Thursday 13 June 2024

[CAMPAIGN JOURNAL] News on the March! Episode I.

This blog has been quiet for a while – I haven’t been in the spirit of writing about games, although I have had a lot of fun running, playing and publishing them (on that matter, expect news reasonably soon). Perhaps the blogging drive shall return, but I’d rather not force it than do it badly. However, these short-form session reports I have been posting (mostly on Discord) have been fun to write, and may be of interest, so why not? Not a real full-feature campaign journal (there are sessions I didn’t post about), but hey.


News from the Twelve Kingdoms! While trying to rescue noble prisoners from the dungeons of the City-Judge of Poicette, King Hjorl and his companions learned that they had been transported even deeper than the regular cells. Defeating a shadow guardian and opening a door, they found not a deep oubliette, but an entrance into the Gardens of Lady Haikainen, an enchanted forest illuminated by a starlit sky. Although they first lost their way due to careless mapping, they eventually found a ruined village, where a herd of sickly and crazed horses were ruled by Lianar the Centaur, an insane servant of the Lady. Nib, the half-orc Cleric-Thief, challenged Lianar to single combat, and was trampled to death by his horses along with a press-ganged headsman's apprentice. 

After burying Nib along with his cursed spear, they continued to a hedge maze inhabited by young green dragons. King Hjorl subdued one of the dragons, gaining a powerful mount... or so he thought. Just a little later, they encountered Minaro the Nomad (the replacement character), who has come to this forest through another gate, but got separated from his companion, Sir Vivensis the Storm-Bringer, in an ambush by forest-dwelling savages. Thus reinforced, they continued to the savages' campsite, but alas, they were already butchering the good knight's prize stallion, and roasting Sir Vivensis on a spit. Charging into battle, Hjorl's dragon mount, already weakened by the party's previous magic missiles, received multiple lucky hits from the savages, and was killed at once. "This beast was worth more than you!", cried King Hjorl, slaughtering the forest-dwellers with his sword of fire. Collecting the defeated opponents' heavy silver cauldron (a druidical artefact, probably), they continued to a secret back entrance to Lady Haikainen's castle...

Into the Odd Beneath the City


News from the City-State of Glourm! It is rumoured that ruffians of a most detestable character have entered the mansion of Morsult the Merchant while he was visiting a nearby tavern located above the tomb chamber of Alcazar – and he brought Captain Froinx, the head of his house guard with him. Subduing the other guards, these thieves absconded with the magic sword kept in Morsult's throne room, the contents of his safe, and his valuable talking parrot! This bird was then delivered to Grentor Slagoth, a notability of Glourm, whom the beast had insulted from Morsult's window, and who then wrung its neck with his own gloved hands.

Renting a room in the exquisite cupola room of the Spheroid Fish (an upscale establishment with a view), the company then left to investigate a secret entrance in an old cistern, which they thought would lead them through underground connections towards Alcazar's burial chamber. An altar to the alien fungal deity Glyuathk'th was discovered, as well as a cyclopean stone face hiding a dolm-coloured gemstone. Many skeletons were fought as they animated on plucking the gemstone, and on the way back to the surface, an enormous spider with skeletal limbs and mind-controlling eyes attacked - only defeated at great risk, and with lots of luck. From its sepulchral chamber, a magical mirrored shield was retrieved. Alas, the dolm gemstone would not survive daylight, and shattered as the rays of the Sun hit it. The search for Alcazar continues in the depths of the city!

"Shut up! I map this way!"


News from The Dungeon of 1000 Sins! Two expeditions were conducted to this LBB-only OD&D megadungeon run by iudex. The first delve beneath the city included four PCs and 7 hirelings. My character, Brosius the Conqueror (Fighting-Man 3) brought Brothellind the heavy footman and Brog the porter; Tarak (Cleric 3 of Law) brought Tax the porter; Melion (Elf 3) brought Arian the heavy footman, Brutus the heavy footman, Bruno the bowman and Fergas the porter (Melion was flush with starting money). Tenlizar (Cleric 3 of Law) came alone, for he only had money for chainmail, and little else. Our funds barely enough to outfit this force, we descended into the underworld from a wine cellar.

In the dungeons, a heavy curse soon fell on Melion after paying a strange old undertaker to carve a tombstone for him. While ambushing a group of cultists, six gargoyles were unleashed, who tore apart Tax and Brothellind - but the cultists' robes and golden masks were captured, giving us an effective disguise later on. A cursed scroll turned Tarak into 1000 cockroaches, and he was replaced by Brutus, promoted into a Fighting-Man. Poor Brog was shot by a goblin with a bow, the keeper of a chaotic altar. A dungeon store was looted and its proprietor killed after his trap hurt my PC. From a talking goldfish, we finally learned of the Triton's treasure, a secret sought by rival adventurers, and this now became our mission. We first sought it in an Aquarium, where Arian dived down for false coins, but grasped a poisonous coinfish, and drowned underwater. We finally retreived a magic scimitar from the place, and other minor treasure - but not the treasure's whereabouts.

From a wandering archeologist we killed with a poisoned playing card, we found further clues about the treasure's location, and after multiple encounters (including robbing a group of local aristocrats visiting the dungeons), we found the place in a larger chamber, where a gang of bandits were already trying to dig up the entrance. Under our disguise, we scared away these men, and descended into a deep sublevel. Here, we avoided four forms of terrible death, and eventually found generous ritual supplies of beaten gold, as well as gemstone chalices we could barely carry. With these, we returned to the surface, Brosius the Conqueror proving his incomparable mapping skills by leading the party back to the starting point. While some miscreants might believe Brosius made multiple major mapping mistakes, and mapped the dungeon on diagonals instead of on a 90 degree grid, this was foolish talk, and Brosius had a battleaxe to enforce his opinion!

For the next expedition, a larger company was assembled, a few potions were bought, and magic items were identified. Brosius the Conqueror - now also calling himself the Explorer - brought Broderic the heavy footman, Brolind the heavy footman, Browind the crossbowman, and Bronk the porter. Brutus, now a Fighting-Man (level 2), brought Hector the war dog and Fergas, now no longer a porter, but a heavy footman! Melion brought Bruno the bowman, Cassius the heavy footman, Nestor the heavy footman, and Priamos the porter. Finally, Temlizar, now a 4th level Cleric of Law, brought Achilles the war dog.

Alas, this small army fared less well than the initial group. We first started in the Casino of Death, where we wished to pick up rumours, but learned only that years of life could be wagered here for a lot of money... or a card game played with the sinister madman called the Fool. This was not to our liking! On the way out, however, we were ambushed by orcs, dozens and dozens of them. Brolind, Bronk and Bruno died under a hail of arrows, while the orcs' leaders drove their men with their whips against us. A second party used side passages to attack us from behind; and Cassius was likewise slain. We finally broke through this latter group with a hold person spell and fled, the orcs giving no pursuit. Thus diminished, we descended to the second dungeon level to grab what we could. A valuable (magic?) lamp was taken and a horn of blasting stolen from a group of dwarves manning (or dwarfing?) a giant machine. So far so good.

In another dungeon section, a demonic idol's small gemstone eyes were stolen through a stratagem I shall not detail. We found a narrow passage leading into magical darkness, and a place we thought was the lost tomb of a famous brewmaster and his precious trade secrets. Alas, we were misled. Our followers walked into the lair of Isolde, a talking, demoniac spider (the insane wife of a city councilor, no doubt metamorphosed into this horrid form). Here, Brutus, Priamos, and Brosius the Conqueror all succumbed to spider poison. The price was a cursed ring, a pouch of expensive gemstones, and a magic scroll. Alas, Brosius, hero of the Dungeon of 1000 Sins, met his end here. He was replaced by Broderic, who adopted the name Broderic the Revenger, putting his master to rest in a viking funeral as he burned out the spider nest. Decimated and low on resources, the party returned to the surface, eager to escape with their riches back to the city!


News from the dimension of ULTRAREALITY! The expedition from the world of Fomalhaut sought knowledge in a derelict monastery of the sinister monks of the Path of Exultant Wisdom. Located on a plateau about to be destroyed by an active volcano, the company nevertheless ventured forth, fighting the monks in several pitched battles, finding them to be soulless automatons capable of many strange feats. Magic items and other treasures were won (and some very good ones missed), although the monastery's ultimate secrets remained undiscovered. Arkinos (Fighting-Man 3) was stabbed by a monk's poison needle, assimilated into some sort of hive-mind, and transformed into their unwitting pawn. He was finally put out of his misery by his own companions. Carrying their gains, the company retreated to their ship, the Viridian Star, and sailed away through the night seas of ULTRAREALITY while the ancient monastery was engulfed and destroyed by VOLCANIC FIRE.

The Empire has fallen. Millions must die.

News from the fallen empire of Kassadia! A group of eight adventurers, drugged with wine in coastal taverns, found themselves in the dungeons under the villa of Basilius Antonius Proculus, degenerate patrician. To the delight of the revellers at his lavish party watching the events from above, Basilius Antonius exhorted his "guests" about the greatness of personal excellence, animal vitality, and a new age of barbarism, before letting loose the  wolves and lions on those below his villa. Trapped there with rival fighters, ferocious beasts, and deadly traps, the company nevertheless prevailed without PC casualties (although there were many "almosts"), winning some treasure, and escaping Basilius Antonius' cellars through a secret staircase. Wounded and low on resources, retreating into the dark forests outside the infamous villa, they swore they would meet again under different circumstances!