16> The Grippli is able to dodge to the right out of the way of the bite. The spider's mandibles instead bite into a wooden post that holds up an awning.

Karl: Managed to make his way past the doors by the time the spider had attacked. He raised his pick in the air and concentrated his will, "Blessings of the Emperor on all that we do." He said as part of his casting. Karl casts Bless (-3 Mana).

Ibera: Moved forward, pistol already drawn. She fired a shot, her confidence boosted by the power of Karl's spell and his faith. She felt she had more felt in both herself and Karl's magic rather than the hand of the Divines. She had to admit, she had a certain amount of inspiration as she squeezed the trigger <8+6+4 = 18. Hit! d10+4 = 14 points> She believed in Miracles!

Daphne: Pointed her finger at the Spider. She had no words, nor did she need it. She focused her will which fired a ray of frost at the spider <4+5+3 = 12>. Alas, the beam fires just above the spider. She decides not to burn all of her concentration. The day was still young, even if it was rainy.

Round 1 Report
Karl casts a spell -3 Mana

Spider takes 19 points of damage and attempts to flee

Daphne casts a Cantrip -1 Mana

Round 2 Initiative
GM: 4 of Cubs, Jezebel: Stuck, Karl: Joker!, Daphne: Joker!, Flick: 7 of Diamonds,
Ibera: Ace of Spades

Karl: Marched over to Jezebel and used pure strength to tear at the ropes <10+3+3+2 = 18>. His gloves are now covered in sticky material, but he manages to tear away enough to free his friend. Jezebel hugged him out of gratitude and relief that she was free.

Daphne: Fired another freezing ray at the spider <4+5+2+2 = 13>. The beam made a glancing blow on one of the joints of the spider. It seemed more distracted than injured by the attack. <-1 Mana>

Ibera: Crept up as best she could against the spider <3+6= 9 vs. 19+6=25>. The spider turned suddenly and let out a low hiss. That did not stop Ibera from cocking her pistol and firing into the spider's head <15+4+6=21. Hit! 8 Damage>. The gunshot plunged into one of the spider's eyes. It shuddered for a moment before it dropped dead at her hooves. She raised her pistol barrel up to let the patter of rain cool it off. "Wrong prey to pick up," She looked up to the group, "We pushing on?"

With little else to say the party had found the upper courts cleared. Now it was only the dungeons below that needed investigation. The sound of heavy breathing could be heard, something lurked in the dark, yet still, the party descended with Flick leading the way...

Round 2 Report
Spider Slain!

Daphne: -1 Mana

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Morgansfort Part 5: A Matter of the Undead

Something like this, minus the man.

Our story so far...

A pack of muck covered skeletons has risen out of the nearby lake at night and have waded onto the shore to attack the party. They are lead by a creature who has disguised herself as a beautiful woman. These creatures are drawn to the presence of the living. Their wicked claws reach out, their mouths open in either silent screams or laughter, depending on if a skeleton takes delight in the terror they cause or if they hate their cursed state. Jezebel spat to the side and drew her sword. She detected them. She has brandished her sword and called the party to arms. She, Karl, and the Skeletons may draw in this round. The others are stumbling up out of bed...

Initiative Round #1

GM: 6 of Hearts / Jezebel: Jack of Diamonds / Karl: 2 of Diamonds / Daphne: - / Flick: - / Ibera: -

Jezebel: Charges towards the four skeletons who have waded onto the shore. Sword in hand she brings the blade down in an angry swipe on the first skeleton she sees <Jezebel rolls a Natural 20! and deals 2d8+8 for 18 points of damage.> The first skeleton's skull is severed from the rest of the body. The black and green top landed close to Jez's iron boot which she stomped with mild satisfaction. The skeleton crumples in a final death.

GM: The other three skeletons see a viable target in the Warrior who has waded to meet them. They are relatively mindless, but there is a chance that 'the Lady' who lived amongst the bones of the lake directs them to other targets <65% Yes = 15%>. She rose from the lake. Her body appeared as an ideal of feminity conjured by most of her male victims. A glistening dew was apparent, despite the murk and muck, it seemed that not a stain besmirched her pale skin. She gestured with a hand, "Kill the others. I will handle this one.>

Skeleton: Skeleton #2 rushed at Ibera. She was up with her cutlass in her hands. <D20+4 vs. AC 16 = 6> It's slash was parried as the flat of her blade. Skeleton #3 rushed Karl with both claws out to rake the bearded Cleric <vs. AC 16 as Karl has no shield. The result is 8.> Its claws scrape impotently across the Dwarf's ring mail. Skeleton #4 attempted to charge at Flick - -

<Could Jezebel interrupt as this is the last one to rush past her? 35% Chance Yes = 54%> While she is undoubtedly dedicated to her friends. The Skeletons were able to skirt around her to reach their targets. The woman of the lake has held Jezebel's attention.

Skeleton #4 goes after Flick <Roll of 17 vs. AC: 16. Roll Damage is 1d6 = 6 damage> The Claws sunk deep into Flick's shoulder. The blow sent the Grippli sprawled to the ground as the Ranger let out a yelp.

The Woman of the Lake: Sashayed with a smirk upon her painted lips like a Port Kyan courtesan, sans clothing or the right environment. It was surreal to Jezebel to fighting a painted woman in the middle of a land of swamps, lakes, and rivers. One who commanded the dead.

The Woman: "Come to join my collection little dove?" Her voice was singsong sweet, her green eyes full of menace. <The Woman of the Lake is an Elite who has a 1/Day use of Charm Person. As she speaks her eyes flash and the spell-like ability is used against Jezebel>

Jezebel: <Will Save of +3 vs. TN 13 = 8> Jezebel paused mid-step. The smoothness of the woman's voice poured over her with a welcome warmth, like bathwater, scented in cloying perfume. Tendrils of warmth snaked down her throat and wrapped itself around her heart. She stood there and swayed.

Karl: Spat to the side. He grabbed the symbol of the crown and said, "The Emperor will not stand fer yer transgressions! Begone!" <Turn Undead! All Targets must make a Saving Throw vs. 11. The Woman of the Lake gains an Advantage due to her Elite status. Results are Skeleton #2 = 9 (Turned!), Skeleton #3 = Natural 1 (Destroyed!), Skeleton #4 = 15 (Resisted!), Woman of the Lake = 10+6=16 (Resisted!)>

Skeleton #2 made a full run back towards the Lake. Ibera took the opportunity for a disengaging attack. With her quick drawn talent, she brandished her pistol and fire a sucker shot <1d10+1d6+4=15>. The skeleton's spine and ribs were blown apart by the Minotaur.

Skeleton #3 was at the epicenter of the turn attempt. Holy energy caused the skeleton to erupt in holy fire and explode outwards towards the wind. Skeleton #4 along with its mistress, the Woman, merely shook their heads as divine energy grazed them and faded.

Woman: "You have to do better than that-"

GM: Would Daphe notice that Jezebel has been hit by a spell? 65% = 46%

Daphne: The first to be able to react. She had her suspicions. Her friend stood there, body swaying even as all this chaos unfolded. She casts Detect Magic <-1 Mana> She has the Charm Person spell in her book giving her an Advantage in identification <Her Lore (Arcana) +7 vs. TN: 11 results in 23.> Daphne's eyes narrowed as the waves of energy were quite visible on Jezebel. 
"Jezebel's charmed!" She cried

Ibera: Drew her hoof back, she carved a line into the sand as her eyes were on the skeleton upon the injured Grippli. She snorted as she charged forward and bore down on the offending skeleton. She let out a low growl that the skeleton turned its head towards before the hardened plate of her skull launched forward to catch the skeleton in a gore <Result of the roll is 19 with 6 points of damage>. The Skeleton was knocked to the ground by the blow. Ibera snarled, her mood was not improved as she sniffed the air to sample the musty swamp water. She knew, deep within, that the smell would take a while to wash out of her fur. "That is for clawing the Grippli."

Flick: Drew his short sword and brought it down with a thurst to sever the skull from the spine <+5 vs. AC 13 = 17. Damage is 1d6+3 for 6 points>. The skull clattered against the ground as it was severed from the body. The Grippli offered a brief nod in thanks. Blood pooled down his arm, the sting was pain nagged him.

Round Results
Flick takes 6 Points (5/11)
Daphne: -1 Mana Point (7/8)
Jezebel: Charmed!
Karl: -1 Turn Check (3 left)

Initiative Round #2
GM: 6 of Clubs / Jezebel: -- / Karl: 3 of Spades / Daphne: 3 of Diamonds / Flick: 9 of Spades / 
Ibera: Queen of Spades

Ibera: She spent her full movement reloading her pistol. By not moving she was able to fire in the same round. Her eyes lit by the soft yellow embers of a fire rune etched onto the hammer. The rune had precluded the old method of panning frizzen with the alchemical substance known as red powder. She needed to only load the breach with powder and ball, the fire rune would do the rest. She ducked low and fired a shot at the Woman. Her target's distance was a touch Far, necessitating a Disadvantage <The ultimate result is 10 vs. AC: 14.> The bullet was just short of the woman.

GM: The woman gestured a hand towards Ibera, "Lover, kill that one."

Jezebel: Is enamored with the Woman in the Lake despite her seeing the apparent evil that the woman cloaked herself in. Still, a part of her longed to obey while another part rebelled. The order strained the relationship and allowed Jezebel to possibly break <Will +3 vs. TN 13 = 11>. Her mind bubbled under her presumed lover's spell. With sword drawn she advanced on Ibera and launched in an attack as the Minotaur scrambled for her cutlass <Attack roll of 16+5=21 and damage is 12 points>. A powerful thrust impales the Minotaur who shuddered. Her hand feebly reached for her arm but the pain nearly overwhelmed her. She could feel the warm trickle of blood run from her snout.

Ibera: "Jez..."

The Woman: The Maiden of doom cackled as her eyes turned on Karl. It was quite a sight. The woman launched in a full sprint as her porcelain fingers cracked and peeled away to reveal a set of dark green claws. Her beautiful visage was but a shallow shell concealing her truly evil form. She swiped twice at the Dwarf <GM: Was Karl able to get his shield on? 50% Yes = 99. Exceptional No! - Attacks are +5 vs. AC: 16 for a result of Natural 20! and 10. Damage is 12>.

The claw swipe caught the side of the Dwarf's head. He was knocked down as blood gushed from the wound. He was incapacitated.

Flick: Flick was up on one knee. He was hurt, but he could still fire arrows. He took aim and knocked arrows directed the Woman <RoF 2 results are 16+5=21 and 5+13=18. Damage is 7 and 7 but Resistance lowers final total to 3 & 3 = 6> Arrow strikes embed themselves into the Woman. Bones are cut, but the wounds appeared more superficial than anything.

Daphne: Cursed her luck. Karl was down, Flick was wounded, Ibera was nearly slain. "Jezebel!" She shouted. She clenched her fist and then brought it to her lips where she pressed her lips against her fingers. As she unclenched her hand she let out a soft breath that blew the kiss, and the Charm spell she cast, at Jezebel.

Karl: <Deathwatch roll results in 14>: Karl was unconscious, and though the blow would leave a nasty scar, he ultimately stabilized.

Jezebel: Though Jezebel may have wished to fall under the caring embrace of her friend, her will was too frantic. It forced her to resist what would have ultimately been beneficial. <Will is +3 vs. TN 13 for a result of 5>. She breathed a sigh relief, for though she was charmed, she knew that Daphne would take care of her.

Round #2 Results
Karl - Incapacitated but Stable.
Ibera: -12 HP (1/13)
Jezebel: Charmed! (by Daphne)
Daphne: Casts Charm Person, -3 Mana (4/8)
Woman of the Lake: -6 HP (44/50)

Round #3 Initiative
GM: 3 of Hearts / Jezebel: -- / Karl: -- / Daphne: 10 of Spades / Flick: 10 of Hearts / 
Ibera: Jack of Clubs

Ibera: Jezebel's sword slid out of her. The Minotaur, the was glad that the Warrior managed to only puncture her side as opposed to the center mass. She was relieved that he organs did not spill out on the floor. She took her time in a reload and shot <+6 vs. AC 14 = 15. Hit! 7 Damage>. The shot blew apart the Woman's stomach, the wound revealed more muck covered bones beneath the thin, pale skin. "I... I'll have some words later for you, Grimshaw."

Daphne: "Jezebel! Look at her undead bones, her vile manner! Don't forget to put her head into the fire once you severed it." She drew one of her personal phials of Alchemist Fire. She stepped towards the Woman and hurled it at her <+4 vs. AC: 14 = 23. Hit! Fire Weakness = 12 damage>. She was set alight by the alchemist fire. Whatever confidence was on her face was drained as the flames began to burn away her disguise.

Jezebel: Followed through with Daphne's command. She rushed the creature, her former love (due to magical malfeasance - at no time could Jezebel recall dating a skeleton), and brought her sword in for a strike <Roll is 16 with 12 points>.

Flick: Peppered the area with shots <Rolls are 13 and 10>. Arrows struck the ground and shattered. He cursed his luck and took his time to get to Karl.

The Woman: With much of her glamoured flesh burned away to reveal her true skeletal form, she turned on her heel and charged for the lake. <Disengaging Attack 3+5=8>. Jezebel tried to slash at her backside, but the Woman was too adroit, and she sprinted towards the relative safety of the water. She bobbed for a moment before there was a splash and she vanished into the depths.

Ibera: "By the Divines! What the hell was that?"

Results
The Woman of the Lake takes 24 points of damage (12/50)
The Woman flees the scene.
End of Combat. Party Levels.

Flick: Administered a poultice to Karl Stonetender <1d6 = 6>. He held Karl's hand as he waited for the red paste he pressed into the wound take effect. "Take it easy, you've been through a lot."

Karl: "I'll say, the last thing I saw was a terrible shrew run at me wit' claws as long as spears." He tried to sit up, the act of movement caused a shock of pain to course through him. He laid back down and said, "Right... give me a second to..." He focused his will and channeled his inner strength into a soft glow that radiated from his body. <-3 Mana. Seals self 1d8 hit points for 3>.

Ibera: "I could use a touch of that too, you know, if you're not busy."

Jezebel: "I'm sorry about stabbing you, Ibera." She leaned against a tree. The fight had only been barely a minute and yet she felt drained. Though in thinking that she winced inwardly. If she thought she was strained, how did Ibera feel?

Karl: Managed to pick himself up and limp to Ibera with energy in hand. A touch of Ibera's shoulder sent a wave of energy that knitted flesh and soothed bruises <1d8 = 5>.

The party settles in for a rest. Tomorrow was another day.



Saturday, October 27, 2018

Morgansfort Part 4 - The Road to the Fort


The Session So Far...

After an evenings rest, the party gathers at Morgansfort's northern gate. A weather check (d10) reveals a 4: Heavy Clouds provide some shade, though a touch humidity lingers in the air. The party is directed north to Lake Gweno, the cursed lake. The party continues on foot, and it will take roughly a full day of hard marching or a day-and-a-half at a leisurely pace. Flick takes the lead followed by Jezebel, Daphne, Ibera, and Karl takes up rear guard. While there is something of a marching order, the excess space allows the party to spread out and move. The pace is currently leisurely.

Flick...

Flick of the Mire, or Flick, casually strolled along with his arms swinging. His short bow was attached to his back with a short sword at his side. He did not hum, but he did move along at a brisk pace. At times film covered his red eyes, the closest he could get to blinking to keep his eyes moist.

Jezebel: "You seem to have a spring in your step."

Flick: "It's because we are in my country, m'lady. A Grippli loves this land."

Jezebel: "Do you know anything about Lake Gweno?"

<Flick rolls a 7 Lore (History) check. A TN 10 would have gotten a 50%. As his roll was higher than 5 but lower than 10, he has a 35% Chance to knowing some small fact about the lake. The result is 23%. Yes!>

Flick: "The Lake housed the Elves loyal to Lord Summerisle. He was a subject of the Sun Queen during the War. His Elves fought the Men in this region. It's said that many Elven bodies are buried in the Gweno. Lizardfolk settle in this area for a while, but not Grippli."

Daphne: "What makes the Lizardfolk so cocksure that Elven dead won't reach out and gobble them?" Despite being a Half-Elf, an outcast by Elves, Daphne's playful smirk complimented the soft shimmer of her eyes.

Flick: "Lizardfolk believe in the Scaly Ones. Warmbloods have other names for them. They are the gods of Strength, the Emperor, and the Empress. To the Lizardfolk, the Scaly Ones existed long before the Elves came. They hold sway over the lakes and the Marsh, not the bones of Elves." Flick paused to flash a look at Daphne. It was neither friendly or unfriendly, just a brief stare in shimmering eyes.

Daphne: "Well, speaking as someone who grew up laboring under Elves, I wouldn't mind if their bones were knocked down a peg. Even by Lizardfolk."

<A Wilderness encounter check is made for the morning into afternoon period. The party is moving at a casual pace with a Ranger is leading them. The Encounter roll is 1-in-8 chances with a result of 1. Encounter! Encounters are a d6 with: 1 - 1d4 Giant Ants; 2 - 1 Giant Crab Spider; 3 - 2d4 Goblins; 4 - 2d6 Brigands; 5 - 1d8 Skeletons; 6 - 1d6 Stirges. The result is...>

<Flick & Daphne get a Notice roll as one is alert by nature for being a Ranger and the other is an Elf. The feat is considered Easy, requiring a TN 10 Notice from either party. Results are: 25 (Flick) & Natural 1 (Daphne)>

The party broke camp under a copse of trees. They looked to the sturdy boughs to provide some relief from the suspected rains as dark clouds swallowed the sun and the distant boom of thunder roared. Daphne cat napped atop her bedroll. Karl and Ibera played dominoes on a stump while they passed the tobacco pouch between them. Jezebel stripped her armor (Current AC: 12) as she sipped from her canteen and used a damp cloth to pad her neck and cheeks of excess sweat. Flick skipped rocks out on the lake west of them as his ear holes perked up. He moistened his eyes as he lifted his amphibious head. His forked tongue flicked out once, twice as he took in a taste of the air and sensed danger. He turned back to the group...

Flick: "Look out! It's-"

Three stirges broke from the cover of the trees. They hovered over the party as their wings let off an angry buzz. The ends of their proboscis appeared to be extra sharp. There are three stirges in the field.

Initiative Round 1
GM: 6 of Spades / Jezebel: 3 of Spades / Karl: 2 of Spades / Flick: 3 of Diamonds / Ibera: 7 of Hearts
Note: Daphne is woken blurry-eyed by the warning and the buzz of wings. She loses initiative and goes last.

Ibera: Jumped up from her spot and drew her pistol in a smooth action <Quick Draw Talent>. The Stirges hovered at a Near Range. A normal shot for the Minotaur. She fires <d20+6 vs. AC 14. The result is 14+6 = 20, Damage is 1d10+4 = 10> The shot shattered the body of one of the stirges, and its corpse plummets to the earth.


Stirges: The two Stirges left (Stirge #2 & #3) hovered for a moment before they launched themselves to try and stick the party. They have 5 targets and roll a d10 to determine whom they spot as a quick meal (1-3 it is Jezebel, 4-5 it is Daphne, 6-7 it is Flick, 8-9 it is Karl, 10 is Ibera. Jezebel's body heat is most exposed, what with her lack of armor and the stirges have a fear of the bovine with a gun. Results are 10 & 6. Ibera and Flick>

Stirge #2: Despite the danger, the Stirge flew in to try and stick the Minotaur. He makes a thrust of his head <+5 vs. AC: 16 with a result of 15+5 = 20. The stirge deals 5 damage to Ibera>. The stirge sticks the Minotaur and suckles blood from her neck. She grits her teeth as its tiny manipulators attempt to clasp to her <+5 vs. her Strength of +4 in a roll-off. Results are 20 and 15> The Stirge attaches to her.

Ibera: "Get off! Get off!" She dropped her pistol as the stirge has attached to her.

Stirge #3: The second Stirge swooped low and made for the Grippli. <+5 vs. AC 16 results in 11>. The Grippli dives forward in a roll that dodged the incoming vermin.

Jezebel: Turned on her heel and saw that Ibera was in peril. She rushed to the Minotaur's aid. She did not draw her sword. Instead, she attempted to place her arms around the stirge to yank it off <+5 vs. AC: 14 = 19. Roll off is her Strength of +3 vs. +5 = 15 and 9 respectively.> She managed to yank the stirge off of Ibera. The red insect jerked and pulled at the restraint, but Jezebel continued to hold on.

Flick: Drew his shortbow and knocked and fired two arrows in rapid succession against the Stirge that had attacked him <+5 vs. AC 14 = 19 and 8, Hit and Miss! with 5 points of damage>. The arrow struck into the thorax of the passing stirge. Its lift is hampered by the injury.

Karl: Stood from the stump and moved to where Ibera and Jezebel stood. He held his pick in hand and waited to render assistance.

Daphne: Fired a Frost Ray at the Stirge <+5 vs. AC: 14 = 20. Hit and deals 1d12 damage = 4. -1 Mana>. The beam struck the wounded stirge. The frozen wings are unable to move. A shock of pain hits the stirge. It tumbled through the air and with a heavy wet sound it slammed its head into a tree.

Results
Stirge #1 & #3 are slain.
Jezebel is holding Stirge #2
-1 Mana
-5 HP Ibera

Initiative Round 2
GM: King of Spades / Jezebel: 8 of Spades / Karl: Ace of Hearts / Daphne: King of Diamonds / Flick: Queen of Hearts / Ibera: Queen of Diamonds

Karl: Had his pick drawn he watched as the stirge continued to wiggle and jerk in Jezebel's hands, "Ready when ye are." He said as he lifted his pick. <Hold Action>

Stirge #2: Attempted to break free of Jezebel's grasp <+5 vs. +3 = 12 vs. 5> The Stirge broke free. It now makes an attempt to flee at all speed <It has a bonus of +3 vs. Karl's +2 = 10 vs. Natural 20!>

Karl: Managed to bring his pick down before the Stirge could make a run for it <+5 vs. AC 14 = 14. Hit! 9 Damage>. The Stirge broke free only to fly straight into the Dwarf who struck it across the head with his shield and bring down his pick. The pointed tip drove deep into the stirge, killing it.

- End of Combat - XP Gained:  -

Flick approached Ibera who sat on a rock, her fist clenched and unclenched as an urge to scratch the bite left over by the stirge intensified. She eyed the Grippli as he reached into the pouches of his kit and drew a small clay jar that contained a red paste.

Ibera: "Not now, Flick, I need a drink."

Flick: "This will take away the itch and cleanse your wound." The Grippli rubbed the paste into Ibera's skin <Poultice -1. 1d6 Hit points healed = 4>. He was satisfied at Ibera's sigh of relief. She patted his smooth green head.

Ibera: "Thanks, but I still need that drink." She decided to indulge with a wineskin.

The party broke camp after another brief rest and continued up the trail. They spent a full afternoon and early evening chatting at times, other times they marched in silence. The formation had become looser as the party brimmed with a certain level of confidence. They had been brought together as a misfit crew within the Brotherhood of Sellswords, and on their first encounter, they triumphed. Granted, the trial placed before them was small, a mere 3 stirges, but they had done well. Though Ibera grumbled as she was the one stuck by the proboscis.

Near nightfall, they made another camp. They decided to get a fire going <Survival check (Flick) = 16>. Flick was able to gather and toss a set of herbs into the fire that kept the blood and sting flies at bay. Meals consisted of hard rations and some edible berries he found.

Jezebel: "Alright. Time for some watches. I'll take first watch, I'd like you Flick to take the second watch, and Ibera, you've so far been an early riser. You get the third watch."

Ibera: "Make sure to leave out your cards, Daphne. I'm a lot more alert when I've got something to do besides sitting on a stump listening to crickets."

Jezebel: "That's fine, and I'd like to borrow the cards- take it easy on the bottle though, Brinehorn."

Ibera: "A Buccaneer's life sober isn't much life at all."

Jezebel gave a glare at Ibera. An intimidate off is called for < Jezebel is +5 vs. Ibera's +4 for a result of Natural 20 (25) vs. 21>.

Ibera: While not shaking in her hooves. She shrugged her shoulder and said, "Alright. Alright. I'll have a nip now before bed. Just a nip! Karl likes having nips, don't you Karl?"

Karl: "Oh... aye, 'course I drink finer spirits compared to yer grog."

Ibera and Karl have a nip. The rest settle in for the night... <Random encounter is a 3-in-8 chance = 3 with a 1d6 encounter of... >

Jezebel had a cup of coffee in her hand thanks to the pot that Karl brought with him and the fire. She sat on the stump and noticed that Karl was still awake. He sat with half of his bedroll and used the other half for a back cushion as smoke smoldered from his pipe. At times he would take the stem between his right index and middle finger and move the pipe to let the extra smoke drift from his mouth. The tobacco air was sweet with southern leaf. It reminded Jezebel of cherries.

Jezebel: "I noticed we've yet to talk much, Stonetender."

Karl: "Well, I'm here now, Grimshaw. What ye want to talk about?"

Jezebel: "Well, what do you worship, Stonetender?"

Karl: Touched his holy symbol, which appeared in the shape of a silver crown, "I serve 'the Thane,' whom ye folk would call The Emperor. Clan, duty, honor, family- all o' that."

Jezebel: "Aren't ye single?"

Karl: "Yeah I am but-"

Both Karl and Jezebel gain Notice checks. Jezebel is at a Disadvantage due to her lack of Darkvision. She is dependent on the fire <General stealth checks for Skeleton: 11 vs. Karl & Jezebel which are 7 and 13. Jezebel spends her Human Talent to cancel the Disadvantage>


A few scant rays of moonlight sparkle dimly across the small pond east of where the party camped. The waters are still. The party did not realize they were in danger. They did not spy the crown of smooth auburn hair and predatory green eyes. The gentle splash drew a brief look from Karl who turned back to Jezebel.

Karl: Continued, "I'm jus' lookin' fer the right woman, ya know. I'm hopin' to do a few o' these jobs. Maybe get noticed by the Order. Once I find a comfortable parish like Port Kyna or  Rathmer, I can look fer a wife."

Jezebel: Turned her head towards the sound of clack of scattered rocks. Four skeletons with muck green bones emerged from the waters. Their skulls with blacken sockets turned towards her. Their claws were sharp. "Already there's trouble." She gripped her sheath and drew her sword...

To be continued.