I kinda like leaving it unlabeled and without towns. It feels like it has more possibilities this way. And it has nothing to do with me being lazy and not wanting to deal with labels and whatnot. Or being too cheap to buy Photoshop.
I’ll confess that the first version has the “dramatic warm” filter on it. The real color is a bit more chipper.
Unlike many of my past maze-like doodles, this one actually has a start and end point and at least one verified path to success. (The squares are the exit spots.) Sorry about the smudging! From my testing, I know there’s more than one path to success on this puzzle… Which I find philosophically satisfying.
Finally Using that Journal!
I have a beautiful, black leather journals filled with hundreds of lined, empty pages. I’ve had the thing for years and have never known what to do with it. Until now.
Now it is my official spot for doodling mazes, dungeons, castles, and other whatnots when I don’t care so much if a bunch of lines run through them. And it only took me ten or so years to figure this out!
written by Fiznarthian Ooglenook (played David Pettit)
Game day 1/26/2019
Morning the next day…
Kromnak Mor makes rat stew for breakfast out of the remains of our adversaries from last night, along with rocks and grass, yuck, blagh.
Were on the path to Ol’Shire from M’Ka it a about a 3 day two night journey. It is in the Fall of the year so it’s pretty cold at night. It is quite foggy this morning and it was a damp cold night. As we travel we discuss what we will do when we reach Amara. When we reach the ruins we will scout the parameter up towards the north without reveling ourselves. We can, hopefully, enter through a break in the wall that is depicted on the map. It looks like a short shot through the ruins to the cliff and the path to the cove from there. We will make use of the Circlet of Protection to travel through the ruins without being set upon by the ghosts. We think the best time would be around 2pm to try this. We don’t know if it will still just be two guards but we will have to trust to luck.
Second night on the road
Its gray and drizzly as we continue along the trail making camp before full dark. While Tholin and I gather wood and make a fire, Kromnak Mor catches two rabbits with his animal trap, and cooks them, so we have a good supper.
We settle on the same order for watch this night as last: Kromnak Mor, Tholin, and me, Fizzle. We make it through the night without incident. Unknown to me Kromnak doses through his watch and Tholin tries to catch a snake. Which he finds poisonous. It bites him as he tries to get rid of it in the bushes, but he is OK. Later on my watch I hear what sound like an agitated snake in the bushes, but nothing comes of it.
Battle some bandits
After a restful night (for some more than others) we continue on our way. As we make our way along the path we approach some boulders. Ever vigilant, Tholin becomes aware that, what turn out to be brigands, are hiding in the rocks. He warns us not to make any sudden moves and tells us of this. Kromnak untrained in the fine art of subtilty immediately draws is axe and says “where!”, giving away that we have detected them. Barbarians, what are ya going to do? The brigands stick two arrows in Kromnak’s mighty (this is for you Tim) bicep, which we all know is no way to stop a barbarian. Now extremely, shall we say irritated, Kromnak hurls one of his throwing axes at one of the archers, it was a mighty throw and cleaves the air with its vicious furry, but, alas, misses. Not to be outdone Fizzle and Tholin put a bolt and an arrow each into one of the archers knocking him back of his perch and killing him. Kromnak leaps forward and taking a dagger in the thigh, splits the smaller of the three asunder with one mighty blow of his axe. Whish slice splat, and we are left with only one adversary. Seeing his comrades stuck and sliced, or possibly having forgotten something important elsewhere, this one starts running away. Fizzle, that’s me, takes a shot with his crossbow and sticks a bolt in the fleeing brigands posterior. Tholin attempts a long shot but hits a protruding bolder and the arrow goes wild narrowly missing Kromnak, who quickly throws a javelin and skewers the runner, pinning him to a tree. Fizzle heals Kromnak Mor with Cure Wounds, and the fight is over.
We search the bodies and find 2 Silver and 4 Copper. I find a silver woven basket, which I use as a hat for now. Tholin finds a woven hair net with pearls and Kromnak fines 13 gold teeth. One of which fits a gap in his teeth. He and I each take 2 copper and Tholin takes the 2 silver, promising to give us each 6 copper more when he gets the silver changed. Kromnak replaces his shredded loin cloth with a pair of pants, that sort of fit, from one of the attackers.
We move on from the ambush site and come to Ol’Shire around 4pm. It is not much to look at perched on the edge of the Briarstone cliffs.
Kromnak Mor accosts the first villager we meet and asks him where the bar is, this treatment scares him so much he wets himself, but does manage to point north. Kromnak tosses him aside and heads that direction. We follow. Kromnak seeing two building in the indicated direction one with a Bowel on the sign the other with a bed. He chooses the one with a picture of a Bowel on the sign. I’m not sure what logic that is but oh well. We get in the door just in time to see him sit down demanding Beer from the older gray haired lady (Her name is Morgath) keeping the place. She provides us with a bowel of stew each, guess that’s why there’s a bowl on the sign, who knew. Kromnak says “This isn’t beer” shoves it aside and leaves. He heads across to the building with the bed sign to try there.
Meanwhile Tholin and I gather some information from conversing with the old women while we eat our stew. We are not the only travelers to come through Ol’Shire recently. Some unsavory characters have passed through at least twice once going North with “someone on a stick” and once South, just a dark robed “magical” figure. After this we head out to find where Kromnak has gotten to.
We enter what passes for an Inn in this town, and have an ale each, Tholin and I. We hear much the same story about a dark robed figure that we heard from Morgath. About a day ago a dark short robed figure came through with 3 other persons, all tattooed the same way. The short one sounds like the dwarf leader of the group, Kednar. During the cores of this the proprietor of this “fine” establishment discovers I am a Cleric and wants me to bless his ale. Which I agree to do for two rooms. Inspired by the tails of hijinks from my elders as a boy, I turn away from him produce a little “holy water” from tap of my waterskin. Then sprinkle his ale barrels making the appropriate gestures and words. He seems happy with this. I feel only a little guilty.
Finishing our ale we leave. It turns out Kromnak after drinking three ales, stirring up the drunk, and filling the proprietors head full of clap about Drizzle, went out to sleep under a tree where we find him. We decide to go check out the cliffs edge where I pick up some shards of briarstone.
We head over to the stable, I thought just to check it out, and Kromnak ever on the lookout for an opportunity try’s to put one over on the boy guarding the stable. Kromnak manages to convince the boy, with appropriate help from us, that the Mayor has authorized us to take 3 horses form the stable for our journey. In the course of persuasion, at some point, the kid wets himself. I think I’m beginning to see a pattern developing in Interactions with Kromnak and the general public. Anyway we end up with 3 horses. Swayback used up horses but beggars can’t be chooses, right. So you’d think we owe Kromnak Mor a big thanks, right, well just wait.
Now we have to ride the horses, well Tholin and I are experienced riders but Kromnak is not. He tries to mount and the horse side steps and he ends up on his butt on the ground, he, he. Tholin and I mount up no problems. “We will ride slow so you can keep up leading yore horse Kromnak”. This is a huge joke to us until a passing villager yells out that we are stealing horses. Instead of trying our story on this villager Kromnak, man of action that he is, whacks his house on the rear and starts to run North out of town. The house bolts turns and runs back to the stable, and now the whole town has heard and is out to get us, so Tholin and I have no choice but to galop (more of a quick trot with these old horses) out of town North as well, passing Kromnak on the way. The towns folk concentrate on us as we have horses and Kromnak manages to pass unnoticed after running away.
Tholin and I manage to outdistance the townsfolk before we stop and they give up and turn back. We settle in to await the arrival of Kromnak Mor. Meanwhile Kromnak having been passed unnoticed by all the villagers chasing us carefully creeps on through the tall grass after us along the road. As a group of villagers approaches he hides in the tall grass to let them pass. Unfortunately they see a foot and he has to improvise. Cutting his forehead he jumps up and says the brigands who took the horses bashed him on the head and headed back to town and they should hurry to catch them. Which, amazingly, they do leaving Kromnak to continue on his way.
A second group approaches and bolstered by his previous skill (blind luck) he decides to bluff his way past. Now this is a recipe for disaster if I ever heard of one but… you guessed it, he pulls this one off too. Spinning the same story and asking for copper for new pants, which he gets! They also leave him to go his way and he catches up to us where we are waiting. We move further off the road to make camp. Where once again Kromnak comes through by getting two goats with one javelin throw. Dinner is served, yum roast goat on javelin spit. Kromnak fills us in on his adventures along the road while we eat. Tomorrow the ruins of Amara await.
I went back to the temple and met Slogarth, an acolyte. He is still learning his cantrips. He told me that Master Foswith had left and taken all the able bodied fighters to Berlstrum because it is under siege from the worst of the worst, Tarken raiders.
“Listen slogarth on those cantrips just concentrate, bear down and push them out.” Hehe, hope he doesn’t have an accident, if you know what I mean.
Cleaned up in my room and put stuff away from my recent trip.
I headed down to the library to check in and see if I can get some information on this map I acquired on my trip.
I ran into Penster (human) and Olmaree (halfling) there talking about a ruined city. Sounds kind of like Amara, so I ask them. They take me to see an old man that has traveled to the temple with a weird story.
The old man (Gorshank) was out hunting and came across a band of thugs with a hostage. They turned out to be Tarken raiders. He followed them hoping to get a chance to rescue the hostage and be a hero. The leader of the raiders was Kednar a dwarf and he overheard that the troops were complaining about missing the Berlstom siege and something about … Aheneus family tree. Securing access for the Orcus, the Demon Prince of the Undead, a passageway between the material plane and the Abyssal plane. The next day he followed them to a cliffside town that has long been in ruins. The leader, Kednar, chanted something before entering the ruins. The old man kept seeing things out of the corner of his eye, but never anything solid. They went through the ruins and down a path in the cliff to a sandy cove. Parting a curtain of vines revealed a cave entrance, which they entered posting 2 guards. The old man watched from the cliff above and waited, but fell asleep only to wake surrounded by three transparent beings that seemed to be trying to communicate. In waking he made enough noise for the guards to hear, so he ran. The transparent beings followed touching him off and on as he went.
When his story was done I asked the old man his age. He said he was 22, but he looks 90.
Talking it over Penster, Olmaree, and I – we think my map of the ruins of Amara might be the ruins he saw. Also the captive below the ruins seems to be the key to the whole Orcus plan. The cave below the cliffs is the Dungeon of the Mad Molvei. Legend says that a sacrifice of three from a specific dragon family line will make a bridge between the material plan and the abyssal one. There will be lots of traps, so I’ll need someone sneaky. I’m going to need some muscle too. We have decided that someone, me, needs to stop this. I’m to go to the Guild of Keepers of Balance and see if I can round up some help, while Penster and Olmaree see if they can pinpoint where the ruins are. They have given me 100GP to hire some help.
Hiring Some Muscle
So I head over to the Guild of Keepers of Balance and talk with a Tiefling named Dohlean. Fortunately, they have (according to her) just hired on two of the best dungeon crawling experts available. Tholin a half-elf rogue and Kromnak Mor a tall dwarf barbarian, and imagine my good fortune to be able to hire them both for 50GP each 25% back on returning them live. See gave me a receipt.
Upon returning to the temple I give them the receipt and find they have located the ruins. I am outfitted with:
6 small bottles of healing red glimmering potion 2d4+2 each
3 each to Tholin and Kromnak Mor
2 cloudy green water breathing potions
1 yellow with black spiral haste potion (1min)
Circlet of Protection (p270 Spell of Protection) works 3 times/day renews at dawn. Lasts 10min
I gave to Tholin
3 Amulets (for use with hostages) Proof against detection (hide from divination magic) requires attunement
One to each of us… for now
Boots of Striding and Leaping – Jump 3 times normal distance requires attunement
Flame Tongue sword (long) speak the command word “flame,flame” and it flames bright 40ft and dim 40ft until the words are spoken, it’s dropped or it is sheathed
I gave to Kromnak Mor
Chime of Opening (5 uses) hollow 1ft long tube. Point 120ft at obj – strike – and obj opens (if it can be opened)
I gave to Tholin
We must travel from M’ka through Ol’shire to Amara (north easterly) see map
I try to barrow horses from the temple but unfortunately they can’t spare any.
So on meeting up with Tholin and Kromnak Mor and distributing some of the magic items I was given (see above) we head off on foot for Ol’shire. It will take about three days and we hope to “acquire” some hoses and pony’s there. Along the way on the first afternoon we exchange some history about ourselves and I relate the old man’s story and tell them of our quest.
First Night Camping
Our first night we camp by a stream in the trees about 50 yards off the road. Kromnak Mor catches a rabbit and I catch a fish, but Tholin has no luck trying to shoot a fish with an arrow so I share mine with him. As we go to sleep around the fire Kromnak Mor keeps the first watch. He keeps saying “Flame,flame” and making his sword turn-on and off. It’s a little distracting. He can’t seem to get my name right either, keeps calling me sniffles and such. I worry he may be a little “simple” in the head.
Tholin takes the next watch and we are attacked by 6 spiders, smallish, which thanks to his alertness he sees coming. Great fighters that we are we quickly dispatch, and in Kromnak Mor case squish with a vengeance, them. We do take some damage and then its my watch. Whereupon we are attacked by 3 giant rat creatures, which we likewise dispatch.
As we are all wounded. I use a couple healing spells on my companions and I drink a healing potion provided by Kromnak Mor.
Featured image was drawn by Mr. Jones for his character concept.
Introduction of Kromnock Mor
Level 1 Dwarf, Barbarin
The following notes are from an exchange of text messages between myself (GM) and Jones (Kromnock Mor) as a pre-game setup.
GM: Since killing off your mentor and starting your life as a sell-sword … well … it’s been really boring.
Kromnock Mor: Yeah he just fights, eats, and drinks, and sleeps.
GM: Not much action or challenge. The couple of jobs you have done were uneventful escorts.
Kromnock Mor: It’s really the perfect life if you think about it
GM: Which is why I must mess with it 😀 Anyhoo … you have heard that there is a big fight brewing to the south. And that there is a group called the Keepers of Balance that hire mercs looking for capable fighters.
Kromnock Mor: Aye, but that is a long walk. I’ll meet up with them when they get up north.
GM: Conveniently there happens to be an office in the town of M’ka, where you find yourself.
Kromnock Mor: Got it. Well since I am out of beer money, I might as well go see what they have to offer.
GM: Much of the town has emptied out in the rush to help Berlstrum. So you’ve definitely waited for the rush to pass.
Kromnock Mor: I’m not very ambitious. I have simple needs, but sometimes living the simple life drags me into complicated situations.
The following notes are from an exchange of text messages between myself (GM) and the Big M (Tholin) as a pre-game setup. The Big M’s is a man of few words.
GM: After the “incident” in Goremonte with your thieves guild, you made your strategic retreat out of town. Your rogue skills are currently a bit undeveloped and aren’t getting you the coin you’d hoped for. Your down to your last copper, sitting in the Spiral’s End. In the town of M’ka. The town is pretty empty due to many having left to help defend Berlstrum from a hoard of undead. The innkeeper, Razputen, took pity on you and gave you a small loaf of bread. He makes the yummiest bread ever. He did it all sneaky like … “Boy, I hope no one snags this fresh warm bread from this table (next to you) while I take these dishes to the back.” Do you eat the bread?
Tholin: For sure. But only part. Save the rest for later.
GM: The tavern is pretty empty this time of day. The old dwarf, Razputen, returns several minutes later carrying 2 large ales. “Would you mind some company while I rest my tired old feet?”
Tholin: Have a seat.
GM: The old dwarf puts the mugs on the table, 1 in front of you and 1 in front of him. He leans back in his chair and monologues rather randomly about the town of M’ka. After a while he leaves and comes back with 2 bowls of delicious chowder. He places 1 in front of you and 1 in front of himself. “You are a good listener,” he says. “Here’s thanks for listening to an old man ramble.” He leans back and continues talking about the local goings on. “… and with so many able bodies having headed south to Berlstrum, those Keepers of Balance are probably pretty desperate to fill their mercenary ranks.” I’m going to assume you finished the chowder and ale?
Tholin: Quickly finish them
GM: Excellent. He seems pleased. He nods and gets up. As he is leaving, he signals in thievescant, “good luck, young one.” His untouched chowder and ale left behind. Later you discover 10 gold in your belt pouch that weren’t there before.